It's Wednesday. How do you tell what Saturday's weather will be?

  • Some folks look at the sky, put a wet finger in the air, and say "I don't feel any rain coming." Accurate for that minute, but not four days away.
  • Some consult their journals, reading what the weather was like on that day of the year for as many years as they can go back. That gets a little closer. But only a very little.
  • Some read a five-day forecast in the paper or online. Those forecasts are based on all available data and technologies: historical analysis, numerical analysis, probability theory, and so on. Here you get the best predictions.

Now, let's turn our attention to your restaurant.

It's Wednesday. How do you tell what Saturday's revenue will be?

Here, the approaches are much the same as for the weather. Some managers "just know" they'll do more on Saturday than Wednesday. Others can look back at their production reports for the same day of the year and get closer to a valid sales forecast. (But only a very little.)

And some turn to the advanced forecasting analytics that come with their POS system—if their POS provides it.

These restaurant sales forecasts are based on analyses of history, inventory, labor, promotions, and even current conditions (like weather, construction, or competition). Now the sales forecast grows beyond "we generally do something like $21,000 on Saturdays" into something like this:

“We expect to do X percent historically in late June on Saturdays. But they're doing road construction in front of Down the Street Cafe, which will bring us another Y percent. We'll sell just a little quiche and a lot of burgers and pasta. Our peak will start at 8 and will slow by 10:30. We'll see about 15 percent of registered Loyalty customers—of those, 2 percent will be redeeming a reward.”

With that information (and more), you can make the accurate operational decisions that maximize profitability. From how many eggs and patties to buy, to how many chefs and servers, to the number of loyalty program card blanks you have in stock. Getting sales forecasts right minimizes waste, optimizes schedules, strengthens marketing efforts . . . getting it right helps grow the bottom line.

This kind of forecasting is built into every operational module of Maitre'D POS. We've published a white paper on the subject titled Rain with a Chance of Profit that takes a deeper look into sales forecasting methods and the practical value of using your POS analytics to drive accurate, scientific forecasts. 

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