October 12, 2015
With the increasing awareness of data and its impact on decision taken, Business Analytics is one category which is being highly beneficial by harnessing the power of data. Smart city is one of the innovative ways of reshaping geographies at a granular level. While most cities are termed as cities since they meet a certain benchmark, it is important to make sure it has the usage of both human and business intelligence in its functioning. A smart city is smart due to certain components such as smart roadways, smart usage of energy and oil, smart restaurants and educational systems etc. In my previous article, I talked about how we can use analytics to control crime, in this article, I would like to emphasize on how cities can have smart restaurants.
Food is almost a culture in the current era and people and minds connect over lunches and dinners. Various brands have food chains which are popular enough for attracting a huge customer base in a city. Hence, it is important for the business to understand their customers while they are in the restaurant or otherwise. In the current scenario where most businesses are customer driven, a subjective topic like food which belongs to the hospitality industry is definitely customer driven. It is immensely essential to capture the sentiment prevailing in the customer’s mind. One should maximize their chances of engaging with the customers during their in person conversations.
For maximizing the engagement with customers, various processes have to be automated and hence there is usage of iPads and an automated billing system in place. It would be interesting to have the customers choose a smiley elucidating their experience and transaction with the restaurant while they leave. There could be kiosks in the restaurant which could enable this process. The order taken by the waiter should be sent directly to the chef in the kitchen. The Chef should be able to understand the top 10 frequent customers and 10 frequent items ordered by the customer base in order to plan the inventory and improve the response time. It is high time the manager of the restaurant has the statistics available to understand what happened through reports, what is happening and predict the future in terms of sales and transactions.
Various algorithms such as Association Rule Mining can be used to perform the famous Market Basket Analysis and predict the purchases. Along with the items purchased, using the Markov chain technique one should also be able to predict the next propensity purchase. When a customer would return to the store and what would they purchase based on the past data available. All these factors would definitely help the analyst predict the sales more accurately.
Visualization can play a huge role in communicating these insights to the stake holders or the manager who is more interested in the outcome of the analysis rather than the process. Similar process can also be used to identify the most efficient employee of the month for a restaurant and award an incentive for the same. This would not only boost their spirits but also create a healthy working environment. One happy employee is as good as 5 loyal customers. Two visualization dashboards catering to the customer base and employee base can be created by the analyst for the manager of the restaurant. Hence, it is important to leverage the power of statistics by hiring an analyst on a contract or hourly basis. Decisions may go wrong or right but it is good to understand the probability associated with the decision the manager is going ahead with. A combination of current scenario, instincts and the results of statistics would enable the stake holders take more informed decisions about their restaurant. Automating the processes and correct usage of human resources within the restaurant are the second important factors post the taste of the food in any restaurant.
Various non parametric methods such as Decision Trees, Random Forests and Gradient Boosting could be used to understand the driving factors for the sales of the restaurant. While every restaurant does this indirectly, a smart restaurant would perform the analysis and take a more informed decision.
Share your ideas in the comments box below on the concept of Smart Restaurant as well as Smart City and how Analytics can help to build them.