Ryan Williams
Jeremy Julian

What is Big Data & What it Means to You?

April 13, 2018

The hospitality industry is notorious for slow adoption of new information technology practices, and our current topic is no exception to the rule: Big Data.

 

Big data has been a term thrown around and buzzed about since late 2015, early 2016. But now, restaurants are harnessing and interpreting data to drive better decision making. And this high-level decision making and strategy is no longer an option – it’s a must.

 

What is Big Data?
You will get different answers from people, but a basic one-sentence definition is: Big data is a collection of extremely large data sets from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that that can be analyzed to reveal human behavioral and interaction patterns, trends, and associations.

 

Unpacking the definition above, big data gives you the ability to predict and anticipate people’s actions. Ever wonder how many people come in for the lunch rush on Thursdays? When does the rush start? How much do they spend? Does this correlate to the amount of Facebook likes and comments you receive during the week? All these questions, and many more, can be answer through big data analysis.

 

So, where does this data come from? Big data is sourced from web behavior, social media interactions, financial records, transactions, call center information and point-of-sale and many more. All these metrics brought together, is what puts the “big” in big data.

 

How do restaurant owners take advantage of all this information? Owner/operators can analyze the past and now to forecast for the future. And it has become ever more accessible with cloud-computing and POS Systems such as the NorthStar Order Entry System. By compiling these data points and interactions, restaurant managers can determine when and how many people to staff, day by day. They can identify previously unnoticed trends like which menu items are surging or trailing off in popularity. How much of certain ingredients do you need to buy and when? How do various locations perform against one another? A dive into big data can answer questions you didn’t even know you needed the answer to (but you do!).

 

With today’s real-time analytics, the possibilities are bounded only by your imagination. Virtually any question you have about making your restaurant more profitable, from operational efficiencies to customers’ real thoughts on your product, can be answered by consulting the right set of data.

 

Every enterprise needs to fully understand big data – what it is to them, what is does for them, what it means to them – and the potential of data-driven marketing, starting today. Do not wait.

 

Once you start tackling big data, you’ll discover trends about customers, increase operational efficiency and human capital effectiveness. Best of all, you can use the insights you gather at each step along the way to start improving your customer engagement strategies. That way, you’ll put big data to work and immediately add more value to both your offline and online interactions, thus, increasing your bottom line.

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