Data is your restaurant’s new best friend.
Technology and data aren't just a nice-to-have for restaurants anymore. Your tech solutions should be able to collect tons of data about your business automatically — and data is powerful. It can help you boost revenue, increase efficiency, and encourage more return customers.
Making strategic, data-driven decisions means you rely on information gathered through technology both internally and externally to drive your business. Decisions made based on data and analytics are the best choices for the longevity of your business because you aren’t guessing or relying on intuition. You can be confident in changing your menu or hiring more waitstaff because the facts are there to back you up. And collecting and compiling strategic data can positively affect every aspect of your business, and it can shed light onto how your business can best grow and succeed.
Consider this: Our annual Restaurant Success Report found that 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant technology improves their business' efficiency, and an additional 73% of diners said restaurant technology improves their guest experience.
So what does this mean for your business, and how can data both help you and your restaurant?
At Food For Thought: NYC, restaurant leaders from New York City’s five boroughs shared how data has been used to transform their restaurant operations. Their experiences mirror trends nationwide, where a data-driven approach is inspiring a new kind of hospitality, said Aman Narang, co-founder of Toast, as he kicked off the NYC event.
How are these NYC restaurants embracing this data-driven approach to running their restaurants? Here are three key ways real restaurants use data to improve their operations:
1. Use data to serve your customers.
Mike Van Dorn, the Director of Logistics at Brodo, said that for his business, new technology streamlined operations and provided better business insights, leading to a stronger customer experience.
Brodo spent about a year hand-selecting the best tools to collect the most relevant business insights. Through this process, they found that LevelUp provided important data on returning customers they never knew they could get. Brodo was able to look at look at visitor trends over time through LevelUp, and see how well their business was at attracting repeat customers, not just day to day, but year over year.
Van Dorn also explained that Brodo measures their customer experience through Zendesk feedback portals, making it easy to adjust service as needed. Mike explained that with the portals, they were able to quickly make changes across stores and implement guest requests and feedback almost immediately.
The takeaway for your data-driven restaurant: Look for opportunities to allow customers to give you real-time feedback — not just in Yelp reviews.
2. Use data to help streamline your marketing.
The right technology can help you reach your best customers more effectively, taking the guesswork out of modern marketing.
Arthur Li, the CFO of Altamarea Group, explained that they use data to supplement their CRM (customer relationship management) and their marketing initiatives — and tailor them specifically to their targeted customers. Through data collection, Arthur was able to identify Altamarea's regulars, VIPs, and first-time diners. They can then target each group through marketing initiatives. Having access to demographics and behavior patterns can help you reach each guest with the most relevant promotions and offers, and keeps them coming back for more.
The takeaway for your data-driven restaurant: Don’t spray-and-pray when it comes to your marketing efforts. Instead, look to platforms that allow you to more effectively, efficiently attract customers who will love you most.
3. Data can help you manage your menu.
Menu engineering can improve sales by 27% by using data to evaluate the ordering behavior of your customers, and adjusting accordingly.
Measuring the profitability and popularity of your menu items makes it easy to prioritize your most popular and profitable dishes in your menu design. The most important metrics here are total menu sales, number of orders, and the average number sold of each item, which can all be found in Toast POS analytics.
Analyzing each item of your menu can be tedious — but it's high-effort, high reward. It'll help you effectively manage your menu based on item performance, saving you money and providing the best possible guest experience.
The takeaway for your data-driven restaurant: Take the guesswork out of your menu matrix.
The real benefit of better data integration in your restaurant is effectiveness and efficiency. But there’s another benefit as well, as Arthur Li said at Food for Thought:
"Technology will make your day-to-day backend work more efficient, allowing managers and chefs to spend more time focusing on what they love: Making good food and delivering great experiences."