Between your POS system, your forecasting/scheduling software, your inventory management system, and every other system you have, you’re collecting data on just about everything that goes on in your restaurant. Maybe you even have some insight into the data of your competitors. Here’s the problem: you have all kinds of data, but not many insights. If you’re not making business decisions based on the data you collect, what good is that data? Here’s how you can use the tools at your disposal to create actionable insights for your business.

Engage your team

Every restaurant manager regularly reviews all kinds of store information—from hard data like sales and labor, to soft data like Voice of Customer information. The group that sees this kind of data the least also happens to be the group that can have the biggest influence over it: your in-store employees.

If you broke a sales record during the Black Friday rush this year, share that info with the team that made it happen. If a customer gave negative or positive feedback about a recent experience, make sure your employees see that feedback. Get your employees engaged with the data and they’ll be more invested in your success.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw

One of the best ways to share this data? Using your chat tools, like Crew, Slack, and so forth. Every day, share the wins and results of the day before with the team by sending out a quick message.

Think like a coach

The Chicago Bulls were an unstoppable force in the NBA from 1991 to 1993, due in no small part to the teamwork of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Were Jordan and Pippen great players on their own? Absolutely. But it was the combination of the two that made the Bulls unbeatable.

You probably already know who the Michael Jordan’s are in your restaurant. Take it a step further: in addition to identifying your best players, look for the best combinations of players on your team. If you have 10 percent better sales on nights when Stacie and Josh are working the same shift, schedule them together more often. If Karl isn’t the fastest at prep, but can wash dishes like nobody’s business, put him on the bench during the rush and bring him onto the court when it’s time to close.

You already have all that information by looking at the data at your fingertips! Review your schedule alongside your daily sales report and track results to determine who makes the best team. Take it a step further by observing them the next time they’re scheduled together to find just what makes them so good together. Use what you’ve learned as a coaching tool for the team.

Automate everything you can

A lot of restaurants outsource their payroll, but you probably still have to download your payroll information, package it up, and send it to your vendor—usually days in advance of payday. If you’re paying someone to handle your payroll, why are you still putting so much effort into the process? Many software solutions can automatically export data like payroll and send it where it needs to go. The same goes for sharing security information and sending data to corporate. If you’re doing something by hand, there’s probably software that could be doing it for you—and it might even be something you already own.

Trust but verify

Data can generate important business insights and save you time and effort—but every system needs oversight.

Let’s say your employees use an app like Branch or Earnin, where they can cash in the portion of the paycheck they’ve already earned before their regularly scheduled paycheck gets deposited. Typically, those apps verify their working hours by using their cell phone GPS to prove that they were in the restaurant for the time they claimed. 

Now, let’s say a particularly studious employee has been staying in the store for a couple of hours after every shift to study for schoolbut they’re not working anymore. While these apps are excellent and convenient tools, they are not perfectly accurate unless they’re integrated with your scheduling software. So, they might be tracking time for non-work time spent in the store.

If your employees use one of these apps, you should be regularly checking your scheduling data to make sure it lines up with how much your employees are getting via payrollotherwise, you could be losing money that could get hard to track down the line.

Restaurant data can make your life much easier, but verify that it’s accurate by doing periodic manual audits to make sure it’s behaving the way you expect it to.

Many restaurant software solutions can help you sift through your restaurant data to find actionable insights to use. And the best part is, you may already have these tools at your disposal. Stop sifting through countless rows of spreadsheets and let your data management software do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on using your findings to improve your restaurant.

Don Kreye is the Director of Partnerships at Delaget, Inc. Don Kreye has over 25 years’ experience in sales and marketing leadership roles in the service and software industries.  His experience in creating value added partnerships with clients and partner organizations has resulted in over $75M in new revenue for the organizations he represents. Delaget specializes in helping restaurant owners run more profitable operations by making it easy for them to access all their key performance metrics in one place. Delaget does this by bringing together data from the POS, BOH, customer survey, drive thru, and other operational systems into one, drillable dashboard.

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