Lucrative data for the hospitality industry: 4 applications for the workplace

4 Aug 2023
Reading time 3 min

How can you use data to improve the performance of your business (turnover, personnel, purchasing and concept)? We asked Alexandra Fulea, co-owner of Business Intelligence software YourBI.

Data is a magic word. But many hospitality entrepreneurs do not know how to start when it comes to analyzing and interpreting data. The good news: you can start step by step. “Monitoring sales data from your cash register system or the monthly profit and loss report from your accounting package already provides immediate insights. Initially, you compare the development of your turnover over several days, multiple locations or seasons. With this you can already make predictions for next year. For example, how many staff you have to deploy during the summer season.

Know that by creating systems that bring all data together, you get an integrated perspective of your company. By connecting your cash register system to your personnel planning tool, kitchen software, stock management and accounting software, you can better understand, explain and translate processes into concrete actions on the shop floor. Your “problem areas” determine where you want to focus in terms of content.

1) Using data for your revenue

Why is my revenue lower than my goal? The answer may be: less guests or a lower average spend per guest. How many products do you have to upsell to increase that average spend? That's an example question that business intelligence software can answer. Then it is your turn as an entrepreneur. By providing upsell training to your staff and making sales suggestions, more drinks can be sold or that sandwich as a starter beforehand. If you turn it into a game, you notice that employees are intrinsically motivated and really go for it.

2) Using data for your staff

Why is my payroll percentage higher than my goal? The answer may be: a lower turnover, whether or not combined with too many hours worked and/or a higher average hourly wage. By using data, the tight scheduling of your staff can be given a boost. Based on your turnover budget and target productivity, you can already see how many hours you can budget wisely for each department while planning. This way you proactively know that 2 hours less can be used, so that it does not turn out afterwards that you have misjudged situations.

Example: between 14:00 and 15:00 I expect to make €500 food turnover. With a target productivity of € 100 I come to 5 employees for the kitchen. This roster suggestion is then compared with the number of planned hours from the personnel software. If 6 employees are scheduled there, you will receive a message that the target productivity cannot be achieved. In this way, a company manager can proactively optimize personnel planning. Disclaimer: of course you should not be blinded by this and take into account things such as mise-en-place, opening and closing activities. That said, this data-driven method forces you to take a critical look at your processes and improve them where possible. You can see exactly how much the 6th staff hour between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM will cost you on a weekly basis.

Insights from data that your POS system collects per employee can also be used to personally coach your staff and improve performance. Think of data such as the average transaction value, best-selling items and patio sales.

3) Using data for purchasing

You often see afterwards that your purchase percentage is too high. Why is the redemption percentage higher than the target? The answer can be anything: too much waste, incorrect portioning, loss. By comparing insights from sales trends (applied products) with the actual consumption per ingredient (initial stock + purchasing - final stock), you get indicators where the problems lie. A purchasing difference of 5% is often caused by 5 to 10 ingredients. By monitoring these ingredients as a team and purchasing them better, you can minimize purchasing differences in a targeted manner. This not only ensures less waste and grip on your margins, but also saves time. Your kitchen brigade spends less time counting and ordering and can focus on the mise-en-place, or the core activities in the kitchen.

You can go as far as you want. If you manage your purchasing in a stock management system and link it to other systems, you can register everything down to the ingredient level. You can analyze portion sizes by comparing purchased ingredients with sold dishes. Data also helps you to make strategic choices when purchasing does not match scalability or rapid growth.

4) Using data for your concept

Data encourages you to look at your concept with a different mindset. This way you can set up experiments to tweak your concept. Suppose that your catering group includes several concepts, then depending on the audience and crowds, you can choose which concept can work most successfully at a location. Data can also feed the decision to change your culinary formula if it turns out that your margins are not good. And you can choose from à la carte to shared dining. Or from all inclusive to pay per round.”

One last tip: “If you don't integrate different systems properly, that's very inconvenient. Reliable integrations are essential to make good use of the possibilities of data and business intelligence. If you use the cash register system booq POS and staff planner software booq Staffplanner, then you're in the right place anyway. Data is always valid and complete. And that gives confidence!”

Bar/Kitchen Manager

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