How To: Build a Forecast Dashboard of Avero Reporting
Recipe: 30 Minutes + Essentials or Professional Subscription
Sales forecasts are an essential part of planning and organization for any hospitality or food service operation. Understanding the sales expectations allows you to schedule appropriate staff, order smartly to limit waste, utilize promotions effectively, and agilely react to changing market conditions. This guide will walk you through how to use Avero reporting to generate a sales forecast with minimal effort.
- Why forecast sales?
- Step One - Use a Historical Reference Point
- Step Two - Look at Recent Trends
- Step Three - Bring in Additional Context
Why forecast sales?
A sales forecast is an educated guess of the sales volume you expect based on your current operating and market conditions. This is important to tighten the operation to reduce waste and increase efficiency, maximizing your profitability and improving the guest experience. Forecasts are used to:
- Ensure enough staff are scheduled to serve the expected demand - having too few available may slow them down or have them skip steps that lower the revenue generation for the volume you see
- Ensure only enough staff are scheduled - too many will increase your labor costs without generating enough additional revenue to support the added cost burden
- Tighten your product/vendor orders - PARs are only one piece of ordering, to reduce waste and improve profitability you'll want to order enough product to sell all of your most profitable items without spoilage or waste
- Update your reservation books, promotions, specials, or any other facet of your operation to accommodate or manipulate the expected demand
Step One - Use a Historical Reference Point
Compare recent sales data with a historical touchpoint to understand the change over time. Looking at last year's sales data for the same time period is a great way to understand the sales you should expect, incorporating seasonality and other changes that happen throughout the year. If your restaurant does have sales data going back that far, you can use the previous month as a reference point to understand how sales are changing (and decide what to do about it).
See our guide to setting up a Year-over-Year Comparison report here: Beginner: Year-over-year Comparisons
Pin this report to your Forecast Dashboard to keep tabs on YOY performance.
Step Two - Look at Recent Trends
Sales change over time - see that in action with a trend report. This reporting method allows you to compare the same day-of-week, like Fridays, over time so you can accurately predict the sales you can expect on the next Friday. This can help you understand how much product to order and how many staff members to schedule.
We recommend a rolling 7-12 days in your day-of-week trend to include enough data to determine the averages for the day of week, but not so much time that seasonal changes skew the results.
If you create a day-of-week trend report and pin it to your dashboard, it will always update to yesterday's day of week - so you only have to pin one report to cover each day of week on your dashboard, saving you time!
See our guide to creating a trend report here: Beginner: Day of Week Trends
Pin this report to your Forecast Dashboard to keep tabs on recent performance.
Step Three - Bring in Additional Context
Sales figures aren't everything - context is vital for making an educated forecast. Here are some important contextual data points to consider:
- Weather data - the weather can have a dramatic impact on customer's habits and is important for planning and scheduling for outdoor or seasonal venues and indoor dining rooms alike.
- Avero brings in the weather data for you! This will automatically be included on your day-of-week Trend Report above and in your Avero Calendar!
- Local Events & Sports Schedules - If your business is near an event center, relies on street traffic, or has a loyal local sports fanbase, use this information to plan for changes in expected volume or to plan promotions.
- Top tip! You can input the events you expect to impact business on your Avero Calendar and track the results with one-click. If you aren't sure if it is worth running a promotion or special related to the event, try tracking the organic sales on your calendar and then make a decision once you see the impact.
- Competition - Know your area and where your guests go when they don't visit you. Keep an eye on their menus, promotions, pricing, and offerings to know what you are up against.
- Guest Feedback / Your Knowledge - You know your business - you are on the floor and in the kitchen every day. Use guest feedback and knowledge about your operation to add a layer of interpretation on top of your data. Data can help to validate what you already know or draw your attention to changes you weren't noticing. Use the data in these reports to power your operational decisions.