Fine Dining Restaurant Data Analytics: Beyond the Black Tie
As a fine-dining operator, Scott and his team have been key players in many special moments. Whether they’re celebrating an anniversary, discussing significant business or even proposing for marriage, his restaurant serves as much more than an eatery for his guests.
At this stage of owning a business, Scott knows the value of restaurant data analytics. Beyond that, he knows it’s critical to unify his front and back-of-house stations. He’s got a kitchen display system in the back, with a recipe viewer to maintain consistency from cook to cook. The routing and coursing features of his KDS keep meals — elaborate, multi-course fare — on track. For his front-of-house, Scott’s got a powerful waitlist & reservation system to avoid fine-dining faux pas like overbooking.
That’s all a bit technical though. Scott considers his fine-dining restaurant concept in a bigger picture. Relative to many other restaurant segments, fine-dining is stable and less responsive to negative trends. Fine-dining restaurants, full-service eateries who specialize in dinner-based meals at an average cost of $50-70, are pretty rare. They make up only 1.4 percent of current American restaurants and 0.73 percent worldwide. In general, they’re lower volume than a quick-service or fast-casual restaurant, while still generating comparable revenue.
To guests, fine-dining is exceptional, set apart from other restaurant experiences. Where they might roll to fast-casual on a spontaneous whim, they’ll book fine-dining reservation months in advance. They wear a different hat (or a tie!) when they’re in a fine-dining spot. They have different priorities here than anywhere else.
Sure, they still want speed and convenience, but not to “get in/get out” like they would a quick-serve. They’ve made plans to eat at this restaurant. They’re resigned to spending their evening there. Additionally, they might use it as the site of a special event. It’s a way to escape their day-to-day doldrums.
That’s where Scott sees the value of a data-powered restaurant. There’s no quick shortcut to crafting the perfect “ambiance” and “vibe” in an establishment. Many fine-dining businesses take years to get it. Here’s what he does know: nothing kills a pleasant night faster than a hassle. He hates the sight of wait staff scrambling to correct a mistaken order or the disruption of an overbooked party. It’s unpleasant for all parties involved. Moreover, it takes the customer “out” of the fine-dining experience.
Through integrated technology and automation, Scott’s fully connected restaurant removes these unpleasantries. His technology in every station utilizes real-time kitchen data to stay “informed” on all other stations, optimizing every process. Delay routing and coursing features in his KDS help pace complicated orders perfectly, concerning timing and bandwidth, so that the proverbial steak and chicken in order both finish cooking at the same time.
Furthermore, capacity management features in the software keep staff in the front of house on top of kitchen processes (like the progress of an order), while those in the back can tell when a new party enters, or seats. Through data, Scott gets a full-bodied portrait of his restaurant that he can follow to make on-the-spot decisions.
Beyond any marketing gimmick, Scott’s figured out the best way to serve as a fine-dining operator: provide an unmatched experience that makes them forget there’s anyone else in the restaurant but them. It’s a huge order, but with restaurant data analytics, Scott ensures that kind of customer experience, every single time.
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About the Author
Brian leads the Implementation, Project Management, Training, and Support Services groups at QSR Automations. He has dual degrees in Information Systems and Operations Management and is a big baseball fan—he’s visited most of the Major League Baseball parks! Outside of that, he loves spending summer evenings with his family, especially at Louisville Bats games.