Not so long ago, restaurants were run mostly by intuition. You’d put together a menu you thought would work. You’d serve the customers and hope they liked it. You’d estimate how many waiters and dishwashers you needed and hope they were enough – but not too many.
Usually, any changes you made to improve your business were based on either crises that erupted or hunches that you had. Really, you were just guessing, based on your experiences, and hoping for the best.
Today, all that has changed with the arrival of real-time analytics tools that empower restaurant owners and managers with facts to solve their problems. It’s intuition on steroids.
Today’s Guest Management Tools Inform and Enlighten
Today’s waitlist management tools do a lot more than manage the wait in an orderly fashion and free customers from waiting around the congested hostess stand. They also help restaurants begin to compile a rich database that arms managers with actionable intelligence on critical questions, such as:
- What is the optimal time to start offering early-bird specials or happy hour to fill more tables? How effective are the special’s you’re offering?
- What is the optimal configuration of the restaurant, as reflected in wait times? Are too many two-tops sitting empty while parties of four wait for a table? Do you need more large-party configurations?
- How much is wait time reduced, and how many more tables can be turned, by adding additional waiters or kitchen staff during busy times? How do you maximize that ratio?
- What special requests do guests have – i.e. a seat by the window or a private corner – that you can’t accommodate?
- Who is your guest? Is it their first visit? Are they celebrating a special occasion? How did they hear about you?
With today’s real-time analytics, the possibilities are bounded only by your imagination. Virtually any question – any intuition – you have about making your restaurant more profitable, from operational efficiencies to what customers really think of your product, can be answered by consulting the right set of data.
Next time you hear the phrase Big Data – and you certainly hear it a lot these days – that’s what people mean. Analytics takes the guesswork out of intuition. If you aren’t using it, then chances are your competition will soon be using it against you.
Find Out More About the Future of the Restaurant Industry
Complete the form below to download the free eBook, The Restaurant of the Future, for more detail about technology is the key to running a successful restaurant.
Mai Lyn Ngo is a marketing coordinator at LRS and ambassador for solutions that create a better guest experience.