Skip to main content

Foodservice 301: Advanced Approaches

Advanced operators are looking at their businesses in the most sophisticated ways and using foodservice management reporting systems to analyze everything mentioned previously, plus other cost areas including labor, repairs and maintenance, and deeper productivity measures. There is little from a food cost perspective that advanced operators are not reviewing such as utilities, sampling costs, coupon costs, inventory value on hand and food waste.

From a sales and velocity standpoint, they are also reviewing foodservice customer counts by store, by day, as well as sales and margins of promotional items and combo deals. And they know which stores are in the top 25 percent and the bottom 25 percent when it comes to the primary KPIs — units, food costs, margins, customer counts and other important metrics — to identify stores that need the most attention and support, and those that deserve recognition.

At this level, operators should be running their foodservice programs like true restaurants and from a data and analysis perspective, know their market share both overall and in specific foodservice categories. And they most likely know how their performance compares to other competitors in the marketplace, particularly their primary competitors — quick-service restaurants and fast-casual restaurants.

Strong foodservice management reporting systems enable high-performing chains to establish achievable as well as stretch goals for individual stores by daypart based on real — prior year/month/week-performance. Access to information in real time accelerates business success and minimizes the chances of errors or poor execution continuing undetected for a protracted period of time.

These folks are no longer fretting on how to integrate their retail and cost accounting systems, they already are well integrated and continuously seeking new and improved systems and tools to help them identify areas of weakness and improve performance.

Advanced foodservice operators make the necessary investments in automation and technology because they view this as a business imperative. All operators at this level are scanning; many have touchscreen ordering kiosks and muscular foodservice management reporting systems that provide critical decision-support information and item-level movement in real time.


  • Dig deeper into the data to identify all pertinent areas of strength and weakness, as well as top-performing and low-performing stores/ menu items, etc., to identify actionable areas of improvement.
  • Continue to invest in technology and other management reporting tools that will yield more accurate and faster decision-support data to outflank competitors.
  • Use other restaurants as a barometer for success, including quick-service and fast-casual restaurants, as well as other top retailers in the specialty, grocery, club and mass-merchandise segments.

"We've been doing scanning for over 20 years and I can't imagine how you would manage any part of the business without it. Specifically in foodservice… it also helps call out possible weaknesses in your menu."

— Jennifer vespole, Quick Chek Corp.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds