Have you heard the term “Big Data” being thrown around lately? It’s a relatively new buzzword, but the concept has been around for ages. Gaining momentum in the early 2000s as a catchphrase in the analyst industry, “big data” is a way of describing the process of gathering and storing large amounts of information in volume, velocity, and variety.
More simply, every item that is ordered in your restaurant, every online review, every customer who walks through your door, and even the weather is valuable information that you have at your fingertips to understand behaviors, trends, and ways to improve your business.
Collecting data is important, but it’s what you DO with it that really counts. Here are 5 ways to harness big data in your restaurant (with a lot of help from your restaurant point of sale system):
- Optimize Your Menu
Identify unpopular and low-margin items using category sales reports. These reports will let you pinpoint slow-moving menu items. Remove these items to make room for new dishes or enhance existing ones. According to a food data mining project completed by wired.com and foodnetwork.com, adding bacon, cream cheese, whipped topping, strawberries, and avocado are ingredients that tend to boost recipe ratings.
- Refine Pricing and Promotions
Tracking item sales and cost information can help you understand the most profitable items in your restaurant. Servers can then promote these high-profit items to drive sales . Additionally, monitoring external data, like the weather for example, can help you tailor promotions to drive sales during non-peak times such as cold, rainy days (soup, anyone?).
- Enhance Guest Experience
Customer loyalty programs are an essential tool to gain a competitive edge. Millennials are now the largest demographic in America, and gaining their loyalty is a huge value for any business.
According to Justin Guinn, restaurant researcher at Software Advice, “millennials are motivated by standard loyalty rewards programs, but they also seek a deeper, emotional connection to brands.” Based on his findings, he suggests a POS-driven loyalty program, which enables restaurants to manage every customer touchpoint and interaction.
- Improve Operations
A few key areas in which big data can improve operations are inventory management, quality control, table turn, and employe scheduling, hours, and productivity. Automated reports and access to an analytics dashboard can help to reduce administrative overload and offer real-time snapshots of operations performance
- Fuel Forecasting
Using a calendar and logbook can help drive revenue by utilizing past performance. Item sales trend reports also allow you to analyze historical sales of food and beverages so that you can order and prepare more accurately, reducing waste. Hourly sales reports will give you insights to historical guest patterns so that you can schedule your employees strategically and optimize hours to drive profits.
When it comes to big data in your restaurant, your restaurant POS is your biggest asset and one of the most important tools you have at your disposal to distill raw data into actionable items. Reports are an essential part of this analysis. For more detailed information about POS reporting, check out our blog 9 Restaurant POS Reports to Increase Productivity and Profitability.
If you’re looking for a restaurant point of sale system with robust reporting capabilities, contact Leebro POS today to speak to one of our POS experts.