Waste Not, Want Not – Smart Tools and Managing Restaurant Operations

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From fast-food burger joints to high-end haute cuisine establishments, restaurants must minimize waste of perishable supplies in order to survive. Purchasing just the right amount, meanwhile, requires detailed analysis of sales against expenditures. It’s a delicate balance – if you buy too much, food gets thrown out; not enough, customers aren’t able to order the special. Either way, the bottom line takes the hit.

While estimating supplies is tricky enough to begin with, external factors further complicate the task – was last month’s spike in demand the result of a radio advertising campaign? Or of warm weather that encouraged people to get out?

The fact is, analyzing restaurant supply and demand variables is a complex undertaking, involving thousands of variables and scenarios. Today, innovative restaurant chains are exploring the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cognitive tools to provide insight into restaurant performance. By automating the collection and analysis of data related to various restaurant metrics, the tools enable managers to more closely track supply and demand, as well as better understand the factors that drive and/or inhibit sales.

Through such insight, restaurant managers can enhance their purchasing strategies to better manage inventory, particularly around perishables, and thereby gain a critical competitive edge.

For more information on the potential role of AI and cognitive tools, read my recent article in Modern Restaurant Management.