The restaurant industry is a notoriously competitive one - and for a good reason. Restaurants are often a pain to run, difficult to keep staffed, and operate on long, hard hours, meaning they’re really not for everyone. But when run properly, any restaurant can become a beacon of success in your community and show what does and doesn’t work. So what’s the best way to track and manage your restaurant?
Restaurant data analytics and restaurant analytics software make keeping your business on its feet more effortless than ever - thanks, computers! If you’re new to the field (or just need a refresher), you’re in the right place. Today, we’re talking about the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that all restauranteurs and chefs should keep in mind on a daily basis.
Now let’s get going!
Let’s start with the simple stuff, yeah? Every business has customers and employees - that’s just how our economy works. So, logically, the most important thing restaurant owners and chefs can track are metrics on how satisfied customers are and how well employees perform.
One of the most important things you’ll need to track in a restaurant is how happy your customers are. This goes by several names, but it boils down to satisfaction. You can measure these metrics in so many places that it can be overwhelming - Google, Yelp, social media, the choices are pretty much endless.
So what does this mean for owners? With the proper tools, you can track and measure many factors that ultimately will inform how happy customers remain over time, such as:
Each of these can show you what needs improvement. The average bill size can tell you what the usual budget for your average customer is, allowing you to adjust pricing to be more in line with your clientele. It can also show you what does and doesn’t sell and help adjust the menu accordingly.
Meal frequency and duration also act as helpful metrics to see how your wait staff interacts with customers, how well they upsell, and more. Once you’ve gotten these customer analytics for restaurants up and running, monitoring your business’s health becomes so much easier.
And then, we have the service-focused metrics to track for customers:
While these may seem odd at first, if you have regulars, you’re likely already mentally tracking this. You know that Jim hates shellfish (but isn’t allergic), Alyssa loves gin and despises vodka, and Alice and Meghan just celebrated their 3-year anniversary. So why not just… enter that into a spreadsheet so the other waiters, bartenders, cooks, and hosts can know it, too?
These things help personalize your customers’ experiences and make them more likely to return time and again.
Now, this is where things get juicy. We all want our staff to be constant, 24/7 rockstars, and some out there are! But when dealing with constant turnover and all of your business’s other needs, it can be easy to let your staff’s needs and performance fall to the wayside.
By tracking a few straightforward KPIs, you can tell who is overperforming, reward them, and work with underperformers to get them where they need to be. There are two primary ways to track these restaurant data analytics:
Staff Sales Data:
Menus are the lifeblood of a restaurant. Without a menu, there’s no business, as simple as that. As such, keeping a keen eye on your menu is of the utmost importance.
Many restauranteurs struggle to figure out precisely what does and doesn’t work on a menu. And when you bring in multiple locations, things can get more complicated when determining which shop sells what, and how often.
The solution is simple - use restaurant analytics software (like Cuboh) to track your menu’s performance. You can see individually how well each item sells and even break the data down into super-detailed bits, like when certain things sell.
Knowing these seemingly small details will ensure that your menu remains as cost-effective as possible, cutting out consistent loss on inventory and allowing you to run specials that sell consistently. Who knows, you may find that something you thought was a one-off is actually a great happy hour seller or that one specific drink on the menu is simply taking up space.
Additionally, one of the most significant benefits of tracking your menu’s performance is the impact on inventory. You’ll find quite quickly that you’re spending less on expired stock, ordering more effectively, and that you can plan events and specials much more accurately with a few lines of seemingly unimportant data.
This is a small but vital point to keep in mind. When examining your menu’s metrics, you need to look at it in both the larger (long-term) picture and the smaller (day-to-day) picture. Combining specific points (listed below) can help you better understand why certain things sell how they do, why people order certain items repeatedly, and more! Here’s what to track specifically:
Repeat orders (same customer)
Ghost and virtual kitchens are becoming increasingly popular. They have seen this success by taking advantage of a strong web presence and third-party delivery services - something any restaurant can do.
If you have an online ordering system already, it likely tracks many of the things we discussed in the previous section! If you don’t, though - catch up! We’re in the 21st century, meaning a business lives and dies by its web presence.
Whichever camp you’re in, there are a few things to track in restaurant analytics specifically targeted toward online ordering and delivery:
What do to-go customers tend to order the most?
Look at past trends.
How long are your delivery and wait times?
All in all, keeping track of key restaurant analytics can help you streamline your business and improve your business profits. Metrics like employee performance, sales data, menu metrics, and customer satisfaction can inform what aspects of your restaurant are performing as desired and what needs work.
Using restaurant analytics software can make this drastically easier - no need for spreadsheets or an IT team; just let the software do its job, and you can do yours.