Why data visibility is the secret ingredient for restaurant success


Revel Blog | Sydney Kida | October 30, 2020 |

Advice
Data visibility is not a term we’re used to hearing in conjunction with the restaurant industry. Restaurants conjure ideas of authentic cooking, true hospitality and good food equaling automatic success. In practice, there's a bit more to it than that. Restaurants are businesses, and like all businesses, restaurants benefit from data clarity. In this blog, we break down exactly how a deep understanding of your restaurant’s data is the secret ingredient to success. 

Data, data, everywhere

Nowadays, hospitality businesses take in treasure troves of data every day. Every sale that goes through your till, every labor hour worked, every ingredient used is data that you analyze and gain insight from. The main challenge is actually seeing that data. Head offices can spend hours and hours running reports for each of their systems. More hours still are spent on amalgamating findings into spreadsheets, and manual input can lead to mistakes and errors. The whole process can be frustrating to the point of hair pulling.  That’s where business intelligence and analytics come into play. Seeing all your data in one place means eliminating the whole data gathering element and instead allows you to make use of said data and actually act on its insights. 

What do I get out of having more ‘visible’ data? 

At this point in time, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious havoc in the hospitality industry. Some restaurants have shut down altogether. For those still open, operators aren’t always able to visit locations in person for fear of spreading the virus. This new ‘normal’ has meant a lot more time at home without getting a real ‘feel’ for business. When you have a handle on your data, however, you have a handle on your business.  Seeing all your data in one place really allows you to make better and faster decisions. Having access to granular information lets you break down the cause and effect of individual actions so you can make small changes that have a big impact. You can also easily answer questions that previously would have resulted in conjecture. 

Case in point

Take for example a restaurant group that has one location which is continuously getting negative reviews on weekday evenings, saying service is too slow. The head office can’t understand why when they keep adding staff to help with no success. They take a look at the data and they see the average transaction duration for the bar is far slower than other locations. They realize they have been scheduling more wait staff and line cooks, but not bartenders. They add an extra bartender and wait times immediately decrease. Suddenly, the negative reviews stop. By being able to access that integral data and being alerted the moment a negative review comes in, better business decisions were possible.  When you make data-backed decisions, you’re able to allocate your resources more appropriately, saving yourself money in the process. You’ll know exactly how to manage your budget when it comes to staff and inventory. This means you can optimize customer happiness and increase business across the board. You also get to see effects over time. So,  you’re able to spot trends that otherwise may have gone undetected (like how your wings orders always go up on a Friday when the after work lot descends).

Giving your team confidence

When your planning is based on data, you give your team the gift of confidence. They know exactly what to do and are therefore empowered in their roles, leading to greater job satisfaction and better employee retention. This is especially true for multi-location businesses who have a long chain of command. Having action plans in place that specifically target essential key performance indicators (KPIs) that staff can easily track means that each individual team knows exactly what is expected of them. To give an example of this process, general managers can use accessible data to give their waitstaff clear targets. A general manager could look at attachment percentages for specific product categories, say desserts, both as a whole and on individual employee level. They can see who the best performers are and the numbers they are getting and encourage other employees to hit the same goals. You can then see who is doing best over a certain period and reward them appropriately, getting the whole team fired up and wanting to improve.   This creates the best kind of efficiency because no one is confused or unsure of what their goals are. The whole operation runs smoother. Plus, with one source of data truth, you know that every one of your teams is reacting to the same data even if you can’t all get together and discuss it. You get better team communication because there aren’t several spreadsheets with conflicting information floating around. It also grants the power to your general managers who are actually out there on the front lines of the business to make any necessary changes with the trust of the head office.   

Conclusion

When you have full data visibility, you can make informed strategic decisions that will help rather than harm your restaurant business. You save time on admin tasks and take away the pain of assembling reports in Excel. A lack of human error means you can rely on your data. You can then treat it as the source of truth that it should be. You’ll gain valuable insights on your business that previously relied on gut feeling. You'll know exactly what needs to be done. You also empower your staff by giving them concrete and trackable KPIs. A win for everyone.  Tenzo is a data analytics and AI forecasting platform that allows restaurateurs to see all their data in one place. Tenzo gives you total visibility of your data by integrating with Revel’s POS, as well as your labour and inventory systems. If you’d like to find out more, book a demo today