Why Sales Forecasting Software is an Essential Part of your Restaurant's Tech Stack

Sales forecasting software is an integral part of your restaurant tech stack, with all the integrations needed to share data seamlessly across platforms.

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Sales forecasting software is an integral part of your restaurant tech stack, with all the integrations needed to share data seamlessly across platforms.
Branden McRill
October 3, 2022

Sales forecasting has always been important to get an accurate picture of the future for your restaurant. It allows you to make better-informed decisions about labor scheduling, purchasing, and business growth. 

But with AI and machine learning coming into the picture and far more data available to analyze (think weather, holidays, and other outside data sources in addition to historical sales data), sales forecasts can be predicted with up to 95% accuracy.

The magic comes from machine learning being able to analyze a ton of data about your restaurant and its surrounding location. And much of that data comes from your own systems. 

That’s why it’s essential to place your sales forecasting software as an integral part of your restaurant tech stack, with all the integrations needed to share data seamlessly across platforms.

What is restaurant sales forecasting software?

Sales forecasting software uses your restaurant’s data combined with local information to predict future demand. This helps operators make better decisions, optimize labor schedules, and purchase the optimal amount of food.

Getting accurate forecasts can help reduce labor costs, improve efficiency, reduce food waste, and boost profitability.

The traditional method of forecasting was to use historical sales data to calculate the likely demand on a given day. Calculations made by hand would take the data from previous Friday evenings, for example, and try and work out the likely demand for the next Friday. 

Recently, AI and machine learning have revolutionized the way sales forecasting is done. And the accuracy of predictions. Restaurant sales forecasting software takes into account the same historical sales data, plus other data from reservations systems, the POS, and even social media platforms, as well as local traffic, event, and weather data.

With AI making forecasts with this wealth of data, it’s unsurprising that forecasts are far more accurate and reliable. And sales forecasting software allows you to track forecasts versus what actually happens, so you know exactly how accurate it is.

How sales forecasting software integrates with other tools

Sales forecasting offers huge benefits to restaurants, but it must be integrated with other systems to gather the data required. Let’s take a look at the essential tools and integrations you need in your tech stack to get the most out of sales forecasting software.

Point of sale 

With a POS integration, your sales forecasting software can pull sales data directly from your POS. It’s not just raw sales numbers, the POS has data on sales by a number of categories. 

This means the software can be granular with its forecasts. It can not only predict the total sales  during a service but which products or dishes will sell best. This allows for more control over purchasing, leading to less food waste, lower food costs, and more efficient everything.

Labor scheduling

Restaurant sales forecasting software integrates with your labor scheduling tools to share data between the two systems. It allows operators to make a direct comparison between scheduled labor and optimal labor based on your budget. That helps you have the right number of staff on shift, give them schedules further in advance, and keep your team happier in the long run.

You can also use data from your labor management tools to help you figure out your ideal labor cost percentage. This is the measure of how much you spend on labor as a proportion of sales. Keeping this figure in check lets you know that you are keeping your labor costs under control.

Overall, syncing data between your sales forecasting software and labor management tools helps you make better labor scheduling decisions to improve retention and reduce your labor costs. 

Inventory management

Inventory data is useful in making forecasts, but if you integrate restaurant sales forecasting with your inventory and purchasing systems, you can also set it up to inform your purchasing decisions. 

It can take in the data needed to tell you your food cost percentage so you can optimize it to reduce food costs and food waste. And it can feed information back to your inventory management system to give you insights into exactly what to purchase and when.

Reservations

Reservations data is another key factor in predicting demand. Not only does it know how many tables have been booked, but it holds customer profile information that can help predict what will be ordered. 

Integration with your reservations system means you can pull data from your reservations system to inform sales forecasts and use customer demographic information to predict what will sell by category. 

Reporting 

Sales forecasting software has all the insights you need to make better decisions. You can rely on it as the reporting tool in your tech stack as it takes in more information than any other piece.

In fact, it goes further than most other reporting tools and gives you real-time insights, including: 

  • Forecasts up to a month ahead 
  • Comparison between forecasts and actual sales in real-time
  • Real-time staffing actions to tweak your labor costs during service
  • Hour-by-hour forecasts to inform your purchasing decisions

Make Sales Forecasting Software Part of Your Tech Stack

Sales forecasting is more than just predicting how busy you will be. It impacts every aspect of your business, from using POS data, to informing labor scheduling and purchasing, to giving you the insights you need to make better business decisions.

A system like 5-Out is easy to set up with integrations built-in so that within five minutes the system will be taking in information from your POS and labor tools, not to mention local traffic, weather, and event information. 

See how much 5-Out can inform your decisions and become an integral part of your tech stack, schedule a demo today.

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