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National Restaurant Association - Big data basics

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Big data basics

Big data can help you get to know your audience. What are the demographics of your customers? What are their ages? Income levels? Where do they live? Do they have kids? What kind of food do they like? Do they drink wine? Do they have allergies? Where else do they dine out?

Pairing data from traditional internal sources in your operation with external input shows the power of big data. But it can also be overwhelming. These tips can help determine your focus and build your plan.

  • Start small. Don’t let big data overwhelm you. Divide it into bite-sized pieces you can tackle one step at a time.
  • Have a goal in mind. What problems are you trying to solve? Are food costs too high? Are there scheduling problems? Do you want to know which menu items are the most popular? Collect the data that makes the most sense to solve these specific challenges.
  • Don’t get technology-tied. Mobile apps, online ordering and table tablets are amazing technologies, but think about what you’re going to do with the data you collect from those channels.
  • No “one-size fits all” solution. Many big data solutions are available, but no single one will solve all of your problems.  Identify your needs, then find a solution that fits.
  • Appoint a chief data officer. Designate someone in your organization to be your data steward. It could be your IT director or your marketing person, but the person needs to be a silo buster who has your permission to build cross-functional data collection teams.

For more tips and information on how to get started building your big data strategy, download our free guide, “Big Data and Restaurants.”

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