Since the inception of your restaurant business you’ve probably tried a variety of methods to engage, grow and retain your customer base because you understand that getting to know your customers and their behavior patterns is crucial for your business. And we know that it is more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. However, from the perspective of data, the check number is the only identifier for a customer’s activity. So unless you are using a guest loyalty program that identifies the customer’s name, email, phone, etc., you have no idea who the person is on any given check.
Topics: Restaurant Marketing
What makes your customers happy when visiting your restaurants and what keeps them coming back? Is it the quality and taste of the food? Polite and speedy service? Customer fulfillment, or lack of it, will ultimately affect your restaurant business in a significant way.
Restaurant executives study reports pertinent to their specific departments (Finance, Operations, Marketing, etc.) but no matter their department, there are factors that overlap amongst these departments. One major issue is customer satisfaction. There are many variables that can affect customer satisfaction and by looking at the right information, restaurant companies can utilize a way to measure the key metrics important to executing a memorable dining experience for their guests.
Topics: Restaurant Custom Reporting
Finding new ways to maximize the overall profitability of a restaurant business is on the mind of every restaurant owner. Whether you have a few restaurants or a few hundred, you’re constantly trying to think up ways to beef up the profit margin. Your executives analyze the numbers, think up ideas to control costs, cut down on food waste, offer Limited Time Offers, cut back labor hours and eliminate overtime, all with the ultimate goal of increasing profitability. But what steps are taken to ensure that any of these ideas will prove successful? Are they examining performance metrics in order to track and evaluate what steps are effective and which areas need improvement?
The CTO Challenge: Labor
One of the many challenges of the restaurant CTO is to implement a reporting solution that can help lower labor costs and maximize profits. They’re tasked with integrating the latest technology, seeking the right platforms for their structure, drive success and create a competitive lead. The days of Excel spreadsheets are numbered. Ultimately, the CTO needs to find and recommend a platform that will aid restaurant executives in making the best decisions in operations and finance and developing strategies that provide a significant ROI. The CTO’s research and definitive recommendation of the suitable reporting tool is vital and can affect the productivity (or lack thereof) of all departments.
Gone are the days of consumers ordering meals from menus delivered in the mail or left at their doorsteps. The frustration of dictating the order and repeating credit card information to a restaurant employee, struggling to hear over the background noise of a bustling restaurant is coming to an end. Once again, technological strides have brought us one step closer to making our lives easier. All we have to do is download the app, put in our location, and we're shown dozens (if not hundreds) of restaurants in our area that we can choose from. Whether placing an advanced order through an app and having the food waiting for you upon arrival or getting meal ideas for delivery by having access to a plethora of choices, the food ordering apps were intended to take us to the next level of convenience.
Topics: Restaurant Marketing
The Future, Now?
All restaurant businesses strive to improve and streamline operations and increase profits by cutting expenses and recovering resources. A common reaction to increased wages by some restaurant executives has been to replace human labor with machines. In the ever-changing climate of the restaurant industry, it makes sense that some restaurant companies would implement the use of machines to grow productivity and cut down on labor costs. But are robots equipped to give customers the same level of service as a friendly employee? Are automated machines destined to take over restaurants?
Topics: Restaurant Profit
Upgrading Your Insight
Restaurant company executives carefully select best in class systems to manage their restaurant operations. Each system (Point of Sale, Inventory, Food Cost, Labor Scheduling, Online Ordering, Customer Feedback, Payroll, GL) likely does an excellent job of collecting the necessary information. However, piecing together the data from all of these transactional systems, in order to gain greater insight, is often done manually and the process is not only time consuming but also often unreliable. Ever feel like you go through the effort of collecting, sorting and entering data into a spreadsheet, but then you’re not able to access the right information when you need it? Here is when executives begin to experience frustration because they aren't always able to get the necessary answers in a timely manner (if at all). Do you find your company in the same predicament? How long does it take to get a report? And will it tie in all your restaurant data? Are you frustrated by reporting limitations? If the answer is yes, it may be time to upgrade your current restaurant reporting methods.
What is a Restaurant Reporting Dashboard?
In layman’s terms, a dashboard is a user interface that, to some extent, is similar to an automobile's dashboard. It organizes and presents information in a way that is easy to see and understand. A dashboard is a graphic presentation of the most important data needed to accomplish a number of objectives all combined on a single screen.
A restaurant business can obtain information from any system that contains data (the Point of Sale system, a Back Office system that contains labor and inventory information, guest loyalty, accounting, etc.) and then combine it all to present all the data as though it came from the same source. The goal is to integrate information from numerous systems into a unified presentation in order to gain greater access and a deeper understanding of the business.
In the Beginning
All restaurants, big or small, depend on a Point of Sale (POS) system to keep track of their business financials. A POS system can generate reports based on sales and customer information and trends that allow the restaurant operators to examine sales data along different thresholds and create promotions based on popular items or slower day parts. POS systems provide useful information to executives as their restaurant business develops.
During the last administration, many changes came about that greatly impacted the restaurant industry. The Affordable Care Act and overtime rules are two that stand out and while the minimum wage increase was not a federal decision, these are all issues that had analysts buzzing with predictions and restaurateurs debating how to adapt their businesses to these modifications.
With the election of a new administration, it’s no secret that restaurant executives (and the country, in general) continue to be divided with interpretations, forecasts, fear or excitement of the future and the direction in which we’re headed. While it’s too soon to see any major changes due to the new administration (as shifts in trends and legislature take time to manifest) some top issues impacting our industry, continue to be pondered. Many restaurant executives are keeping a watchful eye while preparing for the unforeseeable future.