5 Things You Need to Track Through Restaurant Reporting

5 Things You Need to Track Through Restaurant Reporting
Amanda McCorquodale

By Amanda McCorquodale

You’ve run out of avocados, your new cashier just quit, your latest special is just not selling and floating out there on the internet is one bad Yelp review scaring customers away. Most of these common pitfalls could have been prevented by intelligent restaurant reporting.

Information is power, but there’s no need to go wading waist-deep in endless streams of numbers. Point of Sale (POS) systems such as Toast, Touchbistro, Upserve, and Square as well as integrated scheduling software like 7shifts all have built-in restaurant reports that consolidate all the information managers need in one place and can sometimes even recommend steps to address issues before they become problems.

Restaurant Reporting 101

With good data at their fingertips, restaurant operators can spend less time on spreadsheets and more time being proactive about challenges in food, labor and sales. Here are 5 categories of information that can provide you with the most useful management insights through restaurant reporting.

1. Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

The difference between your restaurant’s gross revenue and it’s profit or loss is COGS. This total is generated by adding your monthly beginning inventory to your purchased inventory and then subtracting that total from your ending inventory.

Improving your COGS may also mean addressing menu engineering for more efficiency or inventory management issues, which brings us to the next useful restaurant report.

2. Inventory

Restaurants that don’t pull regular inventory reports are setting themselves up to fail. Poor inventory management can mean losing money every single shift due to inventory spillage, improper portioning, over ordering, waste, and employee theft.

That can all take a big hit to your COGS without adding a penny to your bottom line. It can also lead to running out of certain ingredients, making menu items unavailable, and ultimately, negatively impacting customer experience.

3. Sales

POS systems allow users to pull sales reports on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis, which can serve as essential forecasting tools for your business. They can show which menu items are popular – both when and why. They can also categorize items into categories such as most popular dishes, underperformers, one-hit wonders and hidden gems.

There are also sales exception reports that compile every void, refund, gift certificate-covered purchase and discount employees have issued to highlight staff who need more training or are offering too many discounts. Sales reports can also track modifiers and substitutions, which can help drive menu modifications.

4. Social Media

With today’s tech-savvy consumers, it’s essential to monitor your business’s likes, shares and follows on social media as well as respond when someone has posted a gripe. (According to a Harvard Business Review Research Report by Michael Luca, a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.)

Look for a reporting tool like Perch that consolidates all of a company’s online reviews into a single dashboard, along with reviews of competing businesses. There are also platforms such as Sprout and Keyhole that let you monitor chosen hashtags and keywords, which can notify you when a customer posts an Instagram photo or sends an angry tweet mentioning your restaurant.


With labor reports, managers are able to see what fits into the actual budget when scheduling shifts for the week as well as monitor overtime. By integrating with POS systems, scheduling software reports can use projected volume, overtime numbers, and the restaurant’s turnover trends to project if they will need to hire more or less staff.

A sales-per-labor report gives insight into staff productivity so you can strategize how staff members can pull in more sale per hour. With an easy-to-use restaurant reporting feature like 7shifts’ new Enterprise Dashboard, you’ll be able to track sales and labor performance and have real-time access to hourly sales and labor by department, location, or chain-wide.

Learn more about how 7shifts can help you manage complex labor concerns by starting your free trial today.

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Amanda McCorquodale
Amanda McCorquodale

Amanda McCorquodale is freelance writer based in White Plains, NY.