Data analytics is something everyone is talking about nowadays but very few can actually present actionable suggestions from the data. Restaurants that use modern POS systems should have their dashboard full of all kinds of sales data and fancy graphs with different colors. There is true value in the data but it’s hard to create action from it especially when you are running a busy restaurant.

Because of this, we did a little experiment with one of our partner restaurants and looked at their customer data. Since the restaurant is using Culinar for their online orders, we are able to gather tons of data from simple sales to more in-depth customer information. Our problem statement was:

How can we increase the restaurants order amount for one particular day?

Because the problem statement was simple and had many restrictions (takeaway orders, one day, one restaurant, increase in orders from average), we were able to measure the results.

To pick the day we want to focus on we examined how the orders were spread across the week for this restaurant. Here’s what the data looked like:

Restaurant analytics for weekdays

You can clearly see that Friday is the most popular day for this restaurant. One might come to a conclusion that we should pick one of the slow days since there’s a lot room for the restaurant to fulfill orders. Getting more orders for let say Monday would be a great success? Yes it would but the problem is not on the restaurant side, it’s the customers we need to convince to actually make the order. People are not so willing to order on a Monday so it would be much harder to convince them to place an order. On the other hand Friday is the most popular day so it might be easier to influence potential customers. Let’s choose Friday.

When we look the data for Friday it looks like this:

Friday online order amounts

This is a typical pattern for a restaurant. Orders increase towards lunchtime, then dive and come back again for dinner. For Friday there’s an unusually large spike at 18:00. From this data we can say that most of the orders are picked up “after work” which is from 16-19. Now we have enough meaningful data to make our little experiment.

The offer

So people are making lots of orders on Friday and they are picking them up from 16 to 17. Let’s try to boost this period so we are not changing consumer behavior, we are supporting it.

The restaurant created a discount code for -10% that’s exclusively for orders picked up on Friday after 15. They published the offer on Monday only on their Facebook page and did not spend anything on advertisement. This was the result:

Online ordering promotion

The order amount grew over 400% when you compare to the previous Friday. An unbelievable result for such a small effort. What’s also interesting is that the order amount grew for the upcoming Fridays too even though there were no more offers.

You might think the restaurant was overwhelmed with the orders but that wasn’t the case. Many of the orders came through out the week so the restaurant could see on Thursday that they have multiple pick ups on the next day and could make preparations for the rush hour.

This is just the tip of the iceberg that is data analytics. We didn’t even dive into specific customer data that would allow us to segment customers into different profiles and push highly targeted marketing messages to them. Just by knowing how their customers behave and focusing on making things that work even better our partner restaurant grew their online takeaway sales 400% for one day.

Of course this effect dilutes if done frequently but the point is not have only one ace up your sleeve. When you have multiple tactics to engage your customers based on your data, you can take your business to a completely different level without having to spend thousands of dollars for paid advertisement. All of this can be done manually or completely automatically with a system like Culinar. If you feel like your restaurant could benefit from Culinar or if you are just looking some help with your current solution, send me an email ([email protected]) and I’m more than happy to help.

-Reetu Kainulainen

CEO @ Culinar