How advanced analytics is bringing the human touch back to hospitality

We know there are days when all restaurant managers question their sanity for joining the hospitality sector! The hours are brutal, and you now spend more time checking staff rosters and delivery schedules than you do greeting your guests.

Indeed, a lot has changed. The pace. The competition. And the complexity. Yet, the industry has evolved to meet these challenges, introducing new systems, processes, smarter ordering, modern menus, better lighting, great websites. Just think about the apps rapidly developed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling guests to place orders directly from their phones – and pay via the same channel.

‘Digitizing dinner’ and the introduction of modern technology is certainly helping restaurant managers make their operations more efficient and further improve patrons’ experience.

Serving customers, not systems

We, at Fourth, believe that building intelligence – which supports and enhances your ability to run a restaurant while also increasing your face time with staff and customers – is the next revolution in the hospitality industry. And the revolution is here!

Demand forecasting isn’t new to Fourth – forecasting models have been integral to our suite of software solutions for many years. These analytical models form the bedrock of insights on which our hospitality clients rely to make better informed, data-driven decisions – to manage costs, people, and operations.

Since the pandemic however, demand forecasting has been turned on its head. So, we increased our investment of time and capital to ensure that our models, and the systems that support them, are highly adaptive, demonstrate best practice methodologies and remain progressive in a rapidly changing world.

But changes to the hospitality industry are not only about digitalization, automation, and user experience. They are also about optimization.

There are hundreds of decisions – large and small, strategic and operational, difficult and easy – that restaurant managers make every day, like: How many wait staff to schedule? What inventory to order? How many kitchen staff to hire and how much to pay them? How many meals to prepare?

Answering these questions is difficult under normal circumstances. And circumstances are rarely ‘normal’ these days in this industry.

Wanted: Data-driven decisions!

Your operations are subject to a multitude of variables – internal and external. Such as: Is it hot outside? Is it raining? Is it a public holiday? Is there a big game for the local sports team? Is there a new restaurant/shopping mall/gallery/cinema opening nearby? Have any staff called in sick? Is the fresh produce delivery running late? To name a few.

In hospitality, like most other sectors, price is a critical lever in forecasting – so we overlay POS information, plus inventory and workforce costs, with other data points such as competitions, reservations and bookings, traffic, promotions, marketing, social media and reviews, economic indicators, location type, weather, events, public holidays, etc – to make our analytical models more detailed and the accuracy of forecasting more effective over time.

And while you’re trying to wrangle these operational questions to limit losses and waste – often with very incomplete information – you spend less and less time greeting and speaking with your guests or directing and supporting your staff on the restaurant floor.

So, how can you keep an eye on everything – and coordinate all these people, plates, and platforms?

Thanks to the digitalization of restaurants, many of your processes leave a useful by-product – data. And the platforms that have been used to send information from one place to another or to integrate various systems, represent a cornucopia of potential insights.

Data about orders, inventory, staff, customers, bookings, delivery, reviews, weather, sports and cultural events, competition, holidays, health warnings and so much more, is being created, collected, and curated within your restaurants and your service providers.

Couple this raw information stream with advancements in humans’ ability to train machines to rapidly learn from data – finding hidden patterns, discovering valuable insights, or even making decisions – we can continuously upgrade our platform(s) to connect the myriad of data to derive actionable insights. And crucially forecast demand.

These intelligence-based solutions are catalyzing the next evolution of the restaurant industry. An era, in which artificial intelligence powers restaurant operations – cutting costs, driving revenue, reducing operational mistakes, and improving guest service.

But most importantly, an era which liberates restaurant managers and staff to focus on customers and their experiences. Bringing the human touch back to hospitality.

Serving customers, not systems

We, at Fourth, believe that building intelligence – which supports and enhances your ability to run a restaurant while also increasing your face time with staff and customers – is the next revolution in the hospitality industry. And the revolution is here!

Demand forecasting isn’t new to Fourth – forecasting models have been integral to our suite of software solutions for many years. These analytical models form the bedrock of insights on which our hospitality clients rely to make better informed, data-driven decisions – to manage costs, people, and operations.

Since the pandemic however, demand forecasting has been turned on its head. So, we increased our investment of time and capital to ensure that our models, and the systems that support them, are highly adaptive, demonstrate best practice methodologies and remain progressive in a rapidly changing world.

Ultimately, these ever-smarter models provide countless benefits, including:

  • Optimal staff scheduling
  • Lower inventory costs
  • Reduction in waste
  • Improved negotiations with suppliers
  • Increased sales
  • Happier staff and customers

Our team would love to hear from you

Give us a call today +61 2 9044 8114, or click the button below.