When dreaming up a new restaurant concept, it is fun to focus time and energy on what the menu will look like, research what aesthetic will look best, and figure out ways to make you stand out and draw in customers. While these are all very important and definitely worthy of your time and attention, you also want to be sure that you have a plan for how you will collect sales, labor and inventory data for your business. Knowing numbers might not seem like a lot of fun, but will serve you well when trying to run a successful restaurant.
Last week we touched on being set for success and the importance of forecasting and budgeting. This week we dive deeper into what exactly you need to be tracking and how you can efficiently get this done without adding hours to your work day. Be sure you are keeping your eye on the following data:
- Busiest time of the day and day of the week your restaurant is generating the most sales
- Top selling menu items and least selling
- When it comes to food cost, know the variance between actual usage and ideal costs.
- Total sales generated on a daily, weekly and monthly basis
- Detailed plate costing
- Labor performance
At this point you might be thinking, woah! That’s a lot of information to keep track of. I know it seems like a lot to tackle, but when you utilize a back-office software system, it is not as overwhelming as it might first come across. All of these reports can link directly to your POS system and generate a report for you as often as you need. With a few clicks, you can easily pull up yesterday’s reports and compare it to the same day a year before. If you have multiple stores, you can even do a side by side comparison of each store.
Of course, all of this data will do you no good if you don’t take action with the information that you have gained. Be sure you are regularly checking reports and making necessary adjustments to increase profits and make the most of what your restaurant has to offer. If business is slow during certain hours, make adjustments to labor numbers. Make strategic menu changes when you notice that something is not performing well or when deciding to bring back a dish you served last year and use the data to help personalize the dining experience to better serve your customers. Whether you are a new restaurant with a few employees or have been in business for a few years with multiple locations, a back-office software system is going to save you time and money and give you access to information that your restaurant needs to be successful now and in the future.