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Maximizing restaurant success through a strategic use of analytics

By Nadine Hashem

Running a successful restaurant requires a keen understanding of your business data. Every order and transaction made through your POS software generates valuable data, which can be translated into actionable insights through clear reports.


These reports serve as a treasure trove of information for restaurateurs looking to enhance various aspects of their business.


Restaurant analytics should provide you with clarifications on different levels and should answer critical questions about your performance pitfalls and reasons behind failure or falling behind your goals. In addition, it gives you clear insights into areas of improvement.  


How do you use your restaurant analytics to improve your performance?



Analyzing Current Performance


Restaurant analytics answers specific questions about your performance, helping you understand why you may have fallen short of expectations.

By delving into factors at play, you gain insights into your business's current situation and identify areas for improvement.


Menu Engineering



One key aspect of restaurant analytics is menu engineering. Reports generated by this feature help identify your most profitable and popular menu items. It classifies items like stars, puzzles, plow horses, and dogs. This classification enables strategic placement on the menu, promoting items that are both profitable and have low popularity.


For dog items that are unprofitable and unpopular for instance, try to replace them as soon as possible with more popular items that get you more profits.

Furthermore, analytics provide insights into items needing alteration based on frequent add-ons or modifications. For instance, if customers consistently request extra toppings or substitutions, it may be time to consider changing the item itself, allowing you to engineer your menu successfully and adjust prices accordingly.


Requesting extra cheese on the same item from several customers or requesting extra sauce or a change of bun indicates that the item should be modified according to most requests.



Location Performance



Restaurant analytics also shed light on the profitability of different locations. Rather than physically visiting each location, your analytics should provide a general idea of their performance. You can identify the reasons behind variations in performance, such as demographics, location, or pricing strategies, and make informed decisions about operational changes.


If you run multiple locations and of the outlets is falling behind the others. The analytics help you find out the reason.

Is it the demographics that don’t align with the concept of your restaurant?

Is it the hours of operation at that specific location?

You start testing different options to check which one suits your business needs.



Busiest Days and Operational Optimization



Understanding your restaurant's busiest days is crucial for effective staffing and scheduling. Analytics specify peak days, allowing you to prepare and optimize profits. Identifying slow days prompts strategic decisions—whether to close on specific days that aren’t busy to save your costs or introduce themed promotions to attract customers.


For instance, implementing "Taco Tuesdays" or offering specials on drinks and appetizers can help boost sales on traditionally slow days.


Offering specials on appetizers with certain drinks will boost your sales during the weekdays especially since data reveals an average increase of 26% in revenues during happy hours. So, knowing which days to choose and which hours for the special discounts depending on the reports generated helps you skyrocket your revenues.


Monitor the success of these strategies allowing for adjustments and alternative plans if needed by reviewing reports generated from your POS software.



Top Selling Categories and Sales Forecast



Digging deeper into sales figures reveals your top-selling categories. Whether it's appetizers, burgers, or entrées, understanding your winning category is crucial. It also prompts investigation into underperforming categories. Understanding why certain categories lag allows for targeted improvements that involve optimizing ingredients, offering specials, or adjusting marketing strategies to boost sales.


Questions arise: Why aren't sandwiches selling? What's causing soups to struggle? Should a category be discontinued? Adjustments, such as limiting options or changing promotions, can be made to revitalize sales.



Predicting future performance in the restaurant sector is challenging, but analytics can offer valuable insights. Sales forecasting is a crucial aspect of restaurant analytics. Monthly sales data can be averaged over different months to predict future performance.


By analyzing monthly sales and averaging them over different months, you can forecast changes adjust employee schedules and supply orders accordingly, and ensure optimal ordering of raw materials and supplies.


In conclusion, restaurant analytics go beyond generating reports; they serve as a roadmap for strategic improvements and informed decision-making. Regularly analyzing and adapting based on this data is key to achieving sustained success in the competitive restaurant industry.

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