How to Use Your Restaurant POS Reports to Make Business Decisions

While we all wish we had an IBM Watson on hand to help us make business decisions, it will probably be a few years before AI makes its way into the hospitality industry. In the meantime, using your POS reports to make crucial business decisions across areas of your operations is fundamental to fiscal management.

The reports can only get you so far. Once you have data in hand, owners and managers need to divine the numbers to make smart moves within their restaurant or bar. Here are three decision areas that greatly benefit from POS report information.

♦ Inventory Decisions
As food waste becomes a hot button topic in the industry and eateries in the greater Los Angeles area look for ways to be greener and just more environmentally conscious in general, the best way to decrease surplus is to optimize inventory. Using your POS reports compare kitchen inventory levels with items sold reveals areas where you are overstocking. To go even further, many cloud based inventory programs integrate POS data to do this analysis for you along with helping you manage inventory control.

♦ Marketing Decisions
Pulling customer demographics from your POS reports gives great insight into your key audience. You can see who and when they are visiting your restaurant or bar. Use this intelligence when making decisions on promotions and marketing initiatives. Then use the data to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts. If you have a loyalty program in place, there is an opportunity for you to determine dining trends and motivators.

♦ Labor Decisions
Scheduling is a key area where your POS reports can aid in decision making from how many bartenders to put on the clock on a busy holiday weekend to the number of line cooks you’ll need for a slow Monday night shift.

Historical data and forecasting is the place most restaurant managers start for making staffing decisions and drawing up schedules. On a day-to-day basis pulling hourly sales reports and daily attendance reports to show how many FOH and BOH staff you have on the clock and who is going into overtime is a great decision-making tool to have when you are trying to determine when to make cuts and send people home.

Take Advantage of Web-Based Reporting
Having a web-based reporting system takes it to the next level for busy operators who are bouncing from location to location or can’t be tied down to a terminal. Having access on your smart phone or your laptop makes life a lot easier.

As you get more dependent on reports to aid your business decisions, it will become almost second nature. Hopefully, you also will find more areas in your operations that can benefit from data contained in your repertoire of reports.