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New Restaurant Analytics Report: Brands Prioritize Labor Forecasting, Better Visibility into Data

New business intelligence research from over 10K operators reveals growing trends in restaurant systems integration and big data.

Restaurant analytics is a top priority in the industry, but operators have a technology problem. On average, restaurants have deployed 10 to 30 different technologies to operate their stores — including everything from point-of-sale to accounting software to staff training. Yet, 40 percent are hamstrung by a lack of systems integration. And 82 percent recognize they’re missing the benefits of effective data flow between systems and apps.

These are just a few of the many insights gained from a recent study of restaurants and big data conducted by Hospitality Technology and HotSchedules. For this study, researchers surveyed 10,000 restaurants to identify the leading big data trends driving restaurant success and the challenges holding them back.

The report, Building an Insight-Enabled Infrastructure — How Restaurants Seek and Find ROI (Return on Insight) from Big Data, revealed dozens of big insights, including the leading data points viewed as key performance indicators (KPIs), the top value of system integration, the leading challenges restaurants face in integrating restaurant systems, and more.

With this report, restaurants can move towards understanding the value of integrating their many systems and apps. It reveals how they can gain actionable insights, efficiencies, and business growth from an integrated and centralized flow of data.

HotSchedules & Hospitality Technology’s Research Findings

Integrations will Drive Impact; Food and Labor Restaurant KPIs Remain Center Stage

The exclusive industry research presents one overarching conclusion: Integrated systems, holistic views of big data, and actionable, data-driven insights are driving the future of restaurants’ success — from better guest relations to higher sales.

Restaurant operators want “actionable ways to turn data into insights that are meaningful to managers and can have real impact on the business,” according to the report. They believe that “efficient use of data and insights yields innumerable benefits, from employee satisfaction to accurately forecasted sales and staffing levels.”

In order to use that data to its full potential, restaurants see analytics as a major goal for their technology investments. But these investments require restaurants to have a “holistic view of data,” according to the report. “Without appropriate integrations and reporting, siloed nuggets of information will not yield the potential bounty.” Integrated restaurant systems afford operators that holistic view, turning disparate data points into usable information.

“Restaurants are in need of a central source of truth,” says David Cantu, HotSchedules co-founder and chief customer officer. “But a great business intelligence and reporting tool isn’t enough. The data has to drive decision-making in an actionable way. Ultimately, it has to be interwoven into the daily store workflow and back-of-house operations.”

The Return on Insights report yields dozens of insights into how restaurants approach data analytics and the integration challenges ahead. Below, we examine the five insights you can’t miss.

Big Insight 1 — Restaurants Have Too Many Systems

Restaurants are burdened by increasingly complex technology stacks. They’ve reached companies rely on to run all aspects of the business and act as portals through which to siphon invaluable data and insights.

  • 53% of restaurants surveyed confess to operating with more than 10 tech systems
  • 7% of restaurants said they have more 30 systems

Big Insight 2 — Fragmented Technology is Hindering Business Performance

When it comes to data analytics, 40% of restaurants are most hamstrung by a lack of integration between their systems. The dilemma with disparate systems stands above other challenges, according to the report.

Big Insight 3 — Restaurants Need Better Data and Analytics Visibility

“Gaining visibility to data is named a top benefit of integrated systems for 62% of restaurants,” according to the report.

To evaluate the analytics that restaurants prioritize, operators were asked to rate insights by their value to an organization. Overwhelmingly, restaurants see the greatest worth in keeping labor in balance — 89% of respondents say that labor percentage data is mostly or totally valuable.

Big Insight 4 — Operators Reveal the Most Important Restaurant KPIs

Successful restaurant brands place great importance on key performance indicators, or KPIs — benchmarks that they can measure themselves against. According to the Hospitality Technology report, operators are putting great emphasis on three key areas when looking at their data:

  • Sales forecast (60%)
  • Food variance (20%)
  • Voids (20%)

Big Insight 5 — Restaurants Believe in the Benefits of Integrations

Operators were asked to identify the biggest advantage they expect to realize if, and when, their restaurant systems are integrated. By a fair margin, operators perceive greatest gains in efficiency, with 82% crediting “effective data flow between systems as a timesaver for managers.”

“Those that can move the needle to be totally satisfied with insights and visibility to data will be the ones that survive and thrive,” the report states.

For example, with integrated tech stacks and centralized data flow, restaurants can extract high-impact staffing and inventory forecasts.

“At the heart of a great customer experience is a scheduling and labor management program driven by an accurate forecast,” says Mary Hamill, HotSchedules Vice President of Sales Solutions. “Forecasts remove uncertainty from the financial planning and analysis process. It also simplifies scheduling for managers, providing a blueprint that benefits the bottom line.”

To achieve all of the advantages of integrated technologies and centralized data flow, restaurants need to evaluate their tech stacks and create an integrated efficient structure, according to Cantu. “Restaurants and technology partners need to work together to effectively integrate data, so that it can be centrally managed and leveraged by corporate departments to develop strategies and influence profitable and productive decision-making at the store level.”

Do you want even more insights? Of course you do.

Download the full Return on Insight report now!

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