Use data and analytics to make the best decisions possible about managing your cash flow, your customers, staffing, marketing and more during your phased re-opening.

Below is a list of areas where analytics can start benefiting your business immediately. While not exhaustive, it’s a good place to begin.

I’m currently offering a free 30-minute consultation to businesses and organizations during this chaotic time to talk through strategies like those below or others. Click here to schedule one.


I don’t have to tell you this: your customers are the lifeblood of your business. But now, which ones are going to visit? Focus on your customer segments — you’ve got a number of them, and each one behaves differently. For each segment, review their behaviors and start to plan accordingly.

  • Look at your customers by frequency of patronage. Group them into categories by how often they visit, and then start to look at patterns and differences between your groups.
    • One-timers
    • Once in a while
    • Monthly
    • Weekly
  • Determine where your customers are located, and how far they need to travel to visit your business. How likely is it that each group will continue to come?
    • 5-mile radius
    • 10-mile radius
    • 25-mile radius
    • 25+ miles
  • In addition, look at how the towns within those location groupings have been hit by the pandemic.
    • For towns that have been hard-hit, can you offer take-out or delivery options?
  • Next, calculate average spend, and divide your customers into categories based on this.
    • Break out average spend by your segmentation categories above. What does this look like?
    • Now calculate average profit for each, and compare them to average spend. The results might surprise you! Your most frequent patrons might not be the ones contributing the most to your bottom line….
  • Look at how many of your customers use different types of social media.
    • Break this down within your segments by frequency, or segments by average spend.


Now that you have a better sense of who your customers are, dive into what items they tend to order.

  • For each of your segments above, determine the items that are most frequently purchased.
    • What are the “bestsellers” for each segment? For one-timers vs weeklies? For high average spend vs. medium average spend?
  • Look more closely at what menu items make up an average spend.
    • How much is due to, for example, drinks? Appetizers? Sides?
    • How do these differ for your various segments? Do patrons from a 5-mile radius purchase more of a menu category than patrons from 25+ mile radius?
  • What’s the profit margin on each of these — pre-COVID and post-COVID?
  • A market basket analysis might be useful as you build your menu.
    • Which items are always purchased together?
    • Which items aren’t?
    • What’s the impact on your profit margin?
    • Is there any way to incentivize customers to make a purchase that results in a higher profit margin?


Now that you have a better sense of which customers are likely to visit, and what items they tend to purchase, turn your attention to being able to provide those items.

  • Will your suppliers be able to provide all the ingredients you need?
  • Will you still be able to offer your bestsellers?


Labor costs are among your highest. Based on your customer and menu analyses, married to your sales forecasts, start planning for your employees.

  • Calculate how many Back of House and Front of House staff you’ll need.
    • Following Governor Sununu’s Stay at Home 2.0 Guidelines, will you provide outdoor seating?
    • If you’re already providing take-out and/or delivery, how many employees will you need to also handle seated guests?
    • What menu items will likely be ordered, and do you have the BOH/Kitchen staff to provide?
  • Staff will need training in sanitization protocols.
    • Do employees have ServSafe certification? If so, perhaps they’re the ones you want to prioritize bringing back.
  • The pandemic could flare up among us here in New Hampshire at any time. Put in place a contingency plan for the case when staff fall ill, or need to care for family members who are.
  • Use performance metrics to help determine which staff you’ll ask back. These can include:
    • Generates highest revenue
    • Master at upselling
    • Customer favorites
  • Even though you’re open for business, some of your employees may choose not to return until after July 31st.
    • Can you assemble a team even if this happens?


Now more than ever, cash is king!

  • If you haven’t already, take stock of your cash reserves, and generate a breakeven analysis.
    • How many customers will you need to break even?
    • What mix do you need between take-out, delivery, and outdoor seating to make this financially viable?
  • Create a rolling 13-week cash flow plan and start running “what if” scenarios:
    • … in case you lose a large customer;
    • …or run into problems sourcing key ingredients;
    • …or can’t hire enough staff.
  • There’s confusion over who will be responsible for paying for implementing the new sanitization and disinfecting protocols Until there’s clarity, how will you cover those new expenses?


Even though budgets are tight, now is not the time to forego marketing. Instead, use data to optimize your marketing budget.

  • Look at your marketing channels, and the ROI for each.
    • Which channels bring you the highest ROI?
    • What channels work best with your various customer segments?
  • Target customer segments with messaging and incentives that resonate with them.
    • What marketing works best with your one-timers? With your weekly patrons?
    • Do email promotions stand out as successful with one particular segment?
    • Do you have a loyalty club? How can you increase membership in that?
  • In this coronavirus world, more and more is happening remotely, and especially via social media.
    • If you haven’t already, revisit your marketing strategy on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
    • Which customers use which social media? Strategically target your messaging and incentives on each to the customers who use them.
    • Are your Instagram users different from your Facebook users?

…and this is just the start! If you’d like to book some time with me to strategize about any of these (or other) ways you can use data to chart your path forward, I’m offering a free 30-minute consultation to businesses and organizations during this chaotic time. Click here to schedule one. I look forward to connecting!