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Why data is the most crucial currency for QSRs

Adopting data-backed solutions can spell the difference between savings and losses.

Data is now considered the most important commodity and the most powerful currency across all industries. Having access to data that can generate valuable insights is the 21st-century epitome of the famous line ‘knowledge is power.' 

Data enables businesses to customize their products and services to meet what the consumers need and want. However, there is a prerequisite to utilising the seemingly endless data available: digital transformation. 

Digital transformation is about creating an integrated technology framework that underpins your operations. It is the crucial first step for the food industry players, like QSRs, who want to adapt data-backed solutions to ensure operational efficiency and, subsequently, more success.

“An enterprise architecture that brings together data sources such as POS, payroll, purchasing, mystery diner, menu management, bookings, reviews and training into one central reporting hub. It helps deliver meaningful, accessible insight for people at every level of the business,” says Christian Berthelsen, CTO of Fourth.

But how crucial is data for QSRs? 

Demand forecasting

One of the most important processes in the back of the house is demand forecasting. It can spell the difference between savings and losses of a QSR, which is critical for those operating on very thin margins. 

Data is key to accurate demand forecasting that helps businesses make better strategic decisions. Looking at the data on which items in your stock sell out fast and which ones end up as waste due to spoilage can save you a significant amount that could have easily gone to unnecessary and unavoidable expenses. 

Using data can also help you have more control over your purchasing decision. With a data-based demand forecast, which takes into consideration certain events that can occur, trends, and sales history, you will be able to implement a more strategic procurement process. It helps you see what you need to prioritize and which expenses can be deferred, especially when the budget is tight. 

With the competition getting tougher, you can also take advantage of available consumer data to help you improve your menu based on what they want or try new dishes based on what sells or what the trend says.   

More efficient back-of-the-house operations

An integrated technology framework allows you to automate where possible — and desirable — and see and analyse data across the business. With the right tools, you can turn the mass of data previously in silos into reliable insights that help make better business decisions. 

These data can then help you decide on which technologies to invest in based on the business strategy. With digitalisation happening across industries, technology vendors are bringing lots of solutions and devices to the market. What will help you choose from a wide array of choices is what your data says: what is the most appropriate solution for what your business needs? 

Data-driven decision making is crucial in getting the right solutions to help you ensure more efficient back-of-the-house operations. Getting the right tools can eliminate unreliable manual processes. Your data can tell  you which areas in your operations can be automated, such as stocktaking and labour management. 

By investing in the right technologies based on data, you can significantly improve staff effectiveness by automating routine tasks. This allows your team members to focus more on your customers, not to mention that employees enjoy working with an intuitive system.  

“Employees expect their roles to be enhanced by technology. They see continuous innovation all around them and see no reason why it shouldn’t also play a major part in helping them do their job even better,” says Berthelsen. 

All these things considered, the bottom line is that data plays a crucial role in improving processes. Making business decisions not based on data can be a risky and costly hit-or-miss attempt. However, having data is not enough. Efficient and seamless integration of complex data systems is required to generate insights covering all aspects of the businesses to ensure that your decision will be the wisest and most beneficial. 

This is where Fourth can help QSRs. Fourth helps businesses simplify back-office operations, boost efficiency and profitability, and improve inventory management with its end-to-end, best-in-class technology. 

“Demand is driven by data and at Fourth, we turn a vast amount of data into something usable. We take data that results in demand and we present that to our customers in a usable way that they can operationalize. It’s about taking a number of data points, transforming them into simple-to-use, simple-to-adjust forecast and then turn that demand into a production system use such as for ordering systems use and our labour systems,” says Andreas Mettler, Senior Director Strategy of US-based HotSchedules/MacroMatix with which Fourth joint forces in 2019 to become the global leader in end-to-end restaurant and hospitality management technology solutions.

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