In order to survive in today’s digital age, you need to use data to empower your business. This is as true for small business owners as it is for big corporations. In fact, as you plan ahead, you need to be thinking of 2020 as much as 2018.
According to the Restaurant Technology in 2017 Report, 78 percent of restaurateurs look at metrics and finances every day via the reports on their modern tools. If you’re already checking metrics, are they the right ones? And if you’re not yet using a POS to help automate and boost efficiency in your restaurant, what are you missing? Here is my pick of the five essential reports to be watching and why:
Sales is the most important data point on your list. But how granular are you getting? Which hours of the day are consistently busy or slow? Can you develop promotions to drive activity during those slow times? According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 77 percent of adults—including 85 percent of millennials—say they would be likely to go to a restaurant during off-peak times if they received a discount. Check the data, then launch specials in the mornings, embrace high tea in the middle of the afternoons, kick off happy hour promos or launch late night promotions. By doing this you’ll be tapping into increasing numbers of people who are looking for ways to eat out for less—and maximizing your profits.
The report The ROI from Marketing to Existing Online Customers by Adobe shows that in the US, 40 percent of revenue comes from repeat or returning purchasers, who in turn represent just eight percent of all visitors. Let those numbers inspire you to thank, reward, and befriend all customers who walk in the door or swing by your website. Rather than throwing all of your marketing dollars at acquiring new customers, turn your existing customers into fans, and your profits will scale far more sustainably.
Employee productivity is a major issue in the restaurant business. It’s a global issue in workplaces across industries—85% of employees in 2017 were not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Hudson Riehle, head of the research and knowledge group at the National Restaurant Association, once explained that restaurants average $84,000 in sales per worker. Grocers on the other hand average $304,000 and gas stations average $855,000. “Going forward, this will have to change,” he concluded. “If you look at the history of labor productivity in the industry, it has not been good.”
The answer isn’t necessarily to hire a fleet of robots. You need to know how productive and engaged your current staff is—and then course correct and tweak operations. A POS helps you track each employee so you can see who are the top sellers, who is upselling the most, and who is making the most mistakes or engaging in unusual behavior. This data helps you reward the productive employees and troubleshoot those who aren’t engaged on the job. (You can also fine tune your own productivity levels while you’re at it).
Entrepreneur.com reports that companies can increase profitability by 50 percent or more with careful inventory management. This is one of the best things about a modern POS system: it gives you the ability to know instantly what is on your shelves, what’s being sold, and what you need more of—and you could do all of this via your cell phone while lying on the beach. Which items are most in danger of falling out of stock? Do you have issues with items going missing? Are there items that have been on your shelves for too long—and can you come up with a special promo? Capitalize now on the many benefits of monitoring your inventory with these reports.
You may be right in the midst of designing your Valentine’s Day promo. But how well do your promotions deliver? Are they driving higher sales or quietly sinking the ship? If you’re not sure, you can know instantly by running promotions reports from your POS. This data will become your best friend and it will allow you to innovate. It’ll help you approach your promotions like the saviest modern marketers approach their email campaigns: use your creativity, then constantly test and watch the results of which promos work the best, then run with the campaigns that deliver the best results.