In this post, I want to examine the differences between reporting and analysis. Why? Because they're fundamentally different. Yet, I never hear, "we're doing all the analysis we need." No, instead I'm hearing, "we have all the reporting we need." And I'm quite certain they do - what with all the systems used to run a restaurant. It's likely that they and you have hundreds of standardized reports available and many are likely helpful at telling you what happened; e.g., how many of this or that item did we sell, what's our percentage of labor, what's our gross / net sales in this or that store, market, overall, what's our cash over short, etc. See, all helpful until you want to understand why the cash is shorter than you'd like, why that item didn't sell as you expected, why labor in a market is higher or why that promo did so well but we wound up making less money.
To get an answer to 'WHY' something happened requires you to perform some analysis and that requires a solution that can help you knit together the pieces needed to get at the underlying answer. So let’s start with a high-level definition of Reporting and Analysis.