From sales to loss prevention, this new approach to data analytics is making restaurants more efficient.

For quick-service restaurants, an increasing amount of data is available to help businesses better determine how to best manage their resources. But bringing all of that data into one data analytics tool can be difficult, and accessing various systems eats into leaders’ valuable time. This is especially challenging in today’s restaurant environment when operators are managing so many revenue streams.

Many restaurants now allow customers to order in any of an ever-growing number of ways—call-in, online ordering, mobile phone apps, smart watches, tabletop tablets, and kiosks—to provide a seamless customer experience that encourages customers to access the restaurant on their own terms. Yet with so many touchpoints and so many third-party platforms entering the restaurant space, it is difficult for restaurants to keep up.

Derek Rodner, vice president of product at Agilence, says restaurants face challenges in trying to make the most of the data they are given from a multitude of sources, especially when brands partner with third-party ordering platforms, such as Uber Eats, online ordering, or a mobile app. Without an analytics solution that looks at all of a business’ data streams, restaurants have no way of determining sales trends or what solutions are working best for them. Agilence, however, breaks down the barriers between company- and partner-owned resources.

“Because of all the different data sources coming in to foodservice establishments, restaurant operators don’t always have easy access to all of their business data,” Rodner says. “Our software brings the data from across those channels together so they can analyze everything from one spot.”

Vertical-focused data analytics solutions that compile information from various systems, like Agilence, can help restaurants glean actionable insights from data across many different departments, like the performance of loyalty programs, customer frequency, and meals by channel, all in one system. Leaders throughout the organization can use these insights to make more informed decisions. Additionally, with data gathered from software for other departments, such as operations, marketing, or loss prevention, managers are given new ways of looking at their restaurants and can find new ways to optimize.

For example, Agilence doesn’t just compile POS data—it allows leaders to drill down in the data across channels to learn which employees are upselling and increasing margins and which are not. This allows them to determine where they need to do more training to increase check size.

“We can look at data by location, by employee, by check size, and determine from them which ones are doing well at upselling and which ones aren’t,” Rodner says. “We can even use the data to look at tables and checks to assess individual item performance. By combing through these variables, management can determine the best item to pair with something else—like serving roasted green beans with a steak instead of roasted asparagus—that would increase their margin.”

Tracking checks and other payment methods can also help businesses quickly identify potential sources of loss and give managers added security.

“We can track employee meal abuses, senior discount abuses, and even when employees charge an order and then cancel parts of it to bring the price down,” Rodner says. “Gift card theft is becoming more prevalent. Folks will come in with a stolen credit card and buy gift cards that they can use immediately. In the past, the onus was on the restaurant to prove that it was theft. With vertical analytics, the restaurant can determine whether or not the credit card was stolen, and if it is, immediately deactivate the gift cards.”

Companies can see an almost immediate return on investment with data analytics, Rodner says.

“In every single case, our customers have identified anomalies in their data to find losses or profit leaks that are eye-opening,” he says. “Vertical data analytics—in this case a business intelligence solution with a restaurant-focus—democratizes data by empowering everyone within the restaurant to have access to all of their data and to make those decisions that will improve the restaurant’s bottom line.”

By Liz Carey

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