Did you spend hours this week with spreadsheets, working out whether your restaurant had a good or bad week? OK – but what did you do after that?
If the numbers turned out to be good, it’s easy to think: “Well, we must be getting something right.” But instead, you should be using that data to set goals that will ensure that success for the days and months ahead.
If you want to get a true picture of your restaurant sales and use it to build your business, you really need to develop a thoroughly data-driven approach, with key performance metrics integral to the process.
A good restaurant pos system lets you be specific with your analytics – for instance, down to ingredient level. It means you can identify precisely which parts of your business are boosting your profits and which need a boost themselves.
And using purpose-built software is a far quicker and more efficient way to spend your time than checking charts to come up with the same answer.
In these tricky times for restaurateurs, it’s helpful to keep a focus on the elements you can control. So we’ve come up with workable targets you can set to improve your restaurant KPIs.
Your 5 great goals for better restaurant operations
1. I’m going to increase my monthly net sales.
Net restaurant sales are the basis of all of your analytics, and the key to your success. A restaurant pos system will capture the data accurately in real time and – crucially – give you access to the reports and figures online from anywhere, at any time.
Calculating net sales (gross sales minus discounts) is a pain if you need to go and find yesterday’s receipts to do it. The pos system, with its access-anywhere online ability, keeps the paperwork at a minimum and allows you to spend more time focusing on how to improve business.
Tip: Set goals to increase your net sales month over month by using current and historic data from your restaurant pos system – this will reveal exactly how seasonality and other factors affect your business.
2. I’m going to increase my daily net sales.
A closer look at your daily net restaurant sales can show where you can give sales a boost, and also identifies promotions that work so you can repeat them.
As an example, say your restaurant tries a one-off weekend promotion, closely targeted to key customers thanks to data on their preferences captured by your restaurant pos system.
It works – the pos system shows exactly how much extra income it has generated. As a result, you decide to run the promotion once a quarter.
Tip: Good instincts are essential, but robust data takes any guesswork out of making operational decisions.
3. I’m going to improve my revenue streams.
Great food, great service – the keys to any restaurant success. But are you making the most of other restaurant streams?
In a 2019 survey nearly eight in ten restaurateurs said loyalty programmes were important to creating a good guest experience. They reward guests who come back again and again, and help build a warm two-way relationship with customers.
Gift cards, too, are a useful revenue stream. People will buy them for regular guests who appreciate your restaurant, but regulars will also treat their friends, bringing in new guests who may have never tried your food before.
Tip: Running an effective loyalty and gift card scheme is simple with a restaurant pos system, which provides data so you can tailor offers and makes it easy to track gift card usage.
4. I’m going to sell more of my most popular dishes.
Today’s ‘menu engineering’ helps restaurateurs use data to set menu pricing and decide on content and even design. It allow you to identify which dishes sell best, and which make the most profit, and making sure you get them in front of more guests.
Menu engineering can be done manually, through working out food cost percentages and other factors including dish popularity and contribution margin, but it’s a bit laborious. On the other hand, a restaurant pos system will do it effortlessly, every day, and provide dashboards and reports full of usable information to guide you.
For example, you can use menu engineering based on data to move a lower cost, higher margin item to a more prominent position where it will capture more attention and orders.
Tip: Menu engineering is clever and effective, but technology is a better and less time-consuming way to get the benefits.
5. I want to understand how well new menu items are working.
Every new menu item represents an investment in time, expertise and ingredients, and you need to see how it performs against the rest of your dishes.
With a restaurant pos system, it’s easy to calculate the net sales – on average – of each menu item. So it’s simple to add a dish, monitor it and see if the results are what you want.
Tip: This kind of analysis also identifies popular modifiers that guests are ordering, which can provide ideas for new dishes.
In these difficult times, business can be highly variable and it might seem like pie in the sky to set goals to boost it.
But restaurant management technology such as Aloha by NFS can not only grab you the data that shows the way ahead, but also helps you streamline operations and control costs such as labour and stock.
Add that to the enhanced guest experience you’re able to offer, and the targeted marketing, and it means that in the most competitive conditions the industry has seen in years, you are already ahead of the game.
* Discover more about the benefits of the Aloha restaurant pos system: