Big Data is revolutionizing food service

Portion size is an important consideration for a healthy diet.
Portion size is an important consideration for a healthy diet.

All businesses depend on interactions with their customers for long term success. From Facebook making decisions about what status updates users want to see to grocery stores understanding what to put on their end caps, Big Data drives their decisions. Instead of the typical data collection methods, where everything is plugged into a spreadsheet that limits how the information can be reviewed, Big Data offers a variety of ways to interrogate information and identify patterns.

Here are just three ways that the food service industry is using Big Data to revolutionize how business is run.

Test & Learn

Word of mouth is no way to run a business. Looking at receipts and asking managers which dishes were most popular is good anecdotal evidence, but to really be sure of whether or not a dish is cost effective, popular, and worth continuing to serve, many food service companies are turning to Big Data. QSR Magazine, in an article about Big Data, talks about how Subway has used one of its locations to test out new menu items and determine their potential success before developing and pushing them out to all restaurants.

Menu Analytics

Anyone who has worked in the restaurant business for any length of time knows that a menu is more than just a list of items that restaurant guests can purchase. Graphic design tricks as simple as¬†putting a box around an item name, or adding the word “succulent” to a description of “fresh fish” can increase orders and change purchasing patterns. But to know if your menu changes have worked, you need to have a clear picture of how many items have been ordered with old and new menu designs.

Big Data can help you discover this information.

Customer Patterns

Training servers and operators to offer add-ons is standard business practice, but some customers express frustration at being asked. Is it possible to anticipate which customers will be interested in suggestions, and which will be put off, by the time of day that they’re eating, or the brand of credit card they carry? Big Data says yes. Big Data can help restaurant and food service managers determine what items will be most successful with certain types of customers at certain times of day.

For businesses within the food service industry, having access to Big Data can help them make their business more cost effective, more successful, and help it to produce less waste.

Tell us how your business already makes use of Big Data!

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