• Follow us


Five ways restaurant businesses can get the best out of customer data

In 2019, we’re all running data-driven businesses. Information about customers, employees, and operations is the bedrock of every decision we make. If we’re not doing it consciously, we’re doing it unconsciously: if we’re operating in the restaurant industry, we might notice that more people are buying a certain item; we might notice they’re buying more of it at a certain time. This information inevitably guides the decisions we make.

What makes a difference is the quality and reliability of this data. The more of it we have, the more informed we are; the more we can turn a hunch into an actionable strategy. The problem is knowing where to begin. If you’re running a restaurant, you probably don’t have a data scientist to hand.

So which information should you prioritise, and how should you use it?

Managing stock

Here’s a basic rule of restaurant (and, if we think about it, business) success: have more of the products that sell well, and have less of the products that sell badly. Of course, to do that, you have to know what sells well and what sells badly.

With food and drink, this is especially important, because when you keep the stuff that sells badly, it tends to go off. However, if you’re using an inventory management tool in tandem with data-driven electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) and kiosks systems, you can gain full transparency into what’s flying out of the kitchen and what’s mouldering in the back room. You’ll be able to understand what you need to restock and what you need to rotate out of your menu - and you’ll be able to do it in real-time.

Managing choice

When you know what’s selling like hotcakes – and it’s the restaurant industry, maybe you do sell hotcakes! – you know what’s most likely to appeal to customers and which items are most cost-efficient. And when you know what’s most likely to appeal to customers and which items are most cost-efficient, you know what you should promote. 

Gathering menu item performance data can help you keep a finger on the pulse of customer preference as it is now, as it was in the past, and as it will be tomorrow and in the not-too-distant future. Those adhering to, or trying to adhere to, a paleo, vegetarian, or vegan diet will appreciate being able to choose vegetarian and vegan options; a visitor who buys a normally seasonal dish might like it if it’s available all year round. Follow the data and expand your menu accordingly.

Managing offers

Suppose you have a regular customer who visits your restaurant accompanied by friends: a busy working mum, for example, who pops by for a much-needed break from the kids to socialise and de-stress. Suppose she eats ribeye steak with a vodka martini. Suppose you have systems capable of providing you with this level of insight into her behaviours, past and present. Why not make it easy for her to come back even more? Why not send her a time-limited discount or other rewards for her loyalty the next time she pops in?

If it’s viable, it makes sense to ensure that people have an incentive to return to your restaurant. So, give them the incentives. Use ordering systems and customer loyalty schemes to amass as much information as possible about who’s ordering what, at which times they’re most likely to order it, and what they’re likely to order in future – giving you the chance to personalise discounts to suit purchase behaviour.

Some ordering systems can even make it possible for your team to identify demographics and interests of customers, facilitating even deeper customisation. So, for example, if a group of students comes in, the waiter can add details to the system that presents relevant ads for beer or cocktails on the tableside ordering tablet. Similarly, if your chain has its own mobile ordering app, make sure to use the customer’s data to advertise relevant offers.

Managing your staff

A restaurant’s workforce needs to be finely balanced: too many staff on hand and you’re paying people unnecessarily; too few and you’ll find it hard to give customers the level of service they deserve. Either extreme can have adverse effects: the latter influencing public perception of your establishment; the former making it easy to run up unnecessary expenses.

Using historic sales data from your EPOS and other ordering systems, such as kiosks and tableside tablets, it’s possible to see how busy your restaurant typically is on a given day, and even during special events like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. You can then adjust rotas to suit the expected level of demand – ensuring that staff aren’t working shifts when they’re not needed, and that you have enough employees on hand to service everyone when they are.

Managing insights

Perhaps the most potent benefit of running a data-driven restaurant is the chance to improve operations – and then make further improvements as needed. By capturing an assortment of visitor and staff data, you can understand how teams are performing, what sales and marketing activities customers are responding to, and which menu items ought to be jettisoned at the first opportunity.

By centralising reporting through an app or a dedicated digital reporting system, you can use data-driven insights to gain a comprehensive view of your establishment’s performance – both in and of itself, and in relation to any other locations you might have. Indeed, these systems are particularly conducive to making improvements across multiple restaurants: you can see trends on a store level, on a regional level, and even on a national level.

It also beats doing it manually – for restaurant managers, having data at your fingertips saves valuable time that could be best used on other strategically valuable activities. And this, perhaps, may be the ultimate appeal of becoming a data-driven restaurant or chain of restaurants. It’s not so much about what the technology does, but what it allows you to do thanks to the cost and time efficiencies it creates. When you collect data properly and compliantly, it can transform your operations and your commercial fortunes alike.

Seek out qualified technology partners to make sure you know which information you need, how to use it, how to anonymise it (if applicable), and how to centralise it to make sure teams aren’t isolated or working from different information. But above all, make sure you use it. Because as mentioned, we’re all data-driven to some extent or another. We just perform much better when we use good data.

Jurgen Ketel, Managing Director EMEA, GivexImage Credit: Flyt

Read More

Leave A Comment

More News

Latest ITProPortal news

Redefining the term engineer in the workplace. 2019-07-01 05:00:10Lots of people have 'engineer' in their job title, but what is engineering?

The predictive art of retention – using data 2019-07-01 04:30:34As the number of people voluntarily leaving their job roles continues to rise, it is now harder than ever to attract and retain talent. More companies

Vital points to consider while choosing the platform 2019-07-01 04:00:27Selecting the best platform for your website is an absolute requirement for your business, but choosing the right platform isn’t that easy.

Modernising mission critical communications 2019-07-01 04:00:18The modernisation of mission critical communications with intelligent push-to-talk broadband solutions.

Wi-Fi 6 vs. 5G: Key advantages for businesses 2019-06-28 07:00:222019 will be a landmark year for wireless connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT), with the launches of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G making headlines across t

Why UK government organisations are a key target 2019-06-28 06:30:44Why aren’t government organisations doing more to protect their systems, the services they manage and the citizens they serve?

Somerville bans facial recognition in public 2019-06-28 06:30:30After San Francisco comes Somerville, and after that - possibly Oakland

Russia's Google breached, users spied upon 2019-06-28 06:00:29Yandex says the attack was spotted at an early stage

Boards have woken up to the value of 2019-06-28 06:00:01Security is now a priority for boards but managing security is as complex as ever.

Seven reasons asset compliance blows-up 2019-06-28 05:30:32How TAM can help businesses stay compliant and avoid the most common pitfalls.

GDPR one year on: where do we stand? 2019-06-28 05:00:24As we pass the GDPR one-year anniversary, how has the data landscape changed?

Best practices for preventing and recovering from a 2019-06-28 04:00:29How to defend and recover from ransomware attacks.

TechRadar: Internet news

Pinterest now offers breathing exercises if your searches New! 2019-07-23 05:02:08If you're feeling down or anxious, the site will offer 'emotional well-being' tips from mental health experts.

Honor eyes 4.5m smartphone sales in Middle East New! 2019-07-23 04:58:57Honor eyes 4.5m smartphone sales in Middle East and African markets this year and seeks to strengthen its market share

Tour de France live stream: how to watch New! 2019-07-23 04:50:21Only a few stages remain as the riders fight it out for the title. Watch the hunt for the yellow jersey with a 2019 Tour de France live stream.

Apple Watch 6 and beyond may offer far New! 2019-07-23 04:46:54Apple may be ready to introduce a new display technology to the Apple Watch to help improve the battery life.

Xiaomi kicks off Mi Fifth Anniversary Sale in New! 2019-07-23 04:43:04The sale is being hosted across Mi India store, Mi Home stores, online (Amazon and Flipkart) and offline partner stores.

How to watch Love Island online for free: New! 2019-07-23 04:40:26How to watch Love Island online: both the UK and USA editions - whether you're in the UK or abroad on holiday.

Dragon Age 4 setting to be teased by New! 2019-07-23 04:34:49Could our next fantasy destination be revealed?

Oracle aims to move all of its on-premise New! 2019-07-23 04:13:21Oracle eyes to convert all of its 4,000 on-premise customers in Middle East and Africa on to cloud in two years

Equifax hit with major pay out for data New! 2019-07-23 04:05:16Equifax will pay $700m to settle probes into its 2017 data breach that exposed the personal data of almost 150m consumers.

The best movies on Stan: a list of New! 2019-07-23 03:26:32Stan has a huge selection of movies to choose from, so we've taken the liberty of picking out some of the best ones for you.

The best TV shows to stream on Stan New! 2019-07-23 03:05:57Stan has an abundance of great TV shows on offer, so here's our list of what you should be watching first.

Apple's 5G iPhones could end up using Intel-designed New! 2019-07-22 22:50:13Apple is reportedly set to acquire Intel's smartphone modem business within the next week.

TechCrunch » Enterprise

Investor Jocelyn Goldfein to join us on AI 2019-07-18 13:00:37Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a foundational technology for enterprise software development and startups have begun addressing a variety

InCountry raises $15M for its cloud-based private data 2019-07-18 12:36:08The rise of data breaches, along with an expanding raft of regulations (now numbering 80 different regional regimes, and growing) have thrust data pro

VComply raises $2.5 million seed round led by 2019-07-18 09:00:47Risk and compliance management platform VComply announced today that it has picked up a $2.5 million seed round led by Accel Partners for its internat

Intel announces deep, multi-year partnership with SAP 2019-07-18 08:29:38Intel announced a deep partnership with SAP today around using advanced Intel technology to optimize SAP software tools. Specifically, the company pla

Southeast Asian cloud communications platform Wavecell acquired by 2019-07-17 23:03:49Wavecell, a cloud-communications platform for companies in Southeast Asia, announced today that it has been acquired by 8×8 in a deal worth abou

AT&T signs $2 billion cloud deal with Microsoft 2019-07-17 12:24:13While AWS leads the cloud infrastructure market by a wide margin, Microsoft isn’t doing too badly, ensconced firmly in second place, the only ot

ClassPass introduces a corporate wellness program 2019-07-17 10:24:28ClassPass has set up yet another revenue stream, signing to a corporate wellness program partners like Facebook, Glossier, Google, Morgan Stanley, Und

Dust Identity secures $10M Series A to identify 2019-07-17 10:03:30The idea behind Dust Identity was originally born in an MIT lab where the founders developed the base technology for uniquely identifying objects usin

Stonly lets you create interactive step-by-step guides to 2019-07-17 07:01:28French startup Stonly wants to empower users so that they can solve their issues by themselves. Instead of relying on customer support agents, Stonly

AlphaSense, a search engine for analysis and business 2019-07-17 06:10:14Google and its flagship search portal opened the door to the possibilities of how to build a business empire on the back of organising and navigating

ContractPodAi scores $55M for its ‘AI-powered’ contract management 2019-07-17 04:00:36ContractPodAi, a London-based startup that has developed what it describes as AI-powered contract lifecycle management software, is disclosing $55 mil

Qualtrics’ Julie Larson-Green will talk experience management at 2019-07-16 12:00:57We’re less than two months out from our first TC Sessions: Enterprise event, which is happening in San Francisco on September 5, and did you kno

Digital Trends

Asus ROG Phone 2 hands-on review 2019-07-22 04:00:40Asus is on a roll in 2019, having started out with the Zenfone 6 -- a welcome surprise and a great phone -- and now with the ROG Phone 2. This gaming

Space tourism is coming, and it’s going to 2019-07-22 04:00:05NASA has announced it will be allowing tourists to visit the International Space Station. But experts who spoke to Digital Trends warn that space tour

Jetpack pilot flies around Sydney Harbour and stays 2019-07-22 03:35:20Ten years ago, a jetpack demonstration by Aussie entrepreneur David Mayman saw him end up in Sydney Harbour, but on Sunday he returned with a far more

Parrot exits low-end drone market to focus on 2019-07-22 02:50:47Parrot is exiting the low-end drone market to focus on developing its more advanced Anafi drone for the commercial market. The company recently won a

Tinder aims to break up with Google Play 2019-07-21 23:09:55Tinder launched a new payment process that allows the dating app to bypass Google Play Store fees. Unlike others that have worked around app store fee

Overwatch Role Queue system will change the metagame, 2019-07-21 22:15:35Blizzard attempts to make Overwatch matches "fair and fun" with the Role Queue system, which forces teams to be made up of two heroes in each role.

Magic: The Gathering SDCC 2019 panel reveals addition 2019-07-21 21:26:16Wizards of the Coast revealed at the Magic: The Gathering panel at SDCC 2019 that Brawl is coming this year to MTG Arena. The arrival of the Commander

Best new shows and movies to stream this 2019-07-21 19:00:05Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Into the Dark: C

Android will soon monitor battery of wireless earbuds, 2019-07-21 16:31:15Google will soon roll out new features that will improve Android support for true wireless earbuds. The planned features include the ability to monito

The best free flight simulators 2019-07-21 16:00:49You don't have to spend the entirety of your paycheck to become a virtual ace, at least when it comes to flight simulation. Our list of the best free

The best free drawing software 2019-07-21 16:00:34Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as

How re-engineering an old technology could give us 2019-07-21 16:00:11Battery supply has been a critical limiting factor in electric vehicle adoption. Now Portland-based XNRGI has developed a battery based on old silicon

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.