In yesterday’s post, What is Operations Data. We discussed the importance of Operations Data (Ops Data) and how it could be used to make better decisions, drive better operations, and run more profitable restaurants. In Today’s blog post, we are going to discuss more Ops Data use cases.
Is your manager any good?
The GM of a restaurant has more to do with the restaurant’s success or failure than any other person you employ; the buck stops with the boss, and it is ultimately their responsibility to run profitable operations. How do you know if your GM is doing a good job? Do you base that on sales or cost percentages? Do you base that on complaints and compliments? Do you base that on how well the staff likes them? If you are not at the location every day; then how do you know?
I’m going to tell you a real story from my past. At one point in my career, I was a member of a team of managers that turned in our GM to corporate because he was cooking the books around labor cost. He was going into the register and rolling back employees times to 40 hours per week on Monday mornings before he submitted the weekly numbers to corporate. We found out about this because one of our best employees quit when he got his paycheck and all of the hours that he had worked weren’t on there. We found out the GM was doing this for all employees, a lot of employees knew this was happening to them, but they were not speaking up because they were being intimidated. By stealing from the employees, he was able to keep his labor cost in-line and inflate profits and subsequently his bonuses.
To the outside world, he was running an incredibly profitable restaurant. Corporate proved that he was stealing, after we tipped them off, by using POS metadata. Metadata is the data of data. An example of metadata in a POS might be the server’s name and the time they closed the ticket. You have the order, but you also have the other data around the order that helps tell the story. The POS system we used had advanced keystroke logging; it could record what buttons were pushed by what people. So the forensic team at corporate was able to verify that what we told them was true, and they fired this person immediately.
That POS metadata is operations data; it was used to tell the story that the sales and cost data couldn’t tell. Another example of metadata, in the OpsAnalitica system, we record metadata on every inspection, we know who logged in and when then answered each question and how long their inspection took to complete, we know if you pencil whipped or if you took time to answer the questions correctly.
Appearance of the Restaurant
Do you track how ready your restaurant is for each shift? Do you think that a clean and tidy restaurant is better for guests than a dirty restaurant? Of course, you do. How would you know if the cleanliness of your restaurant was affecting sales? Think about the last five times you started your dinner shift and your restaurant wasn’t 100% ready for the shift. Could you write down those dates on a piece of paper right now? I would be impressed if you could. Have you ever gone back and looked at the sales from those nights and compared them to averages sales on those days of the week and the year before?
If you tracked this question on a digital checklist daily and you merged that data with your sales data you could determine how much a dirty restaurant may be costing you per night. It could be thousands of dollars, or it could be $15. If you can’t look at sales with other operation factors to provide context, then you don’t know the why behind performance and profits.
One last point to make about tracking data using digital logs vs. digital checklists. I think digital logs are great for communicating data between managers and between shifts, that is what they are designed to do. From a query writing and reporting perspective, it is much easier to compare a question or a series of individual data points that are defined than it is to compare the free text that is written in a log. If you want to use operations data to make better decisions, track specific data points in a checklist and don’t try to compare sales to log notes because it won’t be helpful.