Independent Restaurant Data Analytics: Handling Every Station
When it comes to “independent business,” shops and services in many shapes, sizes and colors come to mind. Nowadays, this dynamic couldn’t be more evident than in the restaurant industry where independent concepts range from quick-serve food-carts to nationally-reviewed establishments. Still, the principles behind successful independent restaurant ownership, back-of-house precision fused with front-of-house charm, remain universal across the board.
Creating a successful modern restaurant in any segment means crafting a “smart” one. Through technology, a smart independent restaurant can interpret the various streams of data your operation generates. In turn, you can adjust your workflow. When a kitchen display system tracks the speed of service data in your restaurant, it tracks every single “milestone” in an entree’s journey. So, it creates a metric for how long it takes the food to get from the order stage to the cooking stage, how long it takes to cook, and then to get back on the floor. By analyzing these reports, an operator could focus on tangles in this workflow, noting particular times and food items. Then, they can make appropriate staffing decisions. Stories of independent restaurants slashing wait times and boosting revenues through kitchen automation abound!
As a segment, independent restaurants continue growing more steadily than chains, with projected growth of 4-5% by 2020. Roger, an independent restaurant owner, considers this “indie boom” a symptom of our modern age. With so much technology driving modern commerce, customers long for “human” touches in the companies they support. These customers wish to know and interact with those who own the stores they frequent – something more difficult in larger chains. They maintain the idea that by supporting independent operators, they’re helping someone who depends on their visit, and who’ll remember them individually every time they return.
This direct customer-operator interaction keeps Roger’s guests loyal. Running an independent restaurant means he must assume many job titles to keep things in the black. He’s always considering matters of finance, staffing, and marketing. Since a corporate board doesn’t back his restaurant, he doesn’t have the safety a chain operator might have. Fortunately, it also means he can be as creative as he wants with his vision.
Roger’s known that over the course of his restaurant’s life, he might change his point-of-sale provider. He’s known to protect his investment with a KDS that can integrate with multiple POS systems. Through those integrations, Roger can access granular customer data through his guestbook. He can use this customer data to create customized, targeted marketing campaigns and loyalty programs. It’s this kind of directness and personality that’s made Roger’s restaurant such a staple of the community year after year.
The integrations don’t stop there though. With a restaurant that serves both walk-in and off-premise guests, stable integration with his front-of-house system adds an equally crucial component. Capacity management features in his KDS “read” the data in his restaurant before generating quotes for guests. Whether it’s a pick-up time for an off-premise order or a quote for a walk-in guest, back-of-house data fully inform his front-of-house processes, making every quote genuinely accurate.
When the restaurant is particularly busy, the KDS will throttle an order, adjusting the quote to account for the traffic. When things smooth out, these quotes will re-adjust in real time. Wait times stay low, and the added efficiencies mean the restaurant can turn more tables, keeping the things in the front moving just as smoothly in the back. Ultimately, nothing ever dampens the guest experience with overbooking or unmet promises.
These industry-leading data and integration capabilities allow Roger to stay in the present, keeping pace and presence with his customers. His big-picture processes are in order, and his restaurant is fully optimized. Roger knows if he needs to, he can access those metrics to make beneficial real-time decisions for his store’s success. Moreover, he can put that data to work for him in new and inventive ways – further freeing him up to do what he has to do: operate an independent business!
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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.