Restaurants and cafés are always on the lookout for a competitive edge. In a business environment where data is power, restaurants are turning to data analytic software to learn more about their customer and find out ways to improve the guest experience.

“With the explosion of information, the data that businesses are collecting is extremely valuable,” explained Sharryn Napier, vice president and Australia/New Zealand regional director of Qlik, a provider of business intelligence and visualisation software. “It shows where they’re eating, how regularly they go out, what they’re ordering. In a market as competitive as foodservice, the more you know about your customer and can tailor your business to suit them, the more likely they are to come back.”

Auckland’s Savor Group, which includes Seafarers, Ostro Brasserie & Bar and Ebisu, is leveraging Qlik’s data analytics platform to revolutionise operations from the front-of-house to the boardroom. Qlik enables the restaurant group to analyse data collected across all its outlets to better understand drivers of success, promotion performance and supplier value, together with food wastage and costs.

“The hospitality industry is always moving with the latest consumer trends, meaning restaurants are looking for new ways to innovate and attract customers,” she said. “For years, restaurants have wanted to understand their customers better but Savor Group is actually doing it – applying levels of analytics that are not just keeping themselves relevant in a competitive industry but also improving the bottom line.”

The best thing about the system is that anyone can use it, said Napier. “It’s designed to be flexible. Chefs can use it to improve their menu while management can use it to run the business more effectively. It’s all the same data, all in the same system.”

Rather than relying on incomplete data, businesses want a system that can provide consistent figures as well as motivate and engage its staff to use this information. Since Savor Group started using the software, the data collected has provided them with insights on sales and business performance, allowing backroom staff to lead competitive negotiations with suppliers and partners. For chefs and kitchen staff, the data has helped the restaurants accurately identify high and low selling dishes. Not only does this lead to more carefully tailored menus, it also means that specific promotions can be run with a focus on the menu items which appeal the most to particular groups.

Qlik has had a presence in New Zealand for about three years and in that time, business has quadrupled. “It’s been an amazing market for us,” said Napier. “I think a lot of the customers have seen the value of being able to put the right data into the hands of the people making the decisions. It’s an incredibly powerful thing, and it’s certainly resonated in New Zealand.”