Lightspeed Advanced Insights, a new tool from Canadian e-commerce platform Lightspeed, aims to help the hospitality sector improve.
A struggling sector
The UK hospitality sector is struggling, due to a series of shocks that have hit it over the past decade, both domestic and global.
“The hospitality industry is still dealing with Brexit and pandemic hangovers where staff either left the industry to find other work or left the country due to freedom of movement restrictions,” Liam Crooks, EMEA MD at Lightspeed, told FoodNavigator.
“Restaurants are having to pay higher wages and offer more benefits to their staff to keep them loyal. The cost-of-living crisis also has a part to play in this. To deliver the best possible customer experience, staff need to not only receive decent pay and benefits, but they also need continuous training. The best way to identify staff strengths and areas for improvement is to use cash register software with key employee performance reports.”
One of the key ways of keeping a business afloat is retaining staff. The sector reports that staff turnover is at 30%, and a YouGov report shows that 42% of people in hospitality jobs leave in 30 days. The tool aims to change this.
“Top selling products, turnover per employee, average spend or tip amount are some of the key success indicators that can be monitored through Lightspeed Advanced Insights,” Crooks told us.
“With an objective view of employee performance, owners can fine-tune their training strategies and upskill their front-of-house staff. This can lead to a virtuous circle: better trained, more successful employees who are more fulfilled, more committed and therefore less likely to leave - avoiding the additional costs associated with staff turnover.”
The tool also enables shift patterns to be adapted both to staff skills and restaurant needs. “Staff scorecards also help to better prepare the planning of each service, playing to the strengths of individual staff members. For example, if one waiter handles the evening pressure better, and another excels in increasing the average spend with group bookings, their shifts can be automatically allocated accordingly. This can be achieved through the integration of staff planning software, such as Planday or Skello with the cash register software.
“Similarly, Advanced Insights can be programmed according to a restaurant’s priorities, enabling managers to track who is encouraging customers to add craft cocktails to 20% of meals, for example, or selling a bottle of wine to 5% of tables. This information is super valuable and it helps owners to work with servers and train them to achieve higher sales and increase tips.”
The tool is not just about retaining staff. The other half of a good hospitality business is the customers, and the tool aims to help make customer experience better.
“Lightspeed Advanced Insights automatically collects data based on every card transaction that happens in the restaurant,” Crooks told us, “and is designed to create digestible and actionable information that you don’t need to be a data scientist to decipher.”
At the moment, restaurant customer retention rate is about 30%. To improve it, the tool helps to find out what customers want.
With the data collected by Lightspeed Advanced Insights, restaurants can use its Magic Menu Quadrant feature find out which meals are the most popular among customers, along with “One-Hit Wonders”, “Underperformers”, and “Hidden Gems”.
The tool also keeps sales analytics and tracks whether guests respond to new sales and promotions by ascertaining whether promotions caused a greater influx of guests than normal business hours.
Reducing food waste
As regulations change, restaurants need to keep up. Specifically, the UK government’s Environment Act 2021 will soon come into force. Lightspeed’s tool enables them to do that more efficiently.
The act, which means that food waste must be separated from general waste for collection in restaurants, and those creating the waste will be responsible for all recycling fees, poses a challenge to the hospitality sector. But the tool can help reduce waste and thus decrease restaurants’ costs.
“Advanced Insights allows users to detect fluctuations in demand by day of the week or season and adjust their purchases accordingly,” Crooks told us, “which ultimately helps to limit food waste. A win-win for the environment and for the profitability of restaurants.
“This type of data management can be taken a step further by using AI platforms such as Inpulse to automate stock management. The software not only analyses past sales to forecast raw material requirements, but also relies on external factors, such as weather and seasonality, to anticipate sales and order the right quantities at the right time.
“Combined with the integration into a cash register software, the tool refines its predictive algorithms and automates supplier orders accordingly. For example, if a dish has increased its selling price, the tool will then synchronise sales and stock data in real time to predict sales over the medium to long term.”