In the current climate, data is one of the strongest tools a restaurateur has in their arsenal. Data is integral for getting a rounded view of your business and making the right strategic decisions. Having the right sort of data allows you to plan, shift priorities and make changes on the fly based on cold hard proof of your sales numbers. 

Consulting your data allows you to optimize your business for whatever the current situation is - whether that’s a nation-wide lockdown or a ‘new normal’. That being said, keeping track of demand from each of your channels is especially important nowadays. Knowing what is most popular, on each channel and at what time can make everything from staffing to food prepping far simpler. This is particularly true when you offer eat-in, takeaway, and multiple delivery options as it can be very difficult to know where to prioritize. 

When it comes to delivery, your first priority will be getting good data in. What this means is making sure that your delivery sales get input into your POS as they come through and not waiting till the end of the day to send them all through at once. This is where Deliverect obviously comes in, integrating with both the delivery platforms and your point of sale to give you the most accurate data possible. 

Once you have the most accurate data going in, you can analyse it using Tenzo. Tenzo allows you to compare data from different areas in your business so that you can see the full ecosystem of your restaurant. You’re then able to start changing your efforts and evolving knowing the effect each change has on your business. 

 

Start off simple: streamline your menu 

Chef preparing poke bowl for delivery or takeawayThe first thing you should consider is streamlining your delivery menu. When ordering from these big delivery platforms, customers already have to make a big decision when it comes to choosing a restaurant to order from. If you then have an enormous list of options available, customers are likely to experience decision-fatigue and leave your page without making a purchase. 

Looking at past sales data, figure out your best-selling items and double down on them. Having a simplified menu will also make it easier on your team in terms of preparation as well as shortening the turnaround time between a customer making an order and receiving it, leading to a better experience and positive reviews. Plus it also allows you to reduce your inventory cost as well as waste. 

Also, though it sounds obvious, don’t forget to consider transportability when revizing your menu. Your avocado toast with poached eggs may sell really well, but if the poached eggs end up scrambled by the end of the journey, your customers will end up disappointed. Make sure that everything you deliver can withstand half an hour on the back of a fast-moving motorcycle or bicycle dodging through traffic and hitting the occasional pothole. 

 

"Any commercial kitchen has the capabilities to create food for more than one brand, especially if the food types are more popular at different times of the day."

 

Step 2: Explore your channel demand 

As mentioned above, knowing when your orders are coming in and where they’re coming from is incredibly useful. By using Deliverect and Tenzo together you can analyze how your different revenue sales differ in spend and timing. You might find that you get your eat-in clients between 12 and 2 but your busiest delivery window is between 10:45 and 12:45. If you know timings as well as most popular dishes for each channel you can therefore prep far more efficiently. 

Kitchen staff putting food in a delivery bagKnowing what channels are most popular and when can also improve your staffing efficiency. If the majority of your orders will come from delivery, then having multiple front of house staff may be unnecessary, but you might need some extra hands in the kitchen. Furthermore, this forecasting can also help you know when you’ll have an influx of delivery drivers streaming in and out of your premises. You can then be prepared to do a bit of air traffic control to avoid the pandemonium of a full restaurant and a crowd of helmeted delivery-drivers, as well as keeping everyone safely distanced.  

 

"Knowing what is most popular, on each channel and at what time can make everything from staffing to food prepping far simpler."

 

Step 3: Own the full day share 

The fantastic thing about delivery platforms and delivery brands is that you can be everything to everyone at once. Essentially, a fully dine-in restaurant can really only serve its specific cuisine (i.e. if you’re a Chinese restaurant, customers will come to you for Chinese food). However, thanks to delivery, you can be a pizza chain, a Chinese restaurant, a fish and chips shop all at the same time. 

Different kinds of delivery or takeaway foodWhat I’m referring to is virtual brands. By tracking your most popular dishes by time of day, you may realize that customers want different types of food throughout the day. So why not cater to them? Customers may feel like ordering a smoothie bowl for breakfast, a salad for lunch and pizza for dinner, but are unlikely to order them all from the same brand. By having multiple brands on marketplaces, you increase your customer base at any given time of the day - hence owning the full day share. 

Virtual brands have gotten bigger and bigger with many cloud kitchens or dark kitchens being set up around major cities to cater to wider audiences. But you don’t need to be in a massive warehouse to make this work. Any commercial kitchen has the capabilities to create food for more than one brand, especially if the food types are more popular at different times of the day. 

And virtual brands come with the added bonus that they cost far less than traditional restaurants to set up. You don’t need to find a new location, you can use your existing kitchen; you don’t need to outfit a restaurant as the brand exists solely online; you can share inventory across multiple brands, so you can use up what you might not always get through in your traditional restaurant. 

 

Conclusion 

By accurately tracking and then forecasting sales data, you are able to better cater to your customers, cutting down on delivery time and giving them more options that they want. It also allows you to staff to the appropriate level in front and back of house based on channel popularity and time. Then, to complete the circle, you are able to order and prep exactly what you will need, reducing your food waste along the way. By tracking across all locations, you can also spot geographical trends and better understand your customer’s expectations. 

Check out how Tenzo gives you a better view of your business with advanced analytics and AI forecasting.  

Elizabeth Norton
August 31, 2020 by Elizabeth Norton

Elizabeth is a content marketer at Tenzo, the ultimate analytics and forecasting platform for restaurants. She is passionate about restaurants and tech and writes about both regularly on Tenzo's blog.