business-intelligence | 14 mins read

Business Intelligence Examples- 3 Case Studies of BI's Impact on Restaurants

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Debdutta Bhattacharjee

By Debdutta Bhattacharjee

What is Business Intelligence?

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Doing business is not simply an interplay between buying and selling, or demand and supply. It is more dynamic than that. Business involves forecasting, planning, and decision making. It is conducted with a sense of purpose, and the ultimate purpose of any business is to minimize costs and maximize sales. That purpose cannot be fulfilled unless the organization pays due attention to the data generated as a byproduct of business activities. These data sets hold the key to an organization's success!

Working blindly without reviewing information on the organization's performance across several indices produces blind spots, causing money and opportunity to go down the drain. However, it's not just enough to gather data; it's imperative to analyze, interpret, and draw meaningful actionable insights from it.

Diligent data collection and analysis allow a company to strategize with the goal of reducing wasteful expenditures, discovering bargains that are profitable, improving customer service and customer experience, producing high-quality goods and services, and boosting income. A business ignoring business intelligence is an aimlessly drifting business.

Every company possesses a sea of raw data that originates from a variety of data sources, including Point of Sale (POS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), staff management, business management, and other systems. Business intelligence software collects and stores data from numerous external and internal sources in a central location for linking and comparing it. As a result, a data warehouse is formed. By mining the data stored in this 'warehouse', a company can get a broad view of its performance.

Despite its importance, business intelligence, or more specifically business reporting, does not go beyond descriptive analytics, and simply deals with providing summaries of previous and present data. Business analytics, on the other hand, is essentially in the nature of predictive analytics. It supports the company in understanding the 'hows', 'whys' and 'what nexts', and not merely the 'whats' associated with the business. It makes use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and machine learning to generate forecasts and suggestions.

Business intelligence software simplifies big data analysis and data mining and makes sure that tactical and operational decisions are firmly based on data. Data driven business decisions provide an organization with a competitive edge and long-term stability.

Business owners can, in fact, take charge of the business intelligence activities of their organizations themselves. Self service BI, in this regard, refers to data analysis that allows people without a background in BI to access and examine data sets themselves.

How Does BI Software Work?

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Business intelligence tools specializing in data reporting help in integrating information from diverse sources. This massive amount of data might become unmanageable without being organized and interpreted by sophisticated business intelligence tools.

For example, a restaurant that buys and sells products often and in large quantities will need a precise inventory count to avoid undersupply, oversupply, monetary leaks, and food wastage that aren't always obvious. Under the weight of huge quantities of data, inventory counts performed manually, or with the aid of simple spreadsheets, may be error-prone. Data management is, however, simplified thanks to business intelligence software.

After the data warehouse is set up, the organization may take the help of business intelligence software for number-crunching, which would develop actionable insights. These insights would then form the foundation of business decisions. In the long run, the more robust the decision making, the more stable and competitive the company will be.

Reports, maps, dashboards, graphs, and tables are used to creatively combine and arrange inert data so that organizations can readily analyze and act upon them.

Business owners can get a panoramic view of the organization's functioning and a look into more particular parts of the business by mining the data housed in the data warehouse.

Business intelligence systems help in developing easily understandable data visualizations that are able to highlight Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and bring data to life. BI systems bring together a range of data analysis methods. These applications comprise real time BI, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), open-source BI, collaborative BI, cloud and software as a service BI, and enterprise reporting, among others.

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Actionable Insights for McDonald's

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The American fast food behemoth McDonald's provides one of the best examples of business intelligence impacting Restaurant Operations. McDonald's restaurants serve over 68 million people every day in more than 100 countries worldwide. The fast food chain operates more than 35,000 stores throughout the world and has over 1.7 million employees.

McDonald's has grown into an organization that makes decisions based on data. It has been able to develop insights that are more comparable by aggregating data from all its stores and building systems of data visualization.

This has allowed McDonald's to understand its customers in a more holistic way. The generation of actionable outcomes through robust Data Management has resulted in money and time saved. Here's how big data is used in the company for optimizing the experiences of customers-

1. Adding value to drive-thrus-
McDonald's has long struggled with drive-thru waiting times. Let's assume that you are a customer who had visited a McDonald's store to order food for yourself. However, at the store, you find yourself to be stuck in a queue for a long time with the family in front of you placing a large order, which is taking a considerable amount of time to get processed. Naturally, your experience won't be too good, and you may not be too enthused to return.

How can the company solve this problem? Predictive analysis allows the company to anticipate when large groups of customers are expected to arrive. The business planners of the company can then ensure that more staff members are scheduled to work busy shifts.

2. Using mobile apps to personalize client experience-
The debut of McDonald's app was a huge success. Customers can quickly order and pay for food through the app, and the company receives real time access to critical customer data in exchange. This information can be utilized to formulate customer-specific offers. This would result in more repeat visits and greater purchases.

3. Importance of digital menus-
The fast food business has benefited greatly from digital menus. These menus are constantly modified and optimized, and they can be changed on the basis of real time information and client data.

Menu options can also be modified depending upon the time of day, weather, or any major events taking place in the neighborhood. For instance, digital menus may be used for promoting McFlurry ice cream, cold drinks, and fresh salads on a scorching summer day.

Data Analysis at Chipotle

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Chipotle is a renowned restaurant franchise with over 2,500 locations across the globe. It is a leading fast casual restaurant chain in the US.

Forbes spoke with Chris Brandt, Chipotle's Chief Marketing Officer, to learn how the Food Service company was affected by the Covid pandemic and the way it took the help of NetBase Quid, a social media analytics organization, to serve its customers better and discover opportunities in adversity.

Social data patterns could be recognized quickly by Chipotle with the help of actionable insights from NetBase Quid, and as a result, customer requirements could be clearly defined. Chipotle made use of social analytics to deeply understand the customers' perception of the Chipotle brand so that it could make better business decisions and formulate more prudent strategies.

Brandt revealed that the fast casual chain leveraged social media analytics to perform a wide range of activities, starting from customer service, marketing, and communications, to food safety, legal affairs, and so on.

When the pandemic broke out, Chipotle used social media analytics extensively for better understanding its customers' demands and needs, Brandt added. The fast casual chain modified its advertising in March 2020 to include free delivery and put a primacy on the safety of its employees and customers. It made use of NetBase Quid to closely monitor the change in the behavior of the customers and swiftly built programs to match the consumers' mindset.

Real time analytics around the Chipotle brand in view of the Covid pandemic, gave reasons for the management of the fast casual chain to pivot the business.

"The global pandemic shifted consumer behavior to lean towards a community-focused society, further igniting a passion inside of many for making purchasing decisions that drive difference in the world around them," Brandt told Forbes.

The management made use of conventional Chipotle holidays such as National Burrito Day for honoring frontline Covid warriors. Accordingly, 200,000 burritos were given away to healthcare workers for free. It also matched a part of the purchases of 'Thank You' e-gift cards by donating to Direct Relief, which is an organization that provides healthcare workers across the world with personal protective equipment.

Chipotle took good care of its own frontline employees by expanding emergency leave benefits, issuing assistance pay, and removing hurdles to tuition reimbursement right away. To protect its guests and employees, the company upgraded its safety measures.

Predictive Analytics for Starbucks

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According to a 2018 Forbes article, Starbucks runs 25,000 stores across the world and witnesses 90 million transactions every week. The coffee behemoth relies heavily on AI and big data to inform direct marketing, sales, and other business decisions.

The Starbucks rewards program and mobile app greatly boosted the amount of data the company could acquire and put to use for extracting information on customer buying habits. This gave the coffee giant a deeper knowledge about its customers.

As of 2018, the reward program had as many as 13 million active users, while the mobile app had over 17 million active subscribers. These consumers provide an enormous quantity of data about what, when, and where they purchase coffee and related products. This data can then be juxtaposed with other information about holidays, weather, and special offers.

Therefore, even when customers visit a Starbucks store for the first time, the store's POS system may 'recognize' the customers and send the barista the customers' preferred orders. Additionally, the app will recommend new products that the customers may be willing to try out.

This business intelligence is powered by Starbucks' Digital Flywheel initiative. It is a cloud-based AI engine which recommends food and drink products to the consumers. Its recommendations change according to the weather, whether it is a weekday or a holiday, and the location that the customers are in.

Planners at Starbucks don't simply rely on gut instinct for deciding where stores are to be opened; instead, they use Atlas, an Esri mapping and business intelligence tool, for harnessing the power of business intelligence and business analytics. Before recommending a new store location, this program analyzes a large amount of data, including traffic patterns, demographics, distance from other Starbucks stores, and so on.

The importance of business intelligence lies in the fact that in the case of Starbucks, reliance on data has ensured that updating menu is a success. Accordingly, although a number of Starbucks stores sell alcohol, the company has chosen which stores would serve 'Starbucks Evenings' on the basis of reports that indicate the areas where alcohol consumption is the highest.

Special offers are also driven by data on the basis of the circumstance at that particular time. For instance, during a heat wave in Memphis, Tennessee, Starbucks sponsored a local Frappucino campaign and persuaded customers to fight the heat.

Moreover, despite the fact that Starbucks offers 87,000 beverage combinations, it continues to track bestselling drinks in order to make menu changes as and when needed.

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Top 3 BI Software for Restaurants

1. Zip POS Dashboard-
Analyzing data might be difficult if the organization's POS system fails to appropriately aggregate data. A business intelligence tool like Zip POS Dashboard can help here.

Its POS reports can display trends and patterns by year, month, week, day, and hour. Businesses can gain a holistic perspective of transactional activity by having access to all this information.

The Zip POS Dashboard business intelligence system gives businesses real time access to data generated by the POS system and displays it in the form of automatically-produced charts and graphs. These can be used to evaluate a company's performance and accurately identify operational difficulties.

POS systems are often faced with the problem of sales data getting lost after a while. Zip POS Dashboard assures that all information is safe and secure. The Zip POS Dashboard software can be accessed for free from the Hubworks app store for restaurants.

2. Restaurant365-

This cloud-based accounting and operations platform makes restaurant management hassle-free. The program fully integrates the POS system, suppliers, bank, and payroll provider. Everything needed to run a restaurant is contained within a single system, as a result of which operational efficiency is improved. Profitability in turn is boosted too.

With the use of mobile devices, Restaurant365 allows business owners to conveniently count stocks. This software system assists restaurants in making educated forecasts based on current and historical sales patterns. It allows business owners to view and analyze sales and labor statistics for all of their shop locations in one place.

Restaurant365 has four subscription packages. Prices start at $289 per site per month and go up to $489 per site per month.

3. Power BI-

This business intelligence reporting and analytics solution lets firms develop a data-driven culture, ensuring that business intelligence benefits everybody.

Built-in AI capabilities, data visualizations, customized and pre-built data connectors, and Excel connectivity allow businesses to identify and share key insights.

Apart from end-to-end encryption, the Power BI system lets businesses safeguard their data with characteristics like sensitivity labeling and real time access monitoring.

Power BI Pro is priced at $13.70 per user per month, while Power BI Premium is priced at $27.50 per user per month, and $6,858.10 per capacity per month.

Business Intelligence FAQs

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Q. Are business intelligence systems affordable for small and medium businesses?

A- Until even a few years ago, you had to be a big enterprise to access, visualize, model, and report business information. Cloud-based technologies, on the other hand, have lowered the cost of business intelligence systems and made them easily available for small and medium businesses as well.

Q. What is the difference between business intelligence software and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software?

A- BI solutions are part of high-level discussions to make tactical decisions. These solutions have access to the company's data in their entirety. This includes both strategic data (related to growth, revenue, and profit), and operational data (associated with daily sales). An ERP, on the other hand, is a system for providing a precise operational picture of a company, frequently without taking the help of trend analysis, data comparison, or insight-generation.

Q. How can data security be attained?

A- Data security is a critical need for any organization. A BI solution must be able to meet the same high performance, reliability, and security standards as are expected of the rest of the systems of the company. For data security, renowned BI systems make use of prevalent security infrastructures.

Q. How can Business Intelligence software be utilized?

A- BI involves a set of methods and tools for transforming raw data into understandable information from the standpoint of implementation. Designing, modeling, and visualization are all part of the process. This aids in the execution of effective company strategies.

A circular approach is used for the successful implementation of business intelligence software. It starts with the basics, challenges assumptions, and looks to improve outcomes. The final aim is to generate a series of dashboards and reports to furnish data in an accessible, attractive, and meaningful manner.

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"Our customer's trust is what keeps us in business. They expect fresh tasting food with no threat of ill-born diseases. Zip HACCP keeps us compliant with HACCP and FDA regulations through its integrated temperature solutions, food safety assurance, and end-to-end task reporting. We also use Zip Inventory to save time on inventory counts and have much-needed predictability to our ordering process. The Hubworks business management apps are perfect for our restaurants."

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