With the millions of bits of data, how do you make good choices for F&B?

There are few things in an F&B director’s job that are more fulfilling than when a new guest shows up for a meal after checking into the resort, and immediately afterward posts an online review inviting the rest of the world to enjoy the same memorable dining experience.

Creating lasting connections with your guests should be your primary goal, with profitability being your expected result. The question to ask yourself is how to start taking advantage of the data your point-of-sale (POS) system generates to assist in the following:

  • Enhance the guest experience
  • Better engage your employees
  • Drive revenue
  • Optimize operational efficiencies

Your F&B operations are already producing a rich mix of data, but you may not realize the potential value it has for you or how to work with it.

Your Sources of Data

Think about the streams of data— facts or metrics—pouring into your F&B operations from the activities that take place there:

  • Purchasing
  • Receiving
  • Production
  • Scheduling
  • Time Clock Management
  • Guest Ordering
  • Floor Management
  • Tracking Promotions
  • Reservation Management
  • Check Tendering
  • Banquet & Special Events
  • Social Media

Then drill down with analysis of those activities by filtering the data surrounding the facts, such as time of day, day of week, month, tender amount, item name, tip percentage, venue, server, supplier, cashier and so on. Ultimately, all these streams flow through your POS solution, which becomes your biggest source for data.

Yet few F&B directors have learned how to exploit their data fully, which means they’re missing out on huge opportunities to make better decisions and manage more effectively, and in turn, improve the guest experience and increase profitability. At the end of the day, that data disappears from sight and a new day begins.

What’s missing is the intelligent use of analytics, which delivers the ability to draw new insights from the exceptions and trends formed by your data.

The Difference Between Reporting and Analytics

POS reporting is a mature, well-understood activity. It can tell you what happened in a descriptive way: You sold 644 appetizers at lunch in the bar during the last 30 days at a specific price.

By adding analytics into the F&B reporting process, valuable insights can be uncovered and discovered: for example, that a single server sold four out of every five of those appetizers.

Likewise, reporting on table turn rate, average check, productivity and tip amount could help identify superstars among staff or menu items, enabling the manager to deliver the kind of guest experience that turns into five-star online compliments—and those are gold.

As the organization matures in its use of analytics, the resort can begin to optimize its insights to suggest what will happen: Placing this bartender into that shift will result in twice as many specialty cocktail orders.

The intelligent use of analytics can help you determine the reasons why your guests choose to patronize your business and identify the products, services and communication content that will keep them returning and telling others to come too.

How to Get the Most from your POS

If your POS isn’t agile, flexible and reliable, your operations will never be either. That means working with a POS solution that allows you to set up a quick and easy-to-use end-user interface that aligns with your F&B workflows, including being able to rapidly and simply accommodate all of your guests and their unique requests.

When sales of a particular combination of items—a signature drink, a new method for preparing steak—are going crazy because Jimmy Fallon has just talked them up, you and your staff want to be ready to jump in and take advantage without the POS system slowing service.

Guessing Leads to Costly Results, Over and Over

The use of analytics allows your managers and staff to make new decisions based not only on assumptions or what their gut tells them to do, but on the facts. Data that is correctly gathered and intelligently mined eliminates the risk of guessing.

Take the situation of fraud detection in bar activities or at the front of the house. A dishonest bartender might charge customers the regular price for a drink but ring it up for less on the POS system and pocket the difference, or void guest checks after the drinks have been served and paid for, then later remove cash from the register.

It might be difficult for the director or manager to detect a high void or return rate without the help of POS system data combined with analytics—for instance, examining voids, comps, transfers, reconciling cover-counts, etc.—to shine a light on the departures from standard operations or discrepancies in numbers from different sources.

Drive Revenue and Increase Profitability

The use of analytics to help you run your resort’s F&B operations allows you to turn the data you’re already generating from your POS solution into a rich blend of actionable insights that will help you empower your staff, bring in new revenue, increase wallet share, deliver better guest experiences and lower expenses. As a result of understanding what activities generate optimal results, your staff will enjoy greater success and bigger tips, and you’ll build a more loyal crew. And you can stop crunching spreadsheets in the back and spend more time out front delighting your guests.

Author: Robert Rebholz

Robert Rebholz is director of product management for Agilysys.