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July restaurant sales & traffic improve with Data

Posted by Dave Bennett

Mirus is happy to report that our clients, as measured by the Mirus Index each day, are outperforming both the industry averages, and the government's numbers in the 3rd quarter. 

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Finance, Restaurant Performance

Restaurant Reporting & Analysis Are Not The Same

Posted by Chuck Bartlett

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

What's The Ideal Restaurant Discount?

Posted by Dave Bennett

On The Rise

Discounting in restaurants is on the rise, as measured by Mirus Index, and is about 30% higher than a year ago. Examining this trend, it looks like discounting started climbing in 2015 but was up and down until mid-2016. Since then the trend has been a steady increase in discounting, except for the traditional holiday spike in November and December.

Strategic?

The strategy of discounting is often debated among industry experts with some saying it is always a bad idea while others taking a more nuanced position that says discounting can be useful to achieve goals in specific situations.

We had noticed that Average Check has been increasing as well as Discounts. If you overlay the trend for Average Check against the Discount trend, you see that while discounts have gone up about 50% since the start of 2017, so has the Average Check, about 25%. Could the increase in discounts be related to the strategy of increasing prices?

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Performance

Resolve To Whip Your Restaurant Data Into Shape

Posted by Leslie

The start of a new year means many people are focusing on getting in better shape. You may even be offering some healthier choices on your menu to meet the consumer mindset. Why do so many people vow to eat better in the new year? No doubt losing weight gives you more energy and confidence. As a restaurant executive getting your restaurant data into better shape can have the same effects on your business. Learn why you should resolve to whip your data into shape and how to successfully do it.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Performance

2019 Restaurant Business Predictions

Posted by Dave Bennett

What do you think will be the most popular restaurant business trends for 2019? I recently had the privilege to sit down with FSR Magazine to briefly discuss this topic.

We discuss four prevailing predictions:

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Performance

The Changing Dynamics of Restaurants

Posted by Dave Bennett

The Past

According to a recent article, the top 10 oldest restaurants in America are:

  1. McGillin's OldeLouis' Lunch (1895) New Haven, Conn.
  2. Buckhorn Exchange (1893) Denver
  3. McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1860) Philadelphia
  4. Breitbach’s Country Dining (1852) Balltown, Iowa
  5. Tadich Grill (1849) San Francisco
  6. Antione’s Restaurant (1840) New Orleans
  7. Union Oyster House (1826) Boston
  8. Griswold Inn (1776) Essex, Conn.
  9. Fraunces Tavern (1762) New York City
  10. White Horse Tavern (1673) Newport, R.I.

To me, it is fascinating that these establishments are still going!

Most likely, today's restaurants evolved out of the Tavern where travelers could get a bed and a meal on their journey. I am sure that in the 18th and early 19th centuries most people would not think of paying someone to cook a meal for them. It required discretionary income and the 'middle class' would not evolve until later during the industrial revolution.

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Topics: Restaurant Operations, Restaurant Performance

Restaurant Employee Contests: Fun, Profitable, or Both?

Posted by Chuck Bartlett

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

Mirus Index: Restaurant Sales Rise In 2018

Posted by Dave Bennett

Improving Sales

As we head towards the end of the second quarter, it appears that restaurant sales are moving in a positive direction. Unless something dramatic occurs in the next two weeks, June will finish the first half of the year with 5 months of positive sales growth - only February has been negative this year. The current year to date Same Store Sales, as measured by the Mirus Index, is up 0.62%. Not huge, but at least positive, and the trend is improving. Same Store Sales for Q2 is up 0.82% so far and is up 1.8% for the first twelve days in June.

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Topics: Restaurant Profit, Restaurant Performance

Restaurant Operations: Manager Expectations

Posted by Chuck Bartlett

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?

Expectations

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

3 Keys To Analyze Promotions For Counter Service Restaurants

Posted by Dave Bennett

Menu changes occur all the time in the restaurant business. You might add an item or two, change the price of existing items, run a promotion, or limited time offer. All of these actions generate, hopefully, the consequences you intended. But, most of the time those actions cause other changes you did not expect. These are the unintended consequences. In this post, we give you three important things to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of a promotion.

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Topics: Restaurant Performance

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