Why Exception-Based Reporting Is Crucial for Restaurant Operators

Exception-based reporting empowers restaurant operators to cut out operational inefficiencies, overcome training gaps, save money, and address internal fraud head-on.

August 19, 2021     3 minute read

In the information age, even restaurants should be embracing the power of data analytics, particularly exception-based reporting (EBR). It provides restaurant operators with an effective and reliable way to optimize operations, save money, and reduce fraud. 

Read on to learn more about EBR and how it can benefit your restaurant. 

What Is Exception-Based Reporting?

EBR tracks suspicious data irregularities, such as an unusual number of voided orders at the point of sale (POS). Doing so helps identify potential occurrences of fraud or theft. 

By targeting specific metrics, a restaurant is able to make data-informed decisions rather than rely on manual means. Historically, managers and staff have had to lean on spreadsheets recording data by hand, usually sometime after a transaction has occurred. It’s laborious translating this data into meaningful and actionable information.

Often, when it came to theft or shrink, restaurants had to rely on observant employees noticing suspicious behavior, which meant a lot went unnoticed. Most employees are preoccupied with their own tasks, not focused on spotting fraud. With EBR, a restaurant can monitor POS events in real time, flagging anything that deviates from expectations. 

However, EBR is not only relevant to loss prevention, but can be used to identify all sorts of operational inefficiencies, as well. 

Ways to Use EBR at Your Restaurant

EBR provides your restaurant with abundant options for optimizing operations and preventing fraud. Let’s go through them.

Operational Inefficiencies

Look for any processes that can be automated. A rigorous analytics system will be far more effective than any manual one.

For instance, EBR can flag when an unusual amount of a particular ingredient (such as lettuce) is being processed during a certain shift. This event would trigger further investigation by managers to determine what can be done to recorrect the anomaly. Perhaps a particular cook is unknowingly too generous with their servings. 

Training Gaps

It’s difficult on your own to discern all the knowledge areas staff members may be lacking. A more complete picture of what’s happening in your restaurant can reveal these gaps. 

Building on the previous example, not only could EBR help with operational inefficiencies, but a manager now has reliable data to begin a conversation with that particular cook. This becomes an opportunity to gather more information in person and provide valuable training for a team member, such as instruction on how much lettuce is appropriate for each entree. Once addressed, EBR can continue to monitor lettuce amounts to see if they return to expected serving levels. 

Labor Savings

At the minimum, employing a data analytics system will save time by no longer requiring staff to manually input and calculate data. EBR can also be used to identify areas where staff time might be better spent. 

Imagine the Thursday night shift at your restaurant sells fewer entrees per staff member than other nights of the week. While EBR may flag this, you still need to analyze what this anomaly really means. You do a bit of digging and you find out fewer people patronize your restaurant on Thursday nights than you previously thought to be the case. So, you decide to move a couple of team members to a busier shift. Your staff is now in a position to better succeed. The other shift receives more help, and you possibly save your restaurant money.

Internal Fraud

Theft and fraud are big challenges for restaurants. This can come in a variety of forms, including loyalty programs abuse, error corrects, voided orders, auto-gratuity scams, undercharging scams, time theft, and food theft. EBR can monitor for any deviation from reporting norms to identify where these instances may occur.

For example, your data analytics may observe an unusually high number of voided items occurring during a specific server’s shifts. You follow up and discover a staff member has been charging customers full price for their orders, but then voiding certain items later and pocketing the money. This is just one of many ways monitoring POS can reveal internal fraud. 

It’s no longer feasible to operate a restaurant without the power of analytics, especially EBR. So, whether you’re hoping to cut out operational inefficiencies, overcome training gaps, save money, or address internal fraud head-on, employing EBR is crucial to your restaurant’s success. 

With nearly three decades of experience, The Zellman Group is a vital partner for restaurant operators seeking to reduce instances of fraud and optimize operations. Zellman provides an unbiased analysis of data, relying on experience and expertise to help identify trends and anomalies. Contact us today to learn more. 

Data Analytics, EBR, Exception-based reporting

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