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A Path to Data-Driven Excellence: How to Access the Data You Need and Make It Matter

How the 3Vs of Big Data Can Transform Restaurants and Food Service Providers


In 2001, the research firm Gartner published an article that spoke about the future of data management. Little did it know that the three alliterative characteristics it outlined would be championed as foundational aspects of big data, still referenced today as the 3Vs of big data1.

Enter the modern-day restaurant. For restaurants and food service providers, big data and its three foundational characteristics often feel like a distant destination—well-suited for large enterprises, but just out of reach for the everyday food establishment. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Across industries and businesses of all sizes and sectors, big data is making big changes. In retail, for instance, big data analytics have been shown to optimize operating margins by approximately 60 percent2. Imagine the cost-saving potential for your restaurants.

The key to achieving data-driven excellence in the restaurant is being supported by a technology partner with an intrinsic understanding of your data needs, and the ability to meet them.

The 3Vs of big data can be applied to determine if your provider is up to the task. Let’s take a closer look.

V1: Volume

There’s no shortage of data in today’s hyper-connected world. In fact, by 2020, it’s anticipated that 1.7 megabytes of information will be generated per second, per person3. In the restaurant, where guests regularly interface with data-collecting technologies ranging from omni-channel point of sale to loyalty programs, massive volumes of information are continuously aggregated.

But this data is only as useful as your ability to sort through its massive quantity and derive relevant and timely insights that allow you to deliver better guest experiences, more efficiently than ever.

Handling data volume requires a technology infrastructure that is capable of standardizing, collecting, aggregating, and interpreting large amounts of data—often spanning thousands of locations and multiple technology systems—all in real-time.

Can your technology partner handle volume? Look for a partner that has:

experience with large-scale, global restaurant communities.
the ability to standardize data across a large number of disparate locations and systems.
a clean track record when it comes to security.

V2: Velocity

Food isn’t the only thing that moves quickly through your restaurant. Data moves even faster, shining a light on all of your guests, locations, and operational activities in real-time. Add in data from social media and geo-location, and your restaurant team is drinking from a big data firehose—with thousands of new data points arising every passing second. Much of this data has a limited shelf life, which means that your restaurant must be able to translate data into action quickly.

In order to unleash data-driven transformation in the restaurant environment, you must not only handle a large volume of data, but also process that data instantaneously when it is most relevant. Data velocity is getting increasing attention across sectors, enabling high-velocity decision making focused on improving the customer experience.

Take Freddy’s frozen custard, for example, which leveraged high velocity data about LTO popularity to make critical inventory-related decisions and incorporate a popular LTO as a regular menu item.

Can your technology partner handle velocity? Look for a partner that can:

deliver solutions that are informed by real-time big data insights.
move quickly and demonstrate a high level of agility.
offer a technology stack capable of processing data rapidly then translating it into action.

V3: Variety

Omni-channel interactivity may be a guest’s best friend, but it adds new complexity to data variety. Data variety refers to different flavors of data—from unstructured to structured, qualitative to quantitative, and historical to real-time.

But the omni-channel point of sale is only the beginning. Enter data from kitchen equipment, inventory processes, and labor practices, and you’ve got an abundance of data that is rich with insights capable of transforming your restaurant.

Equally important to data variety is data standardization, which refers to the homogenization of data across locations in order to enable cross-analysis.

The key to success for today’s restaurants is embracing data variety where it adds depth of meaning, and eliminating it where it inhibits the ability to analyze business-critical data sets.

This requires a partner with not only an understanding of big data, but also an intimate understanding of the restaurant environment and its many key performance indicators. Such a partner will examine your data through the eyes of experience, empowering you to make the best possible use of each insight.

Can your technology partner handle variety? Look for a partner that knows:

which data is most relevant to which operational activities and decisions.
how to harness data variety where it enhances insight, and standardize data where required.
how to unleash all of the data your restaurant has to offer.

The Right Partner for Today’s Data-Driven Reality

SICOM has a proven history of empowering quick service, fast casual, and food service establishments of all sizes to unleash the power of big data in their environments.

From seamlessly standardizing data across hundreds or thousands of locations, to delivering all of the dynamic solutions you need to put big data to work, SICOM knows what it takes to make data-driven decision-making part of your restaurant’s everyday reality.

Want to put data to work to drive greater satisfaction, sales, and operational efficiency? Contact SICOM today to learn how.

Experience Matters

Unleash big data and elevate the guest experience.

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Joel Hoffman
August 9, 2018

With extensive experience in harnessing technology to improve a broad range of restaurant KPIs and enhance franchise profitability, Joel specializes in the delivery of data-driven solutions for the back of house.

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