Whether they own one store or multiple units, restaurant leaders rely on a mix of ‘right-brain’ and ‘left-brain’ thinking to keep their operations strong and profitable. Successful managers need to be skilled communicators – but in addition to connecting with employees, they must become comfortable with the quantitative sides of their business. A level of financial acumen is key, as is monitoring data and understanding the implications for the business.

Studies show that properly using data analytics helps improve employee productivity by increasing accountability. Are you using your data to its fullest potential?

5 Ways to Use Restaurant Metrics to Protect Your Bottom Line

To realize significant benefits from using data analytics, follow the tips below:

  1. Study the metrics that really matter. You should definitely review employee performance stats, but don’t forget to monitor metrics that reflect labor, waste, customer satisfaction, speed, and food cost.
  2. Don’t keep the numbers to yourself. Use the data that you have at your fingertips to your advantage. Share store statistics with your staff and bring a culture of gamification to your workplace. Implement friendly contests that revolve around performance indicators and reward your top-performing employees with prizes and rewards. Use data analytics to target weaknesses and applaud strengths.
  3. Benchmark against other stores. One of the benefits of being able to see metrics across your units is that you can compare one store’s performance to another. Why are some stores bringing in more revenue than others? The answer can usually be seen in the numbers. Operators can also compare metrics against industry standards and see how their operations stack up to other brands. All of this comparison allows restaurant leaders to answer the question: “Why are they better, and what can I do to get there?”
  4. Lean on data when you need to eliminate emotion. Most of the time, the best restaurant managers are those who seem emotionally connected to their staff, but those bonds become strained when employee theft shows up. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that 75% of employees will steal at least once from their employer. That means employee theft is happening to you. Make sure your loss prevention software allows you to drill into suspicious trends and transactions, and use those numbers to prove your case when it comes time for a loss prevention investigation.
  5. Hone in on data trends. Waking up at 5:30 a.m. and checking on store metrics from the previous day is a good idea. But make sure you’re also taking time to reflect on weekly, monthly, and quarterly data trends. One employee who tenders a delete wouldn’t appear suspicious, but if that same employee consistently rings up deletes, that action should be viewed as a red flag for theft.

Using data and metrics to manage restaurant performance has become an increasingly crucial trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. In the future, successful restaurant owners will be ready to use these insights to guide their business – qualitatively and quantitatively.