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Discover why it’s important to get a handle on the information that can help your business succeed.
 
When you opened your restaurant, you probably weren’t thinking about crunching numbers every night. In fact, you may think, the more you can avoid the boring data side of the business, the better. Most entrepreneurs open a restaurant for one of three reasons:
 
  1. Making Good Food. Maybe your true passion is creating delicious food and seeing the happiness that you create by combining simple ingredients in inventive ways.
 
  1. Growth Possibilities. You may have opened your restaurant with dreams of growing a small franchise or large chain. Maybe you even want your restaurant to be a household name someday.
 
  1. Working with People. The business pays the bills but deep down, your greatest enjoyment comes from interacting with your guests and your team. Outside the four walls, maybe you also enjoy connecting and contributing within your community, and providing a source of jobs in your neighborhood.
 
However, as time has gone by, maybe sales have dipped or foot traffic has tapered off. Even though you’re still just as passionate about making delicious food and providing great customer service, your dreams of growth or providing more jobs may be falling short.
 
What are the roadblocks keeping you from reaching that next level? Many business owners point to the following causes for growth stagnation:
 
  1. Lack of Time. One of the biggest reasons restaurateurs give for lack of growth is lack of time. You are already working 24/7, so how can you possibly dedicate more time to your business? This is when you need to start working smarter, not harder. There are systems that help you consolidate information to make sense of it quicker, so that it works for you.
 
  1. Stress. Running a restaurant is one of the most stressful occupations out there. You’re always ‘on;’ plus, Long hours coupled with unending to-do lists and expenses can make anyone want to curl up in the fetal position. Finding tools that help you understand and act on your data such as labor costs versus sales can help alleviate some of that stress.
 
  1. New Technology. Every other week there’s a new piece of software or technology to learn, so no one blames you for feeling like you want to run  in the other direction. If you aren’t offering the latest thing, like online ordering or reservations, you can bet that the place down the street does. Maybe you already feel the pain of one too many log-ins, and far too many disconnected reports that are difficult to make sense of. Embracing technology that’s designed to help make things simpler can make all the difference.
 
If there was an easier way to understand data while also helping you to make better connections with your customers, wouldn’t you try it?
 
Having all your guest data and analytics on one easy-to-use dashboard is the new frontier in business management. Instead of being confusing and boring, data can actually be eye-opening and interesting.
 
You no longer need to open 10 different screens and log in to multiple accounts just to figure out who left you a review or who liked your latest social media post.
 
Here are just a few of the ways a multifunctional analytics dashboard can help you and your restaurant:
 
  1. A Better Understanding of Your Business. You may already have a way to track certain data, but if it involves pages and pages of numbers and information, you may never even look at it—or understand it. Think about a one-page dashboard with easy-to-read charts, graphs and digestible data that gives you a quick look at sales and labor numbers; social media activity; online reviews; and more.
 
  1. A Closer Connection with Your Customers. A quick swipe of a credit card can tell you if your customer is new or returning, what they’ve ordered in the past, and if they’re local or from out of town. Not only is this information important at the time of a sale, but again with future marketing efforts. You can send special offers to customers you haven’t seen in a while, thank-you offers to your best guests, and targeted mailings to zip codes that you want to reach.
 
  1. Trackable Marketing Efforts that Result in More Sales and Less Wasted Money. Without the help of analytics, there’s no predictable way to know if the mailer you sent out was actually received, or how well it worked in a specific zip code. When you’re able to see which zip codes your customers are visiting from, you can immediately tell if the mailer you sent two zip codes away is having an impact or not.
 
Monitoring your customer analytics and using it to improve your business does not mean that you’re any less passionate about making great food or being involved in your community—just the opposite. Analytics gives you the ability to provide your customers with what they really want from your restaurant, and isn’t that what matters in the end?
 
This is the first in a series of topics that will cover customer intelligence. Stay tuned for additional insights.

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