Restaurant owners have endless data at their fingertips from a variety of sources – including point-of-sale (POS) systems, marketing platforms, inventory and scheduling software, to name a few. But do you know how to use this data to your advantage? While it might take some time to understand up front, data analytics can help position your business for long-term growth in several ways.
Data analytics can reveal which menu items are a hit and which ones might be falling flat with customers. To do this, track orders through your POS system or your online ordering and delivery platform. If you’re seeing orders spike for a handful of menu items, consider highlighting these dishes as house specialties on your menu, or make an effort to market your most popular items. This way, customers can get even more excited about them.
On the other hand, if you notice certain menu items aren’t being ordered very often, consider eliminating those dishes – and experimenting with new options in their place. Other ways to collect such data include hosting a social media contest for customers to vote on their favorite dishes and sending out a menu-related poll to your email list or loyalty program members.
Have you noticed certain days or times of the week when your restaurant experiences a lull and staff members are looking for things to do? Or maybe you’ve found yourself short-staffed during the dinner rush? With data analytics, you can better predict when your restaurant might be full of customers or receiving a slew of delivery and takeout orders – versus when you might experience some down time. This can help ensure you’re never over- or understaffed, ultimately making your restaurant more efficient and profitable.
Understanding and utilizing data analytics is key to measuring the success of your marketing programs. For instance, if certain types of social media posts see more engagement than others, you can focus on creating similar posts and spend less time on content that doesn’t see engagement. As another example, data analytics can help you pinpoint which incentives or promotions give customers the nudge they need to sign up for your loyalty or email marketing programs. Leveraging analytics to identify marketing efforts that are successful can help your restaurant improve across the board.