A Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Data
There’s never a dull moment for a restaurant owner. Between juggling budgets, staff, schedules, and managing the customer experience, you always have a lot on your plate. You probably know that restaurant data is important, but you might not feel like you have the time to dig into it. Or, you may not even know where to start. We’ll make it a little easier for you. We’ve created a beginner’s guide to restaurant data and metrics so you’ll know what’s available and how to utilize it in your restaurant. These analytics are crucial to improving overall efficiency and your bottom line.
1.) Kitchen Data
This type of kitchen display system data relates specifically to back of house data in and around your kitchen and food prep. This real-time data is vital for giving operators and owners the full scope of kitchen activity so that you can make critical business decisions on the fly.
Speed of service data
Each time a cook bumps an item from one phase of its order to the next, it writes a report of when the order started, how long it took to cook, how long it should have taken and how long it took to get the order from the kitchen out to the customer. This measurement is your speed of service data and is essential to understand your kitchen.
Expo views in different kitchen stations
You’ll easily be able to identify bottlenecks by merely viewing this restaurant data. When cook times are exceeding averages, you’ll have the information to identify the specific chokepoint.
Real-Time Order Status
By segmenting an order’s process, station by station, you can diagnose specific pain points or obstacles. By targeting a particular, segmented area, your tweaks to these perceived “problem areas” won’t disrupt efficiency through the whole process.
2.) On- and Off-Premise Dining
Off-premise dining is one of the hottest industry trends, and it is here to stay. When launching an off-premise dining strategy, you’re primarily managing two streams of traffic (in-house and off-premise). You’ll need to make sure that serving one stream doesn’t jeopardize the quality of service of the other. You really can’t do this efficiently without the right restaurant data and metrics.
Capacity management data provides accurate quote times that account for the current speed of service in the restaurant and not only the volume of orders. If traffic in your kitchen heats up, the quoted time provided to off-premise diners and third-party delivery services will take into account everything that is going on in your restaurant. This process of inflating times and staggering orders to flow with kitchen traffic is known as order throttling. This way, there’s no waiting for guests when they come to get their order.
3.) Guest Management
This data relates specifically to your front-of-house processes. Most of this information is accessible when you integrate your front and back-of-house systems.
A guest management system that has a takeout tab function allows you to filter carryout and delivery orders on customizable tabs. The tabs support shows when an order starts cooking in the kitchen, how long the order has been cooking, and what time the order is ready in the kitchen. Operators can create different tabs based on carryout, delivery, or online orders. Hosts have access to order insights without having to bounce back and forth to the kitchen to see the status of an order, providing them with better knowledge to serve guests and third-party delivery partners.
FOH and BOH Data
Your host staff can view order and item level status updates within the guest management system. BOH employees can also view FOH metrics from the kitchen. Unifying this data allows chefs to see what’s coming down the pipe, how many people waiting, etc.
Some guest management systems allow you to set up an auto check-in feature based on beacons or fence radiuses. When the beacon is in range you’ll have the option to configure your guest management system to notify the host and/or check in the diner.
Wait times aren’t impossible to calculate manually, but the process can be time-consuming and riddled with errors. And, since restaurant turnover tends to be high, this is not something you’ll want to teach every host to do manually. Long wait times are one of the leading ways to lose customers, so it’s best to choose an accurate method. The most natural solution is to have a centralized data hub. A restaurant reservation system will automatically calculate wait times based on historical data, current table statuses, and the waitlist and reservation book.
Table turn time
Table turn-times measure the time it takes for a guest to dine, from the time they sit down until they leave. It’s important to figure out your average table turn time; you will be able to see what areas need improvement so you can shorten your time.
Average Party Size
Party sizes can vary, so it’s helpful to have historical restaurant data of your average party size. Knowing the demographics of your customers is valuable for many reasons and can generate good questions: are you serving mostly baby boomers or millennials? The more you know your guests the better you can serve them. This helps with your overall marketing strategy and improves the guest experience.
How often is a party of 2 sitting at a table that could hold 6? Seating efficiency is vital to your bottom line and your overall speed of service. Seating efficiency data can provide you this information and will set the appropriate size party to the right table.
Party Sourcing Data
How did each diner discover your restaurant? This information is accessible on some guest management systems.
You’ll be able to access information about who and why guests didn’t show up at their reserved meal time. From here, you can draw a conclusion and make adjustments.
4.) Individual Customer Data
This data includes identifiers and contact information as well as allergies, birthdays, anniversaries, favorite dishes, and order histories. How you collect, this is up to you, note that many POS systems will give you this data for use at the moment, but will not let you “own” it. A third party data collection may be in order, depending on how you’re attracting customers (this is usually quite cheap). Keeping customer data helps with promotions (birthdays) and recurring marketing incentives (newsletters) as well as other customer retention and outreach strategies.
5.) Operations Data
Some of the most critical restaurant data is the kind that’ll show you what you have on hand. You’ll want to make sure you have technology that helps you manage staff schedules, inventory management, and a budgeting platform.
Each piece of restaurant data and analytics contributes to creating an overall smarter operation. And, when you integrate each of these pieces together, the opportunities are endless.
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About the Author
Emily Wimpsett was a Content & Social Media Specialist at QSR Automations. Emily was born and raised in Louisville but considers herself a die-hard University of Kentucky fan. For college, Emily attended Indiana University Southeast and obtained a degree in Communications with a track in Advertising. In her free time, Emily enjoys just about every water-related activity but she is partial to kayaking and whitewater rafting.