How to Set Short and Long Term Goals for Your Restaurant

By: Allie Tetreault

6 Minute Read

Apr 04, 2018

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As a restaurant owner or manager, how many hours a day do you spend exporting and updating Excel sheets to gauge the success of your restaurant?

And when you finally have those numbers, do you set data-driven restaurant goals down to the year, month, and day? Or, do you look at the plethora of numbers on the sheet and say, “well, my restaurant is earning money, so I must be doing something right,” and call it a day?

The truth is, restaurant numbers can tell any story you want them to tell. By setting short and long term goals for your restaurant you can dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly of your restaurant sales and menu analytics.

Plus, with the right restaurant analytics platform, you can drill all the way down to the "extra cheese" on nachos to instantly determine exactly which parts of your business are indicators of success or areas of improvement, instead of spending hours grappling with charts and pivot tables to get the same answer.

7 Restaurant Goals Examples

Here are seven examples of short term and long term goals for a restaurant that you can set to improve restaurant KPIs like net sales, labor cost percentage, and more.

1. Increase Monthly Net Restaurant Sales

long term goals for a restaurant

Net restaurant sales might be the most important metric for your business; it’s the foundation of all of your restaurant analytics. Your success — and, if applicable, your investors’ success — is wholly dependent on this number. Net sales is gross sales minus discounts, and it can be a pain to calculate every day, rifling through yesterday’s receipts. If you could access that number from anywhere at any time, you could focus less on finding those numbers and more on increasing those numbers.

Depending on your restaurant’s historical numbers, location, and what you know about how seasonality affects your restaurant, you could set goals for your net restaurant sales to increase month over month.

Restaurant Goal: Increase net sales by 5% month over month

2. Increase Daily Net Restaurant Sales

short term goals for a restaurant

Sometimes, it’s nice to see a daily snapshot of net restaurant sales. The restaurant above, for example, ran a weekend promotion on December 14 and 15 which brought in the majority of sales for the month. Without that promotion, they may have seen an average net sales per day of approximately $3,000, but now they’ve improved that number to approximately $5,000.

This promotion obviously improved sales for this restaurant, so maybe they want to add it to their playbook to run once a month or quarter.

Restaurant Goal: Increase average net sales per day by 10%

3. Decrease Theft and Improve Employee Productivity
restaurant manager goals

Restaurant sales data can also help you decide when to staff up and staff down, saving on prime cost and labor cost percentage.

For example, the restaurant above is busiest between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. They should staff their best employees at those times to improve labor cost percentage.

It’s also telling that there are sales transactions happening between midnight and 6 a.m. Is the restaurant even open at that time? If there are transactions going through the system during off hours, you may want to see who was staffed to prevent against theft.

Restaurant Goal: Improve labor cost percentage by 5% and eliminate theft

4. Improve New Revenue Streams

objectives of a restaurant

According to the 2017 Restaurant Technology Report, 54% of diners marked loyalty programs as “somewhat” or “very” important, and 36% marked gift card programs as “somewhat” or “very” important. Obviously, these revenue streams are important for growing your guest base.

The restaurant above had 70 transactions with a gift card, which is 6% of total; those gift cards, however, only brought in 4% of total sales.

You could start a competition with your servers to see who can sell the most gift cards with a goal of increasing the percentage of gift card transactions.

Restaurant Goal: Grow new revenue stream to 25% of total transactions

5. Improve Your Top Selling Items

restaurant strategic plan

If you’re familiar with menu engineering, you know the “stars” of your menu are the most popular and the most profitable.

The dashboard pictured above will show you which three menu groups, menu items, and menu modifiers are most popular. You can then focus solely on making those “stars” even better.

Is there a cheaper cut of 10 oz sirloin steak you can buy to improve your food cost percentage? Could you change your menu design to move another item higher on the menu to beat out calamari, which might be costing a pretty penny to make?

Restaurant Goal: Improve menu item net amount by 20% with menu engineering

6. Test New Menu Items

objective of restaurant management system

With a breakdown of your product mix, you can see exactly how a new menu item is faring, and even get ideas for other menu items based on popular modifiers people are ordering. Your customers, unbeknownst to them, are often your best idea-generators for new recipes.

To test a new menu item, calculate the average net sales per menu item in a month. Then, add a new item to your menu for one month. After the month is over, see if the monthly net sales for the new menu item beat out the average. If it did, you might want to keep it in your lineup!

Restaurant Goal: Have new menu item net sales exceed average monthly menu item net sales

7. Test Service Charges

restaurant management system

With the minimum wage rising in 18 states, and tip pooling laws possibly changing in our new administration, restaurants are experimenting with several new ways to drive down labor costs including implementing service charges for the back of house and/or front of house staff..

The restaurant above has a sales category for “non-gratuity service charges,” so they can measure the effectiveness of this strategy.

They can also see, in quick view, how much their customers are spending on food, alcoholic beverages, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as which items have not been marked in any of those categories.

Restaurant Goal: Compare net sales amount before service charge to after service charge

Especially in the beginning of the year, many restaurants are thinking about how to set reachable long term goals for 2018 — but also what they can do to improve sales next week.

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