10 Restaurant KPI’s to Measure Sales Strength and Weakness

Whether it’s sales, productivity or costs – your performance is in the numbers. Most Point of Sale systems offer hundreds of report options, but unless the sales are grouped in the right way, the results won’t show you useful information. Here’s a bunch of useful Sales KPI’s to see how well your business is performing…

Number of Customers. Simple! A good measure of popularity, but how do you count them if there’s a cafeteria line or take-away food? This is one of your most important numbers, and it’s surprising how many businesses don’t know it.

Total Sales Per Head. Total sales divided by the number of customers. How does it compare to last week and last month? May vary between different times of the day and day of the week.

Food, Dessert, Beverage Sales per Head. These are divided into key areas of choice – main course and starters, desserts, non-alcohol beverages, alcohol and perhaps also side orders (eg breads and salads) and other product sales. It’s the perfect indicator of two things – how much your menu appeals to your customers (do you have all the choices they want, eg the right dessert selection?), and how well your staff are selling. This KPI can be a good basis for a bonus system.

Seating Efficiency. How well your tables are being turned over while still offering high quality customer service. Usually many small things combine to have a large impact – cooking time, seating, service and clearing. The size of tables relative to the average group size will also make a difference.

Sales per Hour. Useful in a high-volume setting like a bar where staff may have their own till. Maximising their speed by setting up the touch screen so staff can find popular items quickly, and ensure that the screen has a rapid ‘refresh rate’.

Sales per Labour Hour. Divide total sales by total labour hours and compare with your average cost of staff per hour. How does it look?

Basket Size: this is one that retailers use to measure how many items each customer buys. You may want to check how many items other than pizza, or the main course, are ordered eg drinks, salads and dessert. Count them for take-away and for sit-down.

Strike Rate. If 500 people came to your pub last night and only 100 ate at the bistro, the ‘strike rate’ would be 1 in 5, or 20%. Good enough? Compare it with similar businesses and at different times. If only 20 of the 100 diners ate dessert, the strike rate would also be 1 in 5. This could definitely be improved with a better menu and suggestive selling.

Revenue per Available Seat Hour (RevPASH). Similar thinking to the way hotels measure Revenue per Available Room. To work out RevPASH, divide total sales by the number of ‘seat hours’. Eg a restaurant of 100 seats open for a 4 hour period has 400 ‘seat hours’.

Most and Least Profitable Menu Items, plus Best and Worst Selling Items.
Grade recipes from most to least profitable, working out accurate results using recipe software or recipe cards. Compare with the number of sales of each. When you have items that are both low profit and low sales, these ‘losers’ should be taken off the menu as fast as possible.

Comparisons and Benchmarks…

Many operators are frustrated by the lack of detailed industry figures to compare with their own performance. Some industries have organised KPI comparison figures available by subscription eg the club industry. The lack of outside figures shouldn’t stop you comparing performance your own figures between periods.

Comparisons that can be useful:

  • This week with last week
  • This month with the same period last year
  • One section or unit compared with another
  • Compare the effects of different weather conditions and temperatures
  • Compare different times of the day and days of the week
  • Compare the performance of different staff or under different managers
  • Compare results with a different number of people on duty

Which of these sales KPI’s do you find most useful?