Does Your Restaurant lack Business Intelligence?

14th November 2013
Antique NCR cash register and till: A Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jo Jakeman

Each week, restaurant owners, operators and/or managers do many repetitive and highly manual tasks. For example: creating schedules, ordering inventory, receiving and reconciling orders. They also spend hours reviewing sales data, food costs, labor reports and vacation requests. In many cases, each is on a separate spreadsheet and saved on an office computer. Most managers we speak with admit with having 5-10 different spreadsheets to track and access the information they need to do their job.

We usually hear, “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “it’s my system”.

There is a better way.

In other industries, the concept of inputting and calculating key business data on separate spreadsheets would seem absurd. Other multi-million dollar businesses use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms* as the hub for all information and activity. In some cases, larger organizations also use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage scheduling, goal setting, review performance, order and track inventory and monitor sales and billing. And, an increasing majority of these systems are cloud based – ensuring scalability, mobility and security.

Companies operating restaurants or multiple restaurants, franchises and brands are multi-million dollar businesses. It’s time to start leveraging technology to increase access and share data in real-time; to improve business processes and create a “single source of truth” for the organization.

What is your “single source of truth”?

For example, at LIVELENZ we pay monthly subscription fees to manage our customer information, support platform, email, marketing and even hosting our website. All of these services are cloud-based and are all integrated. Reporting can be done in one platform; it’s accessible from anywhere, and our leadership team all see the same, up-to-the-minute, data for sales, customer support, marketing activity, sales pipeline, website traffic and employee information.

As a restaurant or multi-unit owner/operator (or manager), do you have that same ability? From a single source, can you see real-time information on food costs, inventory, staff schedules and year over year sales comparisons? Can you tell if your individual restaurants are meeting or exceeding their sales goals or over budget on something?

In many cases, multi-unit restaurant owners simply cannot do it. Quite often, they are running legacy or different POS systems at their locations. For example: we have worked with an owner that has three restaurants running two different versions of Aloha, another two running Squirrel and three other locations running a franchisor-mandated POS system. There are now products that can solve the mismatched data and reporting problems of multiple POS systems. Even better – you don’t have to be physically at the restaurant to access the data.

Throw out your spreadsheets! It’s time to start working smarter and harness the power of Business Intelligence.

What software helps you run your business? What information can’t you live without. Let us know below.


*Full disclosure: Several LIVELENZ employees are former CRM employees

Chief Operating Officer at LIVELENZ. Greg began working part-time in restaurants when he was 15 and continued in the industry for a decade. He then began working for technology companies developing a passion for improving operational efficiencies at fast-growing organizations.

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