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Chuck Bartlett

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Restaurant Reporting & Analysis Are Not The Same

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 4/16/19 12:06 PM

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, 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 the '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.

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Topics: Restaurant Performance

Use Your Data To Catch Restaurant Labor Fraud

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 2/26/19 12:27 PM

Restaurant Labor Theft

According to the American Payroll Association (APA) almost 75% of U.S. businesses are paying employees for time not actually worked. The APA also indicated that loss, due to time theft, can run from 4% to 7% of Gross Payroll. Assuming the APA estimates for theft are accurate and your cost of labor is running around the industry average of 30% then it would be safe to further assume that a restaurant with $1,500,000 (‘$1.5M’) in sales could be losing $18K to $31K per location on an annualized basis.

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Restaurant Employee Theft - Voids & Comps

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 2/14/19 2:56 PM

Employees Learn Quick

Voids, Comps, and other means to adjust orders in process, just placed or delivered are a necessity if you operate a restaurant. Let’s face it, employees can make mistakes while entering orders just as customers can change their minds and now want a different item or realize they don’t have enough cash and now need to pay with a credit card. On the other hand, if you just tendered a customer's order to cash, you’ll need to void the order and re-enter using the new tender type.

Of course, these are just two of many examples where voids are a requirement. Comps on the other hand are used in the restaurant business when the wrong item was delivered or the customer was unhappy with their experience. While these tools are available to make corrections and adjustments as needed – your employees learn quickly that they can just as easily be manipulated to their financial advantage.

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Topics: Restaurant Loss Management

Successful Business Decisions Through Data Consolidation

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 12/4/18 10:35 AM

Successful Decisions

In today’s competitive marketplace, restaurant companies are seeking ways to become more competitive, more efficient, and more able to anticipate and meet their needs and the needs of their customers. Restaurants with a holistic view of their company, suppliers, and customers, and how those different areas interact with each other, are in a stronger position to make more successful decisions.

The Challenge

Restaurant companies generate a lot of data on a daily basis from all the systems they have in place. How you collect, organize, combine, analyze and distribute that data can have a big impact on the overall success of the business.

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Topics: Restaurant Data Warehouse

Use Your Data To Detect Cash Theft

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 10/24/18 10:00 AM

Restaurant Theft

$60k of your hard-earned revenue may be going home in the pockets of thieves. The NRA estimates that, on average, Net Income (‘NI’) for most restaurant companies is around 5% to 6%. The NRA also states that loss due to fraud at the restaurant runs around 4% of sales CASH is KING. Assuming the NRA estimates for theft are accurate then it would be safe to further assume that a restaurant with $1,500,000 (‘$1.5M’) in sales could conservatively lose $45K or possibly even $60K in revenue due to theft.

Given the number of ways theft can occur, it’s no wonder the percentage (4%) remains as high as it does. It’s not my intent to attempt to try and cover each way a restaurant can be losing money, rather, I’ll focus on the most popular -cash theft.

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Topics: Restaurant Loss Management

Restaurant Employee Contests: Fun, Profitable, or Both?

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 8/22/18 9:06 AM

Whether you are a franchisor or franchisee you want each of your restaurant locations and its employees to make more money. Challenges being placed on already thin margins make it difficult to keep up with the increased demands from labor, food costs, rent etc. And in today’s competitive labor market the cost of locating and training new staff members just adds to the challenge.

If you’re a table service oriented restaurant and you’ve gone to tip pooling or even ventured into the no-tip territory you may have already seen a difference in employee motivation or lack thereof due to these policies where the excellent servers are now making less in tips while the mediocre server is pretty happy. So now you need to find other ways to put the spark back in your team.

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Topics: Restaurant Performance

See ‘What’ Happens When You Use an Above Store Reporting System

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 5/29/18 9:15 AM

Above Store Reporting

In today’s highly competitive restaurant marketplace, restaurant companies are slowly evolving and becoming more data-centric when it comes to decision making but it’s definitely a learning process. Part of the reason is due to changes in the way many newer systems (POS, BOH, etc.), are delivering Above Store Reports (ASR) on daily activities. OK before I go further on this, let’s go back to the beginning and then fast forward back to today.

I’m not going to go all the way back to paper and fax machines but for those that remember this tedious process, I’d be remiss to ignore its existence. With the advance of the Internet and computers, paper forms and faxes were replaced with reports being made visible by logging into the POS or BOH systems. One main difference between now and then is the early systems required you to login to each location individually before you could see any reports.

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Topics: Restaurant Custom Reporting

Restaurant Operations: Manager Expectations

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 4/27/18 5:44 PM

No matter how many restaurant locations you operate, it’s likely that you have a set of ‘best practice’ directives used to keep your locations running smoothly. The question is - How well do your managers know what you expect of them?


To put this into perspective, your restaurant managers are responsible for guest satisfaction, food orders, hiring, training, coaching and more. It’s important that your managers understand what you expect of them. You also need to keep in mind how important it is that you inspect what you expect of them. This action will help ensure that they’re planning and operating in line with those expectations. While you likely hired these managers because they have an inherent ability to connect with those around them, your restaurant managers will greatly benefit if they have easy access to reports that key on the metrics tied to your expectations.

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Topics: Restaurant Performance

Restaurant Reporting: How to use Product Mix (PMIX) Analysis

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 4/19/18 4:15 PM

It seems like, since forever, that Product Mix or PMIX as it’s known, has been a staple in the restaurant arsenal for evaluating what’s selling and menu performance. And while, PMIX does deliver some interesting information like how many of x, y or z did I sell over a day, week, month, etc., it lacks the details needed to see shifts in demand, which makes it a poor choice to use when you’re wanting to make critical decisions about menu changes. For now, let’s look closer at what PMIX can deliver.

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Topics: Restaurant Custom Reporting, Restaurant Finance

3 Characteristics of An Enterprise Data Warehouse

Posted by Chuck Bartlett on 1/23/18 10:43 AM


Before we jump into the characteristics of an Enterprise Data Warehouse (‘EDW’) it might help to define what an EDW consists of. An EDW is a centralized repository that integrates data from various transactional, legacy, or 3rd party systems and applications that are used to operate and manage your business. In contrast to these systems, the EDW is built for analysis and retrieval of data rather than the upkeep of individual transactional records.

Ralph Kimball, one of the original architects of data warehousing and someone whose teachings we adhere to, provided a more concise definition of a data warehouse: “A data warehouse is a copy of transaction data specifically structured for query and analysis.”.

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Topics: Restaurant IT


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