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Big Data for Restaurants: 5 Opportunities for Operators

What is Big Data? The term “Big Data” has received a lot of hype over the past few years and the conversation isn’t slowing down. Customers are using technology like never before to do almost everything in their daily lives, giving businesses a unique opportunity to leverage these insights to improve their business and customer […]

What is Big Data?

The term “Big Data” has received a lot of hype over the past few years and the conversation isn’t slowing down. Customers are using technology like never before to do almost everything in their daily lives, giving businesses a unique opportunity to leverage these insights to improve their business and customer service.

Literally speaking, Big Data refers to the large amounts of data generated in today’s technology driven world. When people refer to Big Data, they are talking about the process of collecting, processing, analyzing and delivering data (as information) to stakeholders.

While power is certainly good, performance is a crucial competitive advantage. Big data makes it possible to turn information into actionable insights that deliver a deeper understanding into business analytics. Armed with real-time data, every person in the operation has the opportunity to make more informed decisions that positively impact both performance and productivity.

In the past, platforms powerful enough to crunch limitless amounts of data were reserved for large organizations with large extra large budgets and even bigger IT departments. But thanks to the big data movement and the technology built to interpret it, the landscape is changing, giving regional chains and small, independent restaurants similar opportunities for a fraction of the cost.

Let’s face it: Knowledge is Power.

Operator Opportunity #1:

Increase Sales Using External Data

While your restaurant is collecting scheduling data, payroll data, sales and inventory data, there’s a ton of external data being generated outside the restaurant’s ecosystem that’s equally important. It’s the hourly brand sentiment collected through social media, recent reviews on Yelp, the latest weather report, traffic reports and more.

In-store data and near-store data are explicitly connected. The ability to combine the two can crack open untold amounts of insights that can directly impact the bottom line.

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Keeping pace with the pace of change, means operators need data and they need it now. They also need data to help predict what they should do next.

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Operator Challenge #2:

Get Automated, Actionable Data

Restaurants run at the speed of light. In a matter of minutes staff could go from serving one customer to managing a long line out the door. Keeping pace with the pace of change, means operators need data and they need it now. They also need data to help predict what they should do next.

Big data delivered in a real time can provide the insight necessary for managers to be dynamic in their approach to managing their restaurants. Now imagine a scenario where technology collects the data, analyzes it and then creates a list of action items for managers to tackle or assign to staff members.

Operator Challenge #3:

Increase Efficiency By Integrating Systems

Restaurants use a lot of different systems. Larger franchises may even have 10 or more software vendors on their payroll. There’s the POS system, scheduling software, HRMS, payroll, etc. Separately, they collect data for a specific arm of the business and independently they can certainly provide valuable insights. What if these systems were connected?

With all that data in one central hub, restaurants can connect existing assets, look for new opportunities, and uncover a digital goldmine of analytics that could lead to new reports or data models that could expose potential pitfalls or opportunities.

Operator Opportunity #4:

Get Configurable and Customized Insights

Every operation has a different way of doing business. Even restaurants in similar industry segments have different internal systems, revenue models, or unique ways of compensating team members or working with suppliers.

The power of big data makes it easy for operators to combine standard industry measurements with their unique models to configure reports and receive customized insights.

Operator Opportunity #5:

Provide Personalized Guest Experience

Consumer demand has more clout than ever. Millennials know what they want and restaurants are pushing hard on every single department of the operation to keep up.

The perception of food has also changed. Today’s guests see the food they eat and the restaurants they choose to dine at as a reflection of their own personality and point of view.

Operators tapping into this shift are the ones gaining the competitive edge. Personalizing the dining experience, the marketing, the technology, and providing food that consumers “feel good about” results in loyalty. And consistent loyalty is a straight shot to their pocketbooks.

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