In an era when terms like Data Scientist, and Analyst are commonly used in mass media, it is important to understand that interpreting data can be complicated. It is easy to draw the wrong conclusion. I touched on this point in my material for Restaurant Finance Week last November. You should take caution when measuring your restaurant performance during this Covid period. Read on to see why what you see may not be what's happening and how a poor analysis can lead you to the wrong conclusion.
We have been sharing a story this year on the progression of Covid-19 and its impact on the restaurant industry. After months of steady improvement, there are signs that the situation is getting worse for the industry. The speed of the decline also seems to be increasing, at least in some segments.
The news and social media are filled with stories about dramatic new technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how these technologies are going to revolutionize every day life. Business Intelligence (BI) is part of those story lines, and the term suffers the same misconceptions and misunderstandings as AR or AI. These terms are broad categories of software, services, skills, and systems, but are not specific products or solutions. These terms are useful for discussing concepts and potential uses, but are not very useful to companies trying to apply them.
With changes taking effect across the restaurant industry in response to COVID 19 (full business shutdowns or limited operations), I'd argue that if you pivoted and changed direction and now offer online ordering, delivery and curbside pickup, then understandings around operational execution, while always very important, are even more critical. Visibility into and clarity around that execution is necessary to your long-term success.
And that visibility comes from your ability to transform your data into actionable information which, in turn, delivers clarity for you and your team.
Everyone has likely heard about the dramatic impact the Covid pandemic has had on restaurant sales. In March, it was common for restaurants to have lost 70% or more of their sales from 2019. Since then, we have all been monitoring the progress of sales returning to restaurants. One tool for monitoring the restaurant industry is the Mirus Index which allows us to examine trends daily across thousands of restaurants. Index tracks both sales and traffic patterns for each location, and the trends for both of these metrics leads you to some interesting questions. Have you been tracking both your sales as well as your traffic? Do you see any differences in each metric's trendline?
At Mirus we empower our restaurant clients by giving them the ability to easily consolidate and analyze their data. Our development team is continually making enhancements to the features and functions of the Mirus platform to give our clients more control and increase the ease of use. We're happy to announce new enhancements we are rolling out with our latest update involving the font control, report option UI & alert features. Learn what new functionality is on the way.
Topics: Mirus Updates
There are two ways that a business can grow profits:
- Increase Sales
- Decrease Costs
As you might suspect, both approaches have their own unique set of challenges. But, regardless of which of these strategies you choose to deploy (more on this topic here), you’ll want to become intimately familiar with your Profit & Loss Statement as it will help you to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your business. This post is filled with helpful tips to help you get the most out of your P&L Statement. Be sure to download our Top Restaurant Profit & Loss Reporting Tips guide at the bottom of this post.
Heading back to School!
I hope you continue to be safe and avoid the virus. Data shows us the virus will find the soft spots in our country to flourish, and that the areas affected move around a lot. Currently, many mid-western states are seeing cases and hospitalizations going up, while they are going down in other areas.
A big, new wild card in the equation is students going back to school. While that may be of concern as it relates to potential increases in cases, the past month has introduced other events that have weathered well. For example, the NBA, MLB, PGA, MLS and other sports have resumed their seasons. While there have been some games postponed due to infections, my impression is that those leagues are doing better than some had expected. I hope the same will be true for the schools.
A coincidental event to the return to school each year is Labor Day. And, after a summer of slow but steady improvement in restaurant sales and traffic, the holiday created a bit of optimism with the volume of business that restaurants experienced. Before we get into the most recent holiday, let's review where we've been.
Covid Impact Recap
Mirus Index, which is a same-store comparison to the same day last year, is stuck around -20%. This means that, on average, a Mirus client location that is open today is generating about 80% of the sales it had last year. It is important to keep in mind that this is the average, and averages can be misleading in both directions. For example, more than half of our clients are experiencing sales that are better than -6%. But for others, the impact of Covid has been far more dramatic, with sales hovering around -50%, or worse in a few cases.
Increasing Your Awareness
Restaurant companies carefully seek out the smartest ways to manage their everyday operations. Each system they employ (POS, Labor Scheduling, Inventory, Food Cost, Guest Loyalty, Payroll, GL) probably does a decent job of capturing and recording all transactional information and provides some sort of static reporting.
However, these systems are unable to “talk to each other”. In order to try to get greater clarity, many operators must resort to merging all the data from all of these systems into excel spreadsheets. This method is not only often unreliable but extremely time consuming and tedious.
Topics: Restaurant Custom Reporting