The data collected in your POS system contains some pretty powerful information. The basic reports, like how many smoothies or burgers you sold in a day, are beneficial. Other reports, like total sales, deposits, and shortages for the day, are also important. But while these initial reports are pertinent to your daily results, if they’re the only way you’re using your POS data, you’re missing out.
The data in your POS system is like an onion in your kitchen—most people will only analyze the skin of the onion—but there are many more layers. Every day, your POS sends you a list of voids, coupons, and discounts used or documented. Reports on these three actions can tell you a lot more about your restaurant than you may think.
Let’s check out some examples.
You might think that most of your voids are because a server made a mistake entering an order and had to remove the item. While this certainly happens, a bit more digging can give you additional insight into your restaurant’s profit and loss. Here are a few other scenarios your void data can help you uncover:
In some cases, an item may have been voided simply so a customer did not have to pay for it. Unfortunately, this does happen, so it’s important to monitor and evaluate if there are recurring trends, or if there are specific days where this is happening a lot.
True life example: I was working at a restaurant where I was trying to build sales, especially on Sundays. My sales were very low on Sundays, and when I did have sales, it was usually larger, family dinners. My inventory had not been good, so I was doing daily counts. Flag number one: my food cost was showing variances, but my sales were only slightly above what they had been. Using my reports, I started to look at the individual tickets, and started to notice that I had tickets showing 10 guests, sitting for 90 mins, but with a ticket size of only $1.98. That didn’t make any sense, so I dug a little deeper and discovered that items had been entered, but then voided off.
After analyzing some sales reports, I started to see that each time this type of ticket occurred, it was always late at night, always the same server, and always the same team leader. My investigation determined that I had a lazy manager, who late at night would sit and talk to his friends while the crew ran the show. My one server would take a large order, and if they paid cash, remove all of the items except for a cup of coffee or two—making some very handsome tips. True story….it happens.
What if you are seeing the same item voided over and over again? This could indicate several different issues: a problem in the kitchen, a problem with the server entering the orders, or even a problem with the product or recipe—it’s possible customers simply don’t like it.
No matter how you slice the onion, voids are bad. If a server is going to do it, there should be a documented reason why. A void means you are not getting any inventory credit, no sales are being driven from it, and always indicates a problem. Pay close attention to the voids in your reporting data and look for patterns—they usually reveal a bigger problem.
What about coupons? Everyone has coupons—in mailers, in newspapers, online, and even in-store. No matter the medium, coupons are used as a marketing strategy to drive sales, and if placed right, usually bring in new business and encourage repeat customers to start coming in a little more regularly. Although coupons are good, there are a few things that you should be wary of.
Always monitor the percentage of coupons being used—go even further and monitor the percentage of coupons being used per server. Utilizing your reports can help you identify if coupon use is actually as valuable to your restaurant as you perceive it to be.
True life example: When I was managing a restaurant, we released a new coupon. The coupon-use percentage increased, and we made some good progress in building sales. So far so good. But after evaluating my reports, I noticed coupon usage was at five percent, while the projected use was only three percent. Once again, I did some digging to find out what was causing the bump in usage. I uncovered that my very generous front counter employee had been giving almost every customer a coupon for their meal—not quite the intended purpose. While reviewing reporting on coupons may seem trivial, had I not reviewed, I never would have noticed the increased percentage, and would have lost money in the long run.
Who doesn’t love discounts? Similar to coupons, discounts can be a successful marketing tool when properly implemented, but can also be detrimental if they are not appropriately monitored. Analyzing your discount report will very quickly help you identify potential profit losses.
For example, if your restaurant offers a Buy One Get One coupon, establish a cadence to administer the discount, and check your reporting to ensure that rate is being followed. Say you have an overly generous employee who works 25 hours per week. If this employee gives away one BOGO coupon every hour they work, for say, a $4.99 burger, that would end up being $124.75 of free food per week, and $6,237.50 in free food per year. That would negate the value of offering discounts at all.
Your POS system holds a lot of data. Analyzing all of it and looking for these patterns may seem daunting. That’s why POS Hub gives you all your point-of-sale data in a common format, tagged for easy analysis. By integrating your different POS systems, locations, and historical data, you can quickly produce accurate reports with actionable information.
Let POS Hub help you cook up a clear path to great reports—and even greater savings.