News

Big data transforms waste management on multiple levels

2/9/2015
Effective waste management is a challenge to all in foodservice management. Restaurant and convenience store chains alike face the same challenge of building good unit economics and satisfying the customer. You need to understand precisely how much you need to order from the central supply center to make sure you don't run out of fresh items, but also ensure that you don't end up throwing away so much food at the end of the day that you end up losing business.
"Big data provides the knowledge you need to get ahead of waste."
Big data analytics are emerging as a way to solve this problem, and the process is simple - gather sales and production data from sources that you define to provide key knowledge on how much of a product you should order. This can impact operations in two key ways:
Big data can help food sellers avoid waste.1. Identifying day-to-day consumption trends
Having software automatically collect production, sales and waste data can tell you how different products perform on different days of the week. A system could notify you that chicken salad consumption is lowest on Thursdays relative to production levels. This information isn't just valuable because it helps you anticipate customer demands and make sure you order enough of a product from the central production center, it also helps you understand how much of different items you are throwing away, when you are getting rid of those foods and why. This can have a huge impact on helping you understand when to order new batches of items that are good for more than one day and help you focus on the right supplies at any given time.


Big data can help food sellers avoid waste.
2. Help with new product launches
Nobody wants to launch a new food product - perhaps a different kind of roll for sandwiches or a limited edition doughnut - only to run out of that item part way through the day. If a customer comes to your location to get a new product, you want enough items on hand. However, you can't afford to order so many of a new item that you are left throwing half of them out at the end of the day. That won't bode well for a special new food. Analytics software can show you how new food items tend to perform in general and how specific product types sell, helping you make a more educated estimate on how many items to order.
Waste management requires intimate knowledge of sales information, and big data provides the analytics functions you need to get ahead.