Data offers glimpses into the future that can help restaurants today

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The restaurant industry is undoubtedly facing a lot of challenges. The world may be largely “over” the pandemic, but the economic headwinds it created still loom large – especially for restaurant owners.

Companies across all sectors are desperate for employees, struggling to find and retain high-quality workers, and restaurateurs are no exception. Consider these stats: 30% of former restaurant workers found office positions and many others have turned to industries that are experiencing tremendous growth.

So, how are restaurants supposed to adapt in these changing times and keep their doors open to provide the types of experiences diners expect?

Let your data guide you

No one knows your business better than you, and there are many powerful insights you can glean from your data – insights that can help you predict the future and should be informing your decision making.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a success story in the retail sector: Macy’s ability to buck a trend plaguing most of the industry. Other retailers – Kohl’s, Nike, and Target, just to name a few – have watched their stock shelves overflow with inventory that’s not moving, and they’ve been forced to deeply discount merchandise in an effort to sell it and make way for new arrivals.

But not Macy’s. At Macy’s, there’s no huge stockpile of merchandise laying around, so the retailer has been able to bring in new fall fashions and items way ahead of its competitors. Why? Because Macy’s looked at the data.

Macy’s examined its customer credit card data earlier this year and identified several trends. It noticed, for instance, that people were beginning to spend more money on work and formal clothes again as the world continued its reopening – and it used that insight to guide its purchasing. It changed the items it was stocking because it predicted what was coming, while its competitors didn’t.

At the same time, Macy’s realized that people’s discretionary spending on things like clothing was lessening due to inflation, so it dialed back its inventory ordering.

This data-driven, forward-looking approach has been key to Macy’s success, and it can be used by restaurants too. Your business has a wealth of data: what people are ordering, whether they’re dining in larger groups, whether they’re eating on-site more or ordering more takeout.

Don’t let this data go to waste. Look at it, and use it to inform your spending, inventory, and staffing priorities. You’ll likely pull some trends from this data that can help you stay ahead of your competition.

Don’t hesitate to seek help

I remember during the pandemic going to a restaurant and seeing a sign that said something like, “Please be patient with us. No one wants to work anymore, so please be kind to those that did show up.” I saw similar signs on various occasions.

While things aren’t as bad for restaurants as they were at the height of the pandemic, they’re still in a very precarious position. Working at TTEC, I’ve always known that we provide a service that can really help businesses, but now it almost feels like what we do is a saving grace.

More and more, restaurants are turning to companies like TTEC to help them man the phones, recruit and retain top talent, assist with this massive labor shortage, and step in where restaurants are struggling the most. We can support end-to-end customer experience, from data analysis and insights to managing customer interactions.

I could sell you on why TTEC has been in business for over 40 years and why we have earned numerous awards, but that’s not what this message is about. I want to let you know that we hear you. Yes, your industry is facing some massive problems, but there are solutions.

Whether that solution is with TTEC or not, you have options. If you’re wondering how to tackle these growing issues, even if you’re working with one of our competitors, we’re here to talk. We are here to explore ideas.

Looking back at Macy’s, their positive inventory position stemmed from their curiosity – taking a hard look at their data with a curious lens. This is where a working with the right partner can really make a difference: bringing an outside perspective.

Your industry is facing big changes – now is the time to be curious. Let’s be curious together. To be a resource. To answer any questions. We know the idea of change can be scary, especially when your bottom line is involved, but there are ways to help your bottom line and elevate your business to where you want and need it to be.

You don’t need to commit to anything; we won’t hound or hassle you. But let’s just talk.