Which Comes First: Smart Hotel Restaurant Data or Smart People?
Determining the reason why two restaurant reporting numbers are different can be a real challenge, like the chicken or the egg. In this era of big data, many restaurant companies are racing to improve their use and comprehension of the data they have locked up in their system silos. But, the question is: Does data make people smarter or is it the other way around?
There are a number of research companies that track data of same-store sales year over year. While the restaurant industry has seen declining sales, there are some groups whose same-store index continues to increase. Who wouldn't want to see their revenue growth improved by 164 basis points? And what causes some restaurant companies to achieve better sales performance year after year? Is it the data that improves the performance of a company, or is it the case that smart people capable of delivering superior performance know they need a platform for their data?
Why The Difference?
So, these numbers are different, and most of the time there are companies whose index outperforms the benchmarks for the overall restaurant industry. But WHY? It could be that some companies learn how to use their data more effectively to drive performance by the tools that are provided. Or, it could be that the people who work at the companies who use these systems are really smart, and they know that the platforms will give them the tools for analyzing and understanding what the data is telling them.
It is likely a combination of both. But, there is one thing that some companies share—a commitment to make well-informed decisions instead of relying on intuition and experience. Not long ago, there was relatively little data available to analyze without a lot of data collection, cutting, pasting, and organizing it all. Seemingly, in the blink of an eye, the world of restaurant data exploded and today most companies have much more data than they can examine. Companies are challenged with adjusting how they use all this data.
We call the journey from the old world of data to this new world the Information Learning Curve, as has been mentioned in prior articles. It is a journey of learning and discovery. If your staff knows how to analyze data creatively, they need the data organized so they can study it in new and unique ways every day. If your staff does not yet have the skills to perform ad-hoc analysis of the data, they will need more than just technology. They will need training and coaching through their journey.
If you are not happy with the performance of your company, consider how well your team is using data. Are they using all of it? Are they relying on summaries or diving into the full details (caution to anyone still using only summarized data - look up Simpson's Paradox)?
There are some unique companies out there that can integrate from the vast majority of systems out there—whether it is POS data, inventory data, customer loyalty data, employee scheduling data, etcetera, not only within the parameter of their company’s capabilities. If you are, you are ahead of your peers and the results clearly show you are driving performance well beyond the industry norms. Congrats!