How Your Restaurant Can (and Should) Be Using Big Data
Big Data: It’s relevant to every business, no matter what industry or niche you serve. But if you’re in the restaurant business, and you are, data is your key to solving just about any problem you might be having.
For the purpose of conversation, big data is defined across industries as: “Massive sets of raw information which can be analyzed through computational means to uncover patterns, correlations, associations, trends relating particularly to human interactions, behavior, and buying patterns.”
The usefulness of data is virtually unlimited, except insofar as your needs are concerned. When it comes to the restaurant and hospitality industry, our concerns are three-fold.
- How to improve restaurant operations
- How to promote and maintain food safety
- How best to train and onboard new employees
There are a lot of solutions that we can arrive at intuitively and strategically. But by leveraging data, we hope to find hundreds — maybe thousands — of small (or maybe even sometimes not-so-small) inefficiencies. Deal with one inefficiency, and you might save a few dollars, or reduce risk factors by a fraction. That might be worthwhile — and it might not. But what if you could spot thousands of front and back-of-house inefficiencies and remedy all of them with a single restaurant tech-driven process?
Now that could make a big difference to your bottom line!
Many people assume that the restaurant business doesn’t really make the best fit when it comes to getting big benefits from big data, but the fact is that all of the major chains and the most successful brands have been finding out that it’s really a match made in heaven. That’s why we take the time to explain how aggregated digital information can make all the difference in the world when it comes to improving the performance of your restaurant.
Any organization with a product or service to sell can improve sales using external data. In-house data and external data are explicitly connected. By tracking both, you can obtain clear insights on how to respond to external data by altering the way in which you do business. When it comes to tracking trends, responding to the latest science and information, small changes can do a lot.
Amassed computer user data makes it possible for you to analyze every action you take on a minute-by-minute basis. We’re talking about small actions spread out over long hours day after day. If you can manage to bring all of this data together and organize it in such a way as to tell the story of an average day at your establishment, then you’ve got your baseline.
At that point, it’s up to you to sit down and analyze this baseline on a beat-by-beat level, fixing little inefficiencies here and there, until, at the end of your hypothetical day, you’ve saved or earned a nice chunk of change. That’s money that, until now, has been beyond your reach.
Now, take that dollar amount and multiply it by the number of days you do business in a year, and yeah — we think you’ll be on track to buy that vacation home you’ve been thinking about. If that’s not a good investment in advanced restaurant tech, we don’t know what is.
Better Food Safety
Nothing will send a restaurant to its doom faster than a handful of unfortunate food safety incidents. As the owner of a restaurant, you have a building full of potential food poisonings, allergy incidents, choking events, fire hazards, asphyxiation potential. When you think of everything that could go wrong in the back-of-house alone, it makes running a restaurant seem like a bad idea. You’ve got thousands of potential problems/threats all blossoming into a potentially major disaster all at the same time. Give the wrong patron the wrong dish at the wrong time, and you can expect to get sued into the ground and possibly ruin your reputation.
One of the most important things to monitor is freezer temperature. Arm yourself with apps that track freezer temps and prevent food from being stored at the wrong temperature. These same and similar apps can also let you monitor and track food recalls and temperatures at the same time, letting you spot two restaurant killers at once.
But with big data on your side, we finally have a tool that can mitigate all of the thousands of hard-to-track potential harms that we live with every day. This information can tell you, unequivocally, what types of dangers are most prominent for the type of restaurant you run, the part of the country you operate in, and any number of factors that make your risks unique.
You’ll start prioritizing what food safety concerns are looming the largest for you. Not only that, but you’ll learn the best ways to deal with the biggest threats. That means you can stop sweating the details for once and start fixing problems in a targeted way.
Onboarding & Training
When it comes to hiring good people, there’s no tougher industry than the restaurant industry. The good news is data offers solutions even for improving hiring, training, and other staffing practices. Big data has the power to reveal information about an individual applicant or candidate. It also has the ability to give you powerful statistical information you can use to make better, more discriminating hiring choices.
Of course, making smart hiring choices isn’t enough. You also need to monitor the performance of your employees on an ongoing basis. Specialized apps enable you to track the work your employees are doing, and the work they are not doing. This makes it easy for managers to make informed decisions about staffing needs when the time comes to either increase or reduce your crew.
With these resources, you’ll learn more about where your potential new talent is coming from and really leverage information that is totally unintuitive and beyond the reach of any other research tool.
Earlier we talked about using big data to tweak and fine-tune possibly thousands of tiny operational factors at your establishment for the better. Now, sorting all those out is going to be a big job by itself. But implementing them means you’ll have to thoroughly retrain your whole staff. Aggregated digital information can help with that too. You’ll be able to learn what teaching methods are best for your teams, what training tools, times, and presentation types are best for the people on your payroll.
At the End of the Day…
When it comes to the true power of big data to transform the way you do business for the better, we’ve just begun to scratch the surface.
Here at TransAct, making your restaurant perform up to its maximum potential is what we are all about. Get in touch today to learn more about how we, and Big Data, can revolutionize your business.