How do sales forecasts impact inventory and personnel management?

With the Paris 2024 Olympic Games just around the corner, find out how to draw up accurate sales forecasts in foodservice to optimize the management of your inventory, your teams and cope with peaks in activity.

Alexandre Leuliet

Alexandre Leuliet


Aug 2023

Restaurant sales forecasts: anticipate your inventory and staffing needs
In this article :

In this article, we'll explore the importance of forecasting for restaurant chains and how artificial intelligence provides reliable data for restaurants and bakeries to accurately plan their business. When AI acts as a profitability gas pedal by taking all factors into account.

How can reliable sales forecasts improve your restaurant's margins?

Making a sales forecast is far from easy, and yet many players continue to do it intuitively. When forecasts are made by hand, based solely on the manager's experience and sales history, external factors impacting the business can be overlooked.

If footfall is higher than expected, restaurateurs run the risk of running out of certain ingredients, or not having enough team members to cope with the influx of orders on site or on delivery. And if they don't, this can lead to financial losses, unnecessary cash tie-ups and food waste, the fight against which has become a major priority in the sector.

Sales forecasting: relying on data

Between the difficulty of recruiting experienced profiles and the economic contraction caused by inflation, restaurateurs are turning to digital solutions to accelerate the achievement of their objectives and optimize their costs. Excel-based forecasts have demonstrated their limitations, and managers' ability to use them also depends on their experience. Managers with more than 2 years' experience are becoming rare. It is therefore important to use more reliable and scalable forecasting methods if you want to develop your network of establishments.

At Inpulse, since 2018 we have been developing a proprietary AI technology that forecasts raw material requirements by anticipating future sales. Forecasts are given by day, by finished product and according to all the factors that influence them:

  • the weather,
  • calendar events (Valentine's Day, school vacations, religious celebrations, etc.), 
  • sporting events (Olympic Games, Rugby World Cup, Champions League, 6 Nations Tournament, etc.), 
  • and local promotions in your restaurant.

Inpulse is used by many players whose delivery business accounts for over 30% of their sales. Peaks in activity during sporting events, such as the Paris Olympics starting this summer, are particularly noticeable in terms of delivery sales, with 60% of restaurateurs reporting an increase in online orders during major sporting events*.

"If there's a match, we know exactly which supplier orders to place, so we can forecast sales". Guilhem Gilabert, manager of Côté Sushi in La Boetie.

Use artificial intelligence to optimize inventories and supplier orders

Inventory management is becoming increasingly complex, not only because of more frequent price changes, but also because of recipe changes in response to raw material inflation. To order the right quantity, many parameters need to be taken into account: sales forecasts, revenues, stock levels, shelf life and the conditions of each supplier. 

The AI breaks down sales forecasts into raw material requirements, which it determines on the basis of these constantly changing factors. Inpulse's AI calculates the stock status of raw and intermediate products based on inventories, deliveries made, theoretical consumption and losses, and determines the right quantities to guarantee efficient just-in-time supply. Inpulse enables restaurateurs to order what they need at the right time.

"When we discovered Inpulse, there was just one thing missing to be able to offer our Dévor franchise to non-restaurateur profiles: sales forecasting. To ensure rapid profitability for franchisees, we need to support them effectively, enabling them to reach their target material cost quickly. Without sales forecasting, they would need at least 8 months to gain experience: absorbing two seasons, living through school vacations, rushes... Thanks to Inpulse, we've accelerated the achievement of objectives, and a franchisee can start performing as early as 2 months." Charles Drouhaut Co-founder and COO at DÉVOR

By simplifying supplier order entry, managers can free themselves from time-consuming tasks. This saves time, enabling them to manage customer orders operationally, and manage their teams to deliver the best possible customer experience.


Plan the day's production to avoid waste

Many foodservice concepts also need to anticipate the day's production. This is the case for sushi restaurants with self-service showcases, and bakeries that need to anticipate the production of breads, snacks and pastries to avoid food waste. 

"Inpulse's forecasts are reliable, with artificial intelligence able to achieve an accuracy rate of 95% on forecast sales and product mix." Anthony Nicolas, L'atelier Papilles network coordinator


Anticipating your team's schedule

Poor planning can have a number of consequences, such as : 

  • Longer waiting times for customers;
  • depreciation of the rating on delivery platforms.
  • a reduction in service quality ;

A number of factors need to be taken into account before setting up a staff schedule in the foodservice industry. This is why many professionals are turning to digital solutions such as staff management software. They enable efficient tracking of each employee's hours, absences and days off to generate effective work schedules.

Thanks to Inpulse, store managers can use sales forecasts to anticipate their staffing needs. By calculating the productivity of your staff in relation to sales, you can use forecasts to anticipate the staff you need to put in place. This productivity ratio varies according to the restaurant concept. As a rough guide, it's estimated that 1 person is needed for 600 to 800 euros in sales for fast-food chains.

To facilitate the transmission of this data, Inpulse is currently interfacing with the best personnel management tools for the foodservice industry. See Inpulse integrations and ecosystem.

* according to a Deliveroo survey of 400 professionals in 2018...

To go further

More than 2,000 restaurants and points of sale use Inpulse every day