A term like "restaurant data" can mean many different things. Restaurants, regardless of segment, generate untold amounts of data every single hour they're running. As an operator, understanding the types of technology to use to track your data might seem like a full-time responsibility, especially when your restaurant is full-service. Fortunately, we've prepared this list featuring three must-have features your restaurant technology needs to track data in your full-service restaurant. Follow this article for the lowdown on real-time restaurant data, and how to put it to work for you.
As a full-service restaurant, you’ve got to consider both the guest management side of your operation, as well as your kitchen or back-of-house. Before we can even start working with data, we need to talk about the devices we’ve got in place. To collect the most pertinent data to your for your operation, you need technology that can integrate with other parts of your restaurant. For example, a kitchen display system (KDS) that can integrate with your POS and guest management solution. When you’ve got all your technology, and the different stations of your restaurant, working this closely in sync, you create a smart, well-connected restaurant, and obtain a full-bodied picture of your performance.
With your technology working in sync, now you can work to make your restaurant more efficient. Restaurant analytics is the process of breaking down your restaurant processes, whether its guest management or back-of-house efforts, to determine how well you're serving your guests. These metrics, known as “speed of service data” give you a full-bodied glimpse into your restaurant’s performance, like your ticket and table turn times, as well as historical averages.
Ideally, you want restaurant technology which can provide you an easy-to-access, robust portrait on these metrics. With this data, you can make granular improvements to your workflow to improve efficiency and profits. For example, if you pull a report and notice that your speed of service suffers on certain days and times, you can adjust staffing or kitchen preferences to accommodate for it.
Real-Time Order Status and Capacity Management
Your restaurant is a living entity with an energy level that fluctuates. Surely you've seen those busy nights that summon every ounce of your staff's bandwidth and the slow days that can follow. With this in mind, you want restaurant technology which employs data features like real-time order status and capacity management to keep your processes at optimal performance no matter the activity level.
When your technology employs real-time order features, it essentially tracks an order's "journey" from the time a customer places a request through the POS, to the grill and back out onto the floor, carry-out station or delivery. Real-Time order status is what allows many restaurants to keep their customers in the loop, sending SMS updates or a branded "tracker" to show them the stage, to the minute, of their food.
Finally, you need an automated feature in place which can read the real-time data in your kitchen to "throttle" orders appropriately. This process, known as capacity management, is essential in creating an off-premise dining strategy because it can blend the two streams of traffic coming into your restaurant, whether through the door or a delivery widget. Technology with capacity management features will "read" the activity levels of your restaurant to appropriately generate pickup times for off-premise diners. When you find your kitchen slammed with walk-in traffic, a capacity management feature will inflate an off-premise or delivery quote to account for this activity. When your kitchen slows down, these off-premise quotes adjust. You're able to maintain a premier guest experience because they still receive their food fresh, hot and exactly when they expect it, while you still service your walk-in traffic at optimal speed.
A Smart Future
Ultimately, if you're in any segment of the restaurant industry, you need to be utilizing your data. In the full-service sphere, finding tech-solutions to connect your restaurant's front and back-of-house processes, as well as an accessible stable of analytics you can customize, will help you run a more effective, more profitable restaurant.
Lee Leet is the founder, president, and CEO of QSR Automations, a leader in restaurant technology. Since 1996, Leet has driven QSR’s strategy and growth, creating industry solutions and advancing the original company mission of restaurant innovation and empowerment. Under Leet’s leadership, QSR has created ConnectSmart Kitchen, a kitchen automation solution, and DineTime, a guest management platform, to help restaurants efficiently manage their resources, time, staff, and the dining experience. Prior to his role at QSR, Leet served in engineering consulting roles for KFC, successfully leading the team that converted the company’s back-of-house application.