Restaurants gather large amounts of data at staggering rates. As a food business owner, you probably look through endless spreadsheets of kitchen inventories, guest reservations, employee schedules and fluctuating food costs.

Instead of accumulating dust on the shelf or taking up space in your computer, such information can be put to work. With the right digital tools, you can use what you’ve collected to streamline operations, predict food trends and improve service.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is the act of collecting, organizing and analyzing information using a range of applications, tools and infrastructure. In a nutshell, the practice can be broken down into three basic parts: gathering, analyzing and reporting. Once data has gone through this process, conclusions are made and used for strategies, optimization and forecasting.

Business Intelligence in the Restaurant Industry

Restaurant business intelligence deals with processing raw information that owners and employees encounter daily and turning into something useful. For example, instead of keeping a logbook of inventories and vendors, one would use a software or an application to store and analyze data in real-time. The system also connects the collected information to other related groups or variables such as sales, costing or production.

Increase Efficiency, Minimize Risks

Handling information this way has numerous benefits. Food businesses are able to identify pain points quickly and address issues, since data is processed live. Owners would not have to wait until the end of the week to notice they were losing money on a dish due to sudden shifts in local market prices.

Next, business intelligence can make restaurants more productive. Using digital tools to manage information means you don’t have to spend hours on data entry and manual computations. Food establishments that rely on business intelligence can also maintain better relationships with their suppliers and vendors by always staying on top of payments and deliveries.

Gain New Insights and Track Trends

In addition to maintaining the in and outs of a restaurant, business intelligence tools enable you to uncover, monitor and profit from trends. Algorithms found in such systems are designed to reveal patterns from heaps of data. Having insights readily at hand could make forecasting more accurate. It can also boost your ability to prepare for peak seasons, and more importantly, cut down on areas that are not contributing to growth.

What type of business intelligence applications are you using in your restaurant? Share your comments with us below.