Daily Business Review for Restaurants

How to Track Sales at Your Restaurant

Update your restaurant menu to save money
Regularly updating menus is one way to keep profits up and costs down. Restaurant Nuovo Antica Roma via Pixabay

One of the most effective tools any restaurant has is the ability to track food and beverage sales on a daily basis. A daily business review, as this type of report is often called, allows for a place to build a history of business. It can help analyze sales trends, payroll costs, customer counts and predict future sales.

What Does a Daily Business Review Look Like?

Really, a daily business review is system that you devise that works for you.

Everyone has a different way of tracking business and what works for one restaurant may not work for another. A daily business review report can be generated through a POS (Point of Sale) system or tracked by hand in a notebook or on a calendar. For example, I like the calendar, being old-school and all. I simply jotted down the number of lunches in the upper left hand corner of each day on the calendar and dinner numbers in the lower left hand corner. At the end of the year the monthly calendars went into a three-ring binder for easy reference the next year. Easy-Peasy! I also tracked the weather, which in Maine (where I live) plays a vital part in restaurant business. If there is a snowstorm, it can explain low numbers, or if there is an usually warm spring day, it can help explain a particularly busy lunch. Read more about how restaurants can benefit from a POS system.

What Does a Daily Business Review Include?

I’ll admit that the beautiful simplicity of my calendar method of tracking business wasn’t great for analyzing overall sales and payroll.

Luckily my POS system took care of that. I could easily pull reports for total dollars in sales, and break them down by shift, food and beverage, even by menu item. I could also find out a day’s check average and look for trends.

What Else Can a Daily Business Review Do for a Restaurant?

Lots! Along with tracking everything under the sun, a daily business review can:


  • Help determine if promotional events were effective. For example, did your happy hour beer and wings special result in an increase in beverage sales or did it remain stagnant?
  • Show if sales are increasing (yay!), staying the same (hmmmm….) or decreasing (red flag!).
  • Indicate if there is a problem, before the problem gets out of control. For example, a daily business review can help you pinpoint if labor is too high on certain nights or if your food cost is getting out of control.
  • Help you buy food and beverage accordingly. If your daily business review for the year before shows that your restaurant did triple the number of dinners as usually on Mother’s Day, then you know that you should buy more food and beverage than normal.
  • Build a restaurant business plan. At some point you may want to go back to your bank or investors for a loan, perhaps for new equipment or upgrading your restaurant décor. Whatever the reason, with a year or more of tracked sales, you can show investors that your restaurant is on solid ground.

Keep Your Daily Business Review Information Safe

A tip if you are using a POS system as part of your daily business review. Limit the number of people who have access to these reports.

It is very easy for employees to change sales numbers and pocket the cash. Read more about how to prevent employee theft.