A restaurant big data expert shares the latest trends in the food industry

(credit: La Tour D’argent)

Waiter, there’s big data in my soup!

It’s no secret that companies are watching and drawing conclusions about our behavior and Avero, a software company that analyzes restaurant data, has been doing created it since 1999.

Damian Mogavero started the company because he was concerned that restaurateurs were not able to answer simple questions about their businesses. He put together a team comprised of a chef, a sommelier, a restaurant manager and three techies and now, the software is used in 10,000 eateries in over 70 countries.

Recently, he served up some tasty things he learned about the business since he started it. While the uninitiated may think running a successful eatery is as easy as cooking palatable food, think again. According to Mogavero, it comes down to a careful recipe of a restaurant’s location, price, marketing and even the weather. Seasonal businesses that only run in warm months have to get as many people in during their high season as possible. Sunny weather being bad for business may seem counterintuitive, but the data showed Mogavero that people were reluctant about leaving the beach to chow down. He helped one Hamptons restaurant owner figure out a way to attract clientele even on even the brightest of days — get a boat to ferry them in!

Mogavero also discusses the effect of social media on the industry; according to him, things are moving much faster and trends spread almost overnight. Also, while it is an incredible time to be a foodie, expectations for restaurants are now at an all-time high, which can be enough to make owners lose their appetite. “If you look at it from a [profit and loss] perspective, you’ve got your number of customers that are coming in and you’ve got competition,” explains Mogavero. “So from that perspective, there is this big supply of restaurants, plus so many other variables—real estate, labor, ingredients—and that just puts more pressure on the bottom line.”

Lastly, Mogavero is seeing the trend of global hospitality groups partnering with restaurant groups and celebrity chefs.

Mogavero continues to innovate, developing products like “Avero Loss Prevention,” an algorithm for internal theft. Because the way employees steal is ever-changing and hard for owners to swallow, he has created a product that can identify these changes and prevent loss. He explains, “It’s like the movie “Catch Me If You Can.”” [Bloomberg]