48 Percent of Full-Service Restaurateurs Look at Metrics Every Day. Do You?

Courtesy of Toast

New research shows how restaurant operators use technology.

New research shows how restaurant operators use technology.

As a full-service restaurant owner, do you set goals for restaurant sales? How about individual product sales? Or even labor retention rate?

With restaurant management technology becoming more and more prevalent in the full-service restaurant industry, it’s becoming easier for restaurants to run a data-driven business—that is to say, a business driven by the metrics that matter to you.

New research by Toast, Inc. suggests that restaurateurs are gravitating towards specific technology trends: inventory management, online ordering, emailed reports, and more.

What are the biggest challenges restaurateurs face that lead them to search for new solutions?

Rather than make an educated guess, Toast surveyed hundreds of restaurateurs in the industry in the Restaurant Technology in 2015 Industry Report. Who better than restaurant owners, managers, and servers—the people using technology day in and day out—to answer these questions?

Fifty-two percent of survey responses were from owners, managers, and servers at full-service restaurants. Here’s an exclusive view of the main highlights of the report from full-service restaurants.

Most Respondents Check Their Restaurant Metrics Every Day

Most restaurant operators look at their business reports every day, either within their software or within their spreadsheets. Almost half of the industry has a pulse on how their restaurant is operating every day, and interestingly enough, restaurant operators with POS software are even more prone to check their reports every day.

What are the most important restaurant metrics to track? Besides restaurant sales, food cost percentage is undoubtedly a metric every restaurant should be calculating, with an increased focus on inventory management. COGS (cost of goods sold), prime cost, and employee turnover rate are other restaurant performance metrics to track daily. Check out how here.

Peter Christie, former president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, weighed in on this topic: "The restaurant that doesn't have controls is the one that needs them most. The restaurant that has the most controls is the one that needs them least. Controls are a beautiful thing.”

Email is the Preferred Medium for Communicating Updates

When asked how they prefer to get updates about their existing technology (80 percent of full-service restaurants were already using POS software), 71 percent of respondents said that updates should be communicated by email.

We asked this question because we wanted to know how restaurants prefer to have updates to their software and hardware communicated. While many restaurants said they would prefer to hear about updates “in person,” most answered with “email.”

This is interesting data for point-of-sale vendors who are wondering how to communicate updates about the software. Email is the best form of communication, mostly because it’s universal and it can be easily forwarded to others. However, one person wrote in an answer that wasn’t considered; notifications within the hardware itself. This would be an even more streamlined way to learn about updates that technology vendors should consider!

Inventory Management and PCI Compliance Are Musts

We asked restaurateurs to rank 10 different features—from mobile wallet integration to online ordering integration—from 1 to 10. Overwhelmingly, most of them listed inventory management in their top three.

While quick-service restaurants and pizzerias quickly chose online ordering as number two, full-service restaurants instead chose PCI compliance, showing their penchant for security and their heavy reliance on the technology. Full-service restaurants also listed monthly software updates (a feature of software-as-a-service POS systems), as well as integrated loyalty and gift card programs, as other top features they would want to see in an upgrade.

Full-service restaurants want to be able to engineer their menu based on their food cost percentage, variance, and other factors. They want secure payments, so their customers’ credit card information is safe from fraud. And they want the most up-to-date technology.

Can restaurant technology deliver on these features in 2016? Only time will tell.

Check out the full report here, and sign up at the bottom of the report to participate in the survey next year.

Full-Service Restaurant Highlights

  • 69 percent of full-service restaurants are planning to upgrade their technology within the year.

  • 48 percent of full-service restaurateurs look at their business reports and metrics every day.

  • 58 percent of full-service restaurateurs said "advanced functionality" and "ease of use" would be their top reasons for replacing their existing method or software.

  • 47 percent of full-service restaurateurs currently pay for two to five restaurant technology vendors.

  • The top features full-service restaurateurs are looking for in a POS upgrade are: inventory management, PCI compliance, and monthly software updates.

The opinions of contributors are their own. Publication of their writing does not imply endorsement by FSR magazine or Journalistic Inc.

Allison Tetreault

Allison Tetreault is a food writer excited about the future of the restaurant industry—with the elimination of tipping at some restaurants, the migration to cloud-based systems, and the renewed focus on inventory management and menu pricing, it’s a progressive time for restaurateurs. When not reading up on restaurant industry news, she is managing the Toast Restaurant Management blog and creating valuable resources for restaurateurs. She is the Content Strategist for Toast, an all-in-one POS and restaurant management system with online ordering, restaurant loyalty, enterprise management, and more. Follow her on Twitter @aktetreault or LinkedIn or email her at atetreault@toasttab.com.

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