reporting functions

Reporting functions: Restaurants’ unsung hero

By Mo Chaar

The restaurant industry has faced several setbacks over the past year and is still fighting for survival. Pursuing expansion across regions can seem like an impossible task in the current climate. However, there is a facet of restaurant operations that is typically underutilized and can aid growth – reporting functions for data analysis.

Having a deeper insight into business operations and what is resonating with a restaurant’s consumer base versus what isn’t is an essential part of a restaurant’s success. It offers operators insights into how effectively and efficiently the business is running and to make decisions that impact the bottom line.

The underutilization of reporting functions

While printing high-level reports at the end of the night is a standard practice in most restaurants, the capabilities of reporting and data collection go far beyond that.

Pulling reports can be a time-consuming process for many reasons, one of which is the juggling of multiple systems that require multiple login points for different reports, such as sales, food waste, and labour – making the process highly inefficient, too. Manually keeping track of robust reporting on all the restaurant operations on a consistent basis can be overwhelming, so having a system in place that is able to pull all the reports together at once can help keep reporting centralized and easy to manage.

The power of reporting functions

Once the reports are pulled, it can be difficult to make sense of them and analyze the data in a way that provides value and actionable direction to the business’ operations. As such, it’s also essential to have a system that helps identify trends and highlights important information.

For example, while a total daily sales report can help operators understand where they stand in terms of daily sales targets, it’s far more useful to see the sales in relation to the time of day, to compare food versus alcohol sales, and to shed light on which menu items are most popular. Then, restaurant operators can make decisions such as whether to open earlier or later in the day or reduce/add menu items depending on the sales they generate. 

Reporting functions are also beneficial when it comes to gaining additional insights into inefficiencies and waste in the restaurant as it allows operators to have a full picture of where they might be losing precious dollars. Additionally, having insight into hours worked by employees can help identify areas of inefficiency and provide a cost analysis of labour percentages in relation to the generated sales of the day, week, or month. Reporting functions can also identify wastage in terms of the number of times any given item was discounted on customers’ bills. This provides a look into which menu items are not performing well and may need to be reworked or removed from the menu.

These types of insights allow operators to make data-driven decisions that not only impact the revenue of the restaurant but also guest satisfaction and employee wellbeing.

What to look for

While diving into restaurant reporting can seem like a daunting task, there are a few key reports that operators should be looking for on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Sales reports can be hugely beneficial for the day-to-day operations of the business. An inventory report should be analyzed on a weekly basis at a minimum as it allows operators to see exactly where there is waste in the restaurant through the variance of sales to stock and can help identify any issues of theft. Menu performance reports are best pulled on a monthly basis to allow time to collect enough data on a menu item to determine its performance. Meanwhile, reports on comparing yearly projections and actual targets met provide beneficial data to plan for the following year by helping operators determine which months tend to be slow and which tend to be busy.

New year, new reporting

These examples are just some of the capabilities that many advanced systems offer that provide a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the restaurant. There are many more reporting functions out there, so it’s important to discuss all the options available with their providers to ensure restaurant operators are getting the most out of their systems.

With the year in its infancy, now is the perfect time to analyze the data available and make smart, precise decisions that will generate more revenue, decrease inefficiencies, and provide a better experience for guests in 2022.

Mo Chaar is the Chief Commercial Officer of Givex, where he oversees commercial strategy and development worldwide, including the development of GivexPay, as well as managing sales teams within North America.