The restaurant and hospitality industry has always been extremely competitive. This is why the seemingly smallest edge can become a significant advantage for new establishments and brands attempting to either find their footing or maintain their market share. More and more, data analytics are proving to be that edge. From a micro level — for instance, identifying the best operating hours — to a macro level such as looking for exploitable gaps in the market, data analytics are playing an increasingly important role in foodservice growth and success.
The use of data analytics in the food industry is nothing new. Large restaurant chains were using consumer surveys to determine locations and menu offerings well before the digital era. What is new, however, is that, unlike more traditional restaurant reporting and surveys that tend to look at data on a small scale, today’s more holistic, aggregate analytics involve large sets of information.
What’s also new is that user-friendly technology is making these analytics easily accessible to foodservice professionals at all levels in the industry. That includes restaurants — both chains and independents — as well as manufacturers, distributors, and any other business that buys or distributes food or related equipment and services. All of these businesses, big and small alike now have the ability to harness the potential of big data — and it’s having a huge impact right across the industry.
A growing number of leading foodservice brands are discovering what a tremendous enabler analytics are. Among the benefits they’re seeing:
Analytics can help restaurant chains and foodservice manufacturers and distributors refine their targeting and pricing. For example, the Brizo FoodMetrics platform lets users find establishments using median menu pricing. The filter uses precise, scrollable dollar values—rather than (less specific) dollar signs—for more accurate targeting. This helps restaurants better refine pricing, and for manufacturers and distributors, it helps narrow down the search for establishments in their ideal customer profile.
Restaurant data analytics can be invaluable for estimating delivery times. In addition to distance, restaurants collect and analyze information like weather, additional orders, and traffic volume in order to provide more accurate delivery estimates.
Just a couple of decades ago, foodservice professionals essentially needed a crystal ball (perhaps combined with good business intuition) to make decisions around new product development and market expansion.
Today, whether they’re deciding what POS to buy, whether to invest in kitchen robotics, which delivery platform is best, or even what to put on the menu, foodservice operators, manufacturers and distributors are making many key decisions by analyzing data-rich, actionable foodservice analytics.
The extremely competitive nature of foodservice means that relationships with partners and suppliers are crucial. And strong relationships are built on good service — which stems from knowing your market and always having the products and services that your customers need (even before they ask for them).
Again, analytics offer a deep-dive perspective on what businesses — and consumers — are looking for. Not only can this insight identify areas with the most business potential, but the right analytics can also ensure that suppliers continue to serve these markets well, helping them reinforce their reliability.
The fact is, everyone is online these days. They are buying online, getting directions online, doing research online. So as a foodservice operator — particularly a restaurant — you need to be online too. And you need to invest in building a positive online and social media presence. Data analytics — for example, the Web Footprint filters provided on Brizo FoodMetrics — can provide helpful insight into what competitors are doing online with their businesses, and where they’re most active.
Adopting a new POS or delivery platform or kitchen automation solution involves research. What are other establishments using? Which systems are most popular? A platform like Brizo FoodMetrics can provide that insight.
If you’re a restaurant, it can shorten the research phase of your buying journey. And if you’re a food technology developer, it can help you dive deeper into the needs and wants of your customer, so you can ensure you meet them.
Analytics can provide detailed insight into factors that help you control costs and reduce waste. For example: portion control. One of the keys to reducing food waste is through more targeted portion sizing. Portion sizing is also a critical factor in determining and controlling costs accurate menu pricing. These are two ways that the size of your portions can have a profound impact on your operations. And data analytics — gaining insight into portion sizing of your competitors — can help with both, enabling you to refine your menu strategy.
Location, location, location. Where a restaurant is situated is often as important as the quality of the food or service. Aside from factors like market size and potential exposure, your address also dictates the food and equipment suppliers available to you, while also influencing your customers’ perception of you.
Overall, analytics can fast-track your location selection by showing you which markets are growing, and for what kinds of food establishments. They can tell you whether these establishments are independent or are part of larger chains. They can reveal cultural influences and regional cuisine preferences that will help you determine what will work best on your menu.
Restaurant analytics are truly a game-changer when it comes to optimizing everything from choosing your location to adopting technology to setting menu prices. Data-driven insight helps you operate faster, more efficiently, and more cost-effectively.
Analytics are also a great way to speed up your ROI: Rather than waste time and money on fruitless research and prospecting, you’re able to get right to the markets and suppliers that you need to be successful.