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Tracking sales daily is obvious, but it shouldn't stop there.

Taking the Pulse on Your Restaurant: Red-Hot or Lackluster?

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Push yourself into the 21st century and get rid of those paper logs outlining to-do lists for employees.
By Ryan Yost January 2019 Expert Insights

Running a full-service restaurant is a lot like running a home—OK, maybe it’s more like running a theme park. As a business owner, you’ve got to track the numbers.

Actually, you should be tracking them every day. Most everyone else is.

Point-of-sale software provider Toast reported in its Restaurant Success in 2018 survey that 78 percent of restaurants (of 800 surveyed) checked their sales data and metrics daily—that’s a 70 percent increase from its 2015 survey.

Operators have always looked at metrics, but today’s technology gives you the advantage of number-crunching every day. That’s important because when you’re looking closely—and often—you’ll know sooner rather than later if your inventory costs are out of control or if there’s demand you’re not meeting. Your business could need life support. Many systems today allow any employee to track numbers—from the server to the general manager. Enlist their help in keeping tabs.

Toast interviewed executive chef Jim Berman at Grain Bar + Kitchen, who said restaurants will live and die by data in the future:

“The availability—and use—of data to drive preparation, sales, marketing, staffing and social media will be the difference in launching brands and languishing brands,” Berman says. “Using media analytics, scheduling targets and POS insight will be the profit percentage points between viability and lethargy.”

Tracking sales daily is obvious; here are two other areas to think about.

Operational Efficiency: Push yourself into the 21st century and get rid of those paper logs outlining to-do lists for employees. Create customizable digital checklists for back-of-house task tracking that employees access through any mobile device or PC. They answer questions in easy-to-use formats—drop-down menus, clicking “yes” or “no” and logging equipment temperature ranges. Cloud-based, the information is stored immediately and available for daily monitoring. If for some reason the information does not get logged, you’ll receive reminders and suggestions for corrective action, helping you assess staff and operational productivity, as well as food safety and compliance.

Equipment and Food Safety: An automated temperature tracking system is a must for coolers, freezers and other refrigeration devices. Not only will the system push alerts out via text and email if temperatures fall outside a designated range, multiple employees can receive notifications, providing ample opportunity to address the malfunction, switch coolers or move food—before it's too late.

Daily tracking of data will also alert you to a slow-building problem with equipment, and the system will send predictive maintenance reminders as well so you can stay on top of things. Best of all, you can easily track this data daily as it’s available 24/7 from your Apple and Android devices as well as from Windows smart devices and PCs.

Cloud-based technology will help you ensure food safety, prevent inventory loss, increase operational oversight and efficiency, schedule maintenance (before you’re in crisis mode) and, most importantly, check the pulse of your business on a regular basis so you can make decisions that are proactive—not reactive. 

Ryan Yost is general manager for the Printer Solutions Division (PSD) for Avery Dennison Corporation. Avery Dennison Printer Solutions responds to the unique challenges of businesses in the food, retail and fulfillment markets. Its solutions are rooted in efficiency, cost savings, food safety and sustainability through intelligent innovations that solve business problems and improve business processes.