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Operations Data & Speed of Service

Operations data are the data points that are generated every meal period in a restaurant that directly affect sales and profitability.  Let’s break it down:

  • Marketing activities remind your customers that you still exist. 
  • People come in to eat at your restaurant. 
  • You serve them food (operations)
  • They pay and leave either happy or sad, eager to share their experience with their friends or trash you on Yelp. 

Your restaurant’s operations: the food, speed of service, customer service, perceived value, cleanliness, and safety standards all determine how your guests will feel when they walk out of your establishment.  Remember we are restaurant operators and operations are our business.

Operations data points are the measurement of our operations. Most operators today are operating on lagging indicator data only. ie. sales, customer feedback, anecdotal information from managers. By the time you get bad customer feedback about a speed of service issue it’s too late, the damage has already been done. Plus think about how many other customers who were affected, but didn’t take the time to give feedback.

Identifying the root of speed of service issues using lagging indicator data only isn’t productive. It’s a trial and error exercise which isn’t a luxury most operators can afford. The cost to acquire a customer is simply to high to gamble on a “fix” that may not work.

Until this time in the restaurant industry it has been next to impossible to capture, organize, and analyze operations data for even a single restaurant location never mind a national chain. There are two main reasons for this, the first is that we aren’t a completely automated business. We are predominantly a human business where people, not automated machines are the means of production. Number two the technology didn’t exist or it was too expensive. With the invention of tablets and smart phones we now have powerful handheld devices that can be used to capture and process insane amounts of data very quickly.

The ability to provide teams with all the data they need, to be able to, perform all the tasks required to ensure they are shift ready, right in the palm of their hand exists today. You can guide teams through real-time corrective actions to ensure issues get corrected before they affect speed of service. Above store leaders can have access to all the data they need to effectively lead and coach their teams.

I will leave you with this thought. As technology becomes more prevalent in the industry, the companies that can identify, test, and implement new solutions more quickly will have a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Written by

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.