In an industry as competitive and with as slim margins as restaurants, accurate forecasting can be make or break for any establishment that wants to be successful. It's an incredibly important tool for restaurant managers who want to make informed decisions about menu planning, staffing, and inventory.
Forecasting is the process of estimating future sales based on past data and current trends.
But what can forecasting do for your establishment, and how do you use it?
The first and foremost benefit of forecasting is that it allows restaurants to make make better decisions about pricing and menu items. If a restaurant knows how much food it's going to sell, it can price it's menu items accordingly. This can help the restaurant avoid overspending on inventory and ensure that it is able to offer a variety of menu items that appeal to customers. Additionally, accurate forecasting can help a restaurant identify which menu items are selling well and which are not, allowing it to make adjustments as needed.
Another huge benefit of forecasting is that it can help restaurants avoid potential financial problems down the road. Without a good handle on future sales it can be easy for a restaurant to overspend on things like inventory and labor. This can lead to financial problems down the road, so it's essential to be as accurate as possible when forecasting sales.
Accurate forecasting also helps restaurants optimize their staffing levels, which can save money on labor costs. If a restaurant knows how many customers it will serve it can staff its establishment accordingly. This can help the restaurant avoid overstaffing, which can lead to higher labor costs.
Additionally, accurate forecasting can help restaurants better predict when peak times will be and plan accordingly. This information is critical for things like scheduling staff and ordering food. By knowing when the restaurant will be busiest, managers can ensure that they have enough staff on hand to handle the increased demand and that they have enough food and supplies to meet the needs of their customers.
Nowadays, there are many software tools available in the market that can assist restaurant managers in forecasting sales, such as Lineup.ai, Tenzo, and many more. These tools take into consideration all the factors that affect sales, such as weather, events, or your competition's sales. They will give you accurate reports on what to expect in terms of how much you sell, allowing restaurant managers to perform analyses to decide how much to order and prep. To take it one step further, some tools, such as ClearCOGS, uses forecasting insights to predict how much you'll need to order and prep and send you the specifics you're looking for. This takes the pressure off the manager to try to decipher the forecasting report and delivers actionable information.