8 Ways Restaurant Data Analytics Can Grow Your Business

5 min read

Mar 6, 2024

8 Ways Restaurant Data Analytics Can Grow Your Business

In the era of big data, analytics are critical to running and scaling in the restaurant industry. The competition is fierce, and the only way to succeed is to keep customer satisfaction at the heart of your business model. More often than not, restaurateurs have more data available than they know what to do with. But that data becomes useless if you don’t leverage its full potential to improve your business.

Let’s discuss the benefits of leaning into restaurant data analytics and ways you can leverage it to enhance the customer experience.

What Is Restaurant Analytics?

In its most basic form, restaurant analytics is a method for using all the data your restaurant has and turning it into actionable insights. Analytics goes much deeper than “reporting” because it tells a more detailed story about why certain aspects of your business are thriving (or not thriving). 

You can use restaurant analytics to answer almost any question you may have about the status of your business, such as:

Which payment method is most popular with my guests
How much food are we wasting each week?
Is my restaurant properly staffed on busy weekends? Are we overstaffed on Mondays?
What is my best-selling dish? Which menu item costs the most to prepare?
Who are my most loyal guests?
What discounts and marketing campaigns resonate most with my loyalty members?
How do the demographics differ across my locations?

Put simply, if you can measure it, you can answer it, act on it and optimize it. 

Of course, technology hardly replaces human experience — the wisdom of your experience is often just as valuable when making business decisions. Point of sale and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are meant to work in tandem with human intuition. When used together, you unlock insights you wouldn’t get otherwise. These measurable data points inform your staffing, food ordering, menu design and restaurant layout, all of which are key elements of an inspired customer experience. 

The Benefits of Restaurant Data Analytics

Data analytics has the power to transform a restaurant in many ways by providing insights on how to foster deeper guest relationships and become more profitable.

Guest experience: Track customer behavior and preferences to personalize recommendations, target marketing efforts, and offer discounts and upsells more effectively.
Pricing and profits: Set competitive prices and adjust them according to demand, competing venues, location and the macroeconomy.
Operations: Assess inventory levels, food waste and staff performance. Then, make the necessary changes to improve efficiency and cut costs. 

8 Ways to Use Data Analytics to Drive Revenue 

Customer data is everywhere — you just need to know where to look. Read on to discover eight ways you can find and apply restaurant data analytics to drive revenue and make operations more efficient.

Improve Customer Experience

When you leverage a robust hospitality CRM to collect guest data from reservations and online orders, you gain access to information that helps you better understand your guests and how best to serve them. Think dining preferences, special dates like birthdays and anniversaries, and dietary restrictions. And by integrating your POS system, you can layer in even more data like order preferences and spend history. 

Using this data, you can deliver unexpected special touches that help your FOH team make a lasting impression, like offering a complimentary, favorite glass of champagne or securing a guest’s preferred corner booth in the back. 

Target Marketing Efforts

With restaurant data analytics, you can ensure your marketing efforts generate a profitable return. 

Email marketing campaigns. Reference your data to apply guest tags and segments to your customer base in your CRM. By segmenting guests, you can better tailor email and text marketing efforts according to their preferences, increasing the likelihood of conversion when you send event invites, loyalty program offers, and discounts.
Target the right audience on social media. Facebook and Instagram, for example, gather demographic, interest and behavioral information about your followers. When you combine social analytics with the insights gleaned from your CRM, you can create lookalike audiences that are most likely to be interested in your restaurant. For example, Applejack Hospitality pulls data from social analytics, their SevenRooms CRM, and competitor research to hyper-target their audience on social, via email, and over text.
Assess the effectiveness of your booking channels. Understand where your covers come from and how they found you to determine where to focus your efforts next. Data might tell you that more people find you via Google than Instagram. Or, it may highlight how much you’re spending on reservations made through third-party booking sites.

Vandal restaurant in Sydney, Australia, saw a 30% growth on social media and a huge spike in engagement rates on Instagram through targeted marketing efforts after their guest data tracked in the SevenRooms CRM uncovered the restaurant’s true audience demographics.

Create a Loyalty Program

A loyal following does wonders for your bottom line. Creating a profitable loyalty program requires knowing who your guests are and what they want so you can personalize their journey. 

Leverage the guest data housed in your CRM to identify repeat guests and their dining preferences. 

As they make reservations and dine with you over time, you can offer birthday perks, anniversary promotions, referral bonuses, priority seating and other benefits reserved for VIPs only. 

Turn More Tables 

In a turbulent economy, simply filling tables is no longer enough. Restaurant businesses need adaptable strategies to not only put butts in seats but maximize every cover. With a data-driven approach to restaurant management, your CRM can give you a better understanding of what you need to do to sell the right seat to the right customer for the right amount of time. 

For example, if your average turn time for a two-top is 90 minutes, but your reservation timeslots are in two-hour windows, your dashboards can highlight these inefficiencies and allow you to adjust accordingly.

Pro Tip

SevenRooms’ table management system helps you generate the most revenue for each shift, according to demand. Its automated seating algorithm reviews over 10,000 combinations per second to maximize your seating potential during your busiest and slowest times.

Manage Labor Costs

The restaurant industry continues to struggle with high turnover rates. To find and retain talent, you can leverage your POS system and/or staff management apps like Lightspeed and 7Shifts to identify slower shifts and peak times and see exactly how much staff you’ll need, and when. 

Then, dig a little deeper to evaluate your staff performance. Reward top performers, see who shows up to work on time most consistently, who drops the most shifts, who generates the most revenue, asks for the most time off, etc. This information can help you determine who to promote, who needs extra training and who to replace, ultimately reducing labor expenses and increasing profit margins.

Minimize Food Waste

Your cloud-based POS system can be a powerful tool for restaurant reporting, too. By accessing data in real-time, restaurant owners can easily track the status of food supplies, change inventories and adjust shipping schedules. These forecasting insights are key for reducing food costs and optimizing inventory management because you’ll lower your chances of overbuying ingredients.

Optimize Menus

Restaurant profit margins are notoriously slim, so it’s important to create a menu pricing strategy that doesn’t alienate your desired clientele. Not every dish is good for business.

By studying sales data, you can better understand what customers are ordering, how much they’re spending and what dishes make you the most money. When combined with customer feedback analysis, you can adjust your menu to ensure guests have a variety of options to choose from.

If you have multiple locations, data can help you create a seamless customer experience across all your restaurants. Information-rich guest profiles allow your team to treat guests like regulars at every location — like accommodating a gluten allergy for the guest who dines at your New York and Los Angeles locations. 

More importantly, you can identify overarching reservation patterns and sales trends by looking at data in a consolidated database, like a CRM. By understanding the data, you can better allocate resources (both human and financial) to improve profitability. For example, analytics can uncover if a menu item is more popular in one location than another, enabling you to create custom promotions across all venues.

Restaurant Data Analytics In Action

When Solotel onboarded with SevenRooms, they consolidated data across 26 venues, unlocking key performance insights previously unavailable to them. Learn how the Solotel team identified profitable upsell opportunities by looking at restaurant analytics that generated over $120,000 AUD in incremental revenue in the first half of 2023. 

In such a competitive industry, any tool that provides restaurants with an advantage is worth exploring. SevenRooms’ robust hospitality CRM, revenue management and data analytics features were built with restaurants in mind, unlocking ways for data-driven operators to customize experiences, market intentionally and maximize efficiency. Book a demo today.

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