MRM EXCLUSIVE: 10 FOH Metrics You Need to be Tracking

Being a restaurant owner comes with a full plate of responsibilities. Between managing budgets, staff, schedules, and keeping customers happy, your to-do list is never-ending. You know tracking metrics is important, but with everything that comes with being an owner, it might not be a top priority. 

Tracking and analyzing metrics are just as important as all the items needed to keep your restaurant running. Specifically, your front of house metrics. These are the metrics that help improve the dining experience by giving you more insight and opportunities to create a lasting relationship with each of your customers. If you're not sure where to start, we've created a guide of the most important front of house metrics you need to be tracking.

1.) Wait Times

Long wait times are one of the leading ways to lose customers, so you'll need a process in place to give accurate calculations. It's possible to calculate wait times manually, but that leaves a lot of room for error. The most accurate measure is a guest management tool that will automatically calculate wait times based on historical data, current table statuses, and the waitlist and reservation book.

2.) Table Turn Times

This is the time it takes for a guest to dine, from the time they sit down to the time they leave. Whether you’re a casual dining or fine dining establishment, this is a metric you need to nail down over time. For a casual dining restaurant, the faster your table turn, the more money you make. Determining your average turn time will help you see areas that need improvement so you can shorten your time.

3.) Seating Efficiencies

How often is a party of two seated at a table that holds six? This can cost you money and jeopardize the guest experience. Seating efficiency means seating the right party at the right table.

4.) Average Party Size

Who frequents your restaurant most often? Families? Couples? Collect this data to create better marketing campaigns, menus, and improve the overall customer experience as you create service that is more tailored to guests.

5.) FOH and BOH Data

Your host staff can view order and item-level status updates within the guest management system. Back of house employees can also view front of house metrics from the kitchen. Unifying this data allows cooks to see orders coming down the pipe, how many people waiting, etc.

6.) Takeout Metrics

A guest management system that has a takeout station allows you to filter carryout, delivery, and online orders on customizable tabs. Your host will have access to such order insights as when an order starts cooking in the kitchen, how long the order has been cooking, and what time the order is ready in the kitchen. This keeps the host at the stand rather than back and forth between the kitchen checking on order status.

7.) Party Sourcing Data

An important metric for every operator to analyze is how your restaurant is being discovered by guests. Some guest management systems will collect data to show the source of your incoming traffic. This metric gives you valuable insight into customer behavior that can be used for marketing initiatives.

8.) Most Popular Dishes

This metric is imperative for menu planning and inventory management. Identify the most popular and the least popular item so you can either eliminate it or substitute it for another meal. This can be tracked through a POS or kitchen display system to determine trends through historical data and reports.

9.) No Shows

You’ll be able to access information about who and why guest didn’t show up at their reserved meal time. You can then make adjustments within a restaurant reservation system based on the gathered information. Furthermore, you can store this history.

10.) Customer Data

Collecting customer data is key for building marketing campaigns and improving the guest experience. You’ll be able to collect and track such items as birthdays, anniversaries, allergies, favorite dishes, and order histories.  Many POS companies will provide this information but won’t let you own it. A third-party data collection company will likely be required to do this. 

Tracking front of house performance metrics increases efficiency and improves the bottom line. Most importantly, it creates a better guest experience. No matter if you track the data manually or use technology, you'll see the major impact it has on your business.