There is no crystal ball to help you run a restaurant. While we crave a glimpse of the future, restaurateurs must operate with the best thing: forecasts and reports.
With the disruption that has swept through the restaurant industry over the past two years, many operators may feel overwhelmed as they struggle to rein in food and labor costs, continue to deploy digital initiatives and adapt to changing restaurant preferences. Luckily, there’s a way to bring your tech stack together and get clear, actionable insights instead of relying on spreadsheets and your instincts.
It’s time to make real restaurant reporting a priority. Move away from traditional reporting, where you get unit-level information rolled up into regional reports, ultimately sent to the business three or four weeks later. Instead, you need to head to a single database for brand-wide information. With an integrated technology stack, you can see all the details you want in one place.
Good reporting not only helps you identify issues, such as errors, thefts, or employee inaccuracies, but it can also highlight stores that are performing well, allowing you to share best practices across the organization. . Having the right real-time data helps drive the growth you want for your brand.
So what can reporting help you do? Better restaurant reporting helps operators find ways to solve some of the most burning issues they face today.
Identify employee theft
Unfortunately, about 75% of restaurant workers have stolen from their employer at least once. I’ve spoken to brands who had no idea until they implemented better reporting that some ingredients were going out the back door or employees were creating fake pick up orders at the end of the night and brought them home, claiming the meals were never picked up.
Only when you are able to spot these types of discrepancies in inventory, voids, or other areas can you begin to troubleshoot and manage the problem.
Reduce food waste
Ultimately, food waste has the same effect as theft. You always lose money on stocks. Fortunately, solid reports can identify waste issues due to overportions, over-preparation of food, or other issues.
A customer I spoke to told me that after getting an inventory report, he found a location with monthly food costs $1,000 higher than other locations. They went to investigate, assuming it was theft, only to find it was a training issue at that store. Employees grossly overproportioned protein, driving up food costs at this location. With a little retraining, they quickly brought the costs down.
Optimize labor levels
Labor costs are always a concern for restaurateurs, but this poses an increased challenge at this time as labor costs continue to rise. Fortunately, the reports are helping operators meet these challenges, make better use of the manpower they have, and keep costs down at a time when they are skyrocketing in the industry. Using sales forecasts to provide recommended staffing levels allows operators to efficiently assign employees based on need and manage profitability.
Additionally, the company can monitor compliance with local labor laws, such as break times, regulations for minors, and mandatory time between shifts. Your reports should give you real-time insight into your staffing.
Improve employee retention
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that quit rates in the restaurant industry reached 6.8%, compared to an overall rate of 2.9% during the Great Labor Shortage. Operators are trying to meet the challenges of the great resignation by implementing new benefits, increasing salaries and using various other measures to retain employees. As wages rise and employees seek new positions, employee retention is more crucial (and costly) than ever.
With accurate reporting, you can avoid over- or under-utilized employees, ensuring employees feel properly supported. You can also monitor retention levels and correlate them to various benefits, helping you better understand what employees value when considering a job change.
Strong reporting can help solve many of the common headaches faced by modern restaurateurs. It is no longer possible to manage food and labor costs with traditional reporting methods. It’s important to choose a system that will help you manage your restaurant operations by integrating data and providing it in an easy-to-understand format. Easy-to-read reports allow you to make data-driven decisions about all aspects of your restaurant. Plus, the reports will mitigate a variety of operational issues, allowing you to focus on the things that matter most to your restaurants. Choosing the right system will save you a lot of time and hassle and ultimately increase your bottom line.