Five analytics your restaurant should be tracking

Top 5 Restaurant Analytics To Start Tracking Now

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today’s rapid change of pace and a strong job market force a fresh look at which metrics are critical to gauge the pulse of your business.

As restaurants embrace the digital age headlong and make sweeping changes to their operations, the metrics that are important to owners, operators and managers are shifting as well. Case in point: a major international quick-serve brand that instituted several major changes in menu and ordering channels is now seeing a spike in employee turnover. Could they have curtailed some of the talent loss based on earlier, or better, insights?

Monitoring the right restaurant data analytics may have made a difference.

A strong economy and job market, along with other factors, make it more important than ever to get a solid handle on the numbers that indicate the health of your restaurant, your team and your customer relationships.

Below are five crucial data points that your restaurant should be tracking to gain more insight into your business.

1. Staff turnover

Turnover is notoriously high for restaurant jobs, and the cost can be devastating for a business. According to Gallup, replacing an employee can cost 50% to 200% of their yearly salary. At that price, the cost of retention programs looks a lot more appealing. 

Along with making changes to reduce turnover, pay close attention to retention trends across a restaurant business or within a market and compare them to individual performance. These metrics help you understand if you are taking the proper steps to keep your top talent loyal.

2. Drive-thru times

Fast food orders that take too long to prepare, especially for drive-through guests, contradict the definition of “fast.” McDonald’s, for instance, saw its average order increase to 239 seconds one year — more than half a minute slower than the previous year and slower than its competitors. That’s a recipe for unhappy customers and potential lost business. In McDonald’s case, the inefficiency could be a symptom of a more significant problem, like asking workers to do too much, contributing to turnover from burnout.

3. Sales or revenue by channel

Is your participation on restaurant order and delivery platforms worth the cost? Does owning or renting a food truck and having a presence at events make sense from a sales standpoint? How many people order through your mobile app? By telephone? How much of your business is takeout?

Knowing the sources of your revenue can help you allocate resources, restructure workflows, or even refine the design of your restaurant to better accommodate a new ordering channel or an uptick in foot traffic.

4. Delivery cost

Closely related to sales by channel is delivery cost. Delivery is undoubtedly in demand, but it doesn’t always make financial sense for a restaurant to manage it in-house. There are additional costs to delivery, like additional labor, insurance, and vehicle costs. Outsourcing the service means paying and trusting a third party to ensure the food arrives intact and on time.

Understanding costs is key to any informed decision. And running the numbers on your options — such as limiting delivery to larger orders or a subset of your menu — can also help profitability.

5. Social media engagement

Marketers and individual restaurant owners measure social media success differently, but not paying attention to your online audience is ignoring its marketing potential. 

According to a Harvard Business Review study by Michael Luca, for restaurants, a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.

So it’s clear that a restaurant’s online presence and reputation do affect its success. Monitoring likes, shares, and follows is essential, but so is responding when someone has posted a complaint on Instagram.

Knowing what the public is saying about your competitors can also provide valuable intelligence. Look for a tool that consolidates all of a company’s online reviews into a single dashboard, along with reviews of competing businesses. Even better if it also facilitates responses to reviews.

Restaurant analytics have always been vital for business owners and operators to determine business success, but as the industry evolves, so do the metrics that help steer operations and marketing in the right direction.


Heartland’s restaurant POS systems and technology solutions help operators serve customers and run the business with payroll solutions, payment processing, scan to pay, menus in the cloud, integrated delivery services, online ordering, and much more. Plus, Heartland technology gives you the data analytics you need to optimize your business for success.


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