If you saw the recent article in the Guardian about restaurant fails in 2018-2019, you know this happened to established franchises, places that had money to burn. One of the factors that pushed them over the edge was the lack of visibility and centralised management. Decision makers could not tell apart locations that did well from the ones that did diddly squat.
Meaning they did not use any of the advanced management suites available to restaurateurs today.
Now, what would the most important metrics be?
1. Stock pricing
Finding a good, reliable supplier is the first order of business. Purchasing is important as minor changes in pricing can wreck your margin. Treat it lightly and you might be giving away all your ice cream. Inventory management system should come with low stock alerts, supplier invoices, and supplier price change alerts. It would make your job so much easier and faster. One look and you know what to do next.
Once you track your supplier prices, you can put together an attractive and profitable menu, reactive to potential fluctuations. You can balance stock between locations if someplace sells more of an item, than the one just down the road. Pricing corrections across locations, as well as promotions and loyalty are a must. If you see guests like to pair certain items based on their purchase history, create a promotional package deal.
3. Ordering and payments
Nowadays guests like to order themselves and will ask your staff to explain items in detail if they never had them before. It works well, as given time without someone hovering over them, they tend to order more. Top up their wine glasses on the down low. Tracking orders can show you when are your busiest times and your downtimes, so you can manage your staff and better serve your customers. It can show you the dailies, refunds and details into every order or staff member.
4. Inventory management
Get an inventory management system that can track your menu items down to ingredients. Paired with low stock alerts in real time means your stock is keeping itself. You just have to send the orders, preferably from the same interface.
5. Order history
Knowing what your customers like and awarding their visits builds your relationship. Order history can help you make informed suggestions: “Have you enjoyed Croatian Chardonnay I recommended last week? Would you like some? Or something altogether different with your meal?” You could treat them for ever, by creating a specially priced menu with their favourite dishes for two. Maybe just desert, since they’ve spent your weekly taking in one sitting.
You got your trusty supplier, so the dishes are top notch, you know what your customers like, down to a person. If that is not enough to inspire loyalty, you can use all of the data at your disposal to create really efficient promotions, based on customer behaviour and preferences. Combinations are endless.