Hospitality Know-how

Achieve Accurate Sales Forecasting for Your Restaurant

Find out how to ensure your success with accurate sales forecasts, and learn effective steps and technologies for creating them.

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Imagine being able to look into the future and know exactly what your restaurant's sales will be. This would allow you to make informed decisions, manage your inventory, and deploy your staff efficiently.

In this article, we will show you what a sales forecast is, why it is important for your restaurant, and the key factors that influence it. You will also learn the steps you can take to forecast sales in your restaurant and the technologies that can help.

Improve your restaurant with sales forecasting

But what exactly is a sales forecast, and what role does it play in your restaurant?

A sales forecast uses historical data to predict how much revenue your restaurant will make in a given period of time.

This is particularly valuable in the restaurant industry. An accurate forecast helps you better estimate profits, inventory levels, and staffing needs, predict profitability, and set clear goals for your restaurant.

When creating a sales forecast, you should pay special attention to accuracy. Always use accurate and current data for the sales forecast. This is important because an inaccurate sales forecast carries many risks: from overstocking and understocking to over-ordering and food waste.

In short, accurate sales forecasting is no longer a "nice to have" for restaurateurs, but an essential tool for strategic planning and operational management.

6 steps to reliable sales forecasting

Many restaurateurs rely solely on their gut feeling when forecasting sales. This can lead to uncertainty and make long-term planning difficult.

In 6 simple steps, we will show you how to create an accurate sales forecast. This way, you will always have a clear view of your sales and be able to look into the future of your restaurant.

1. Analyze historical data

Begin by reviewing historical sales data. Always base your forecast on data from the same period in the previous year or years (e.g., shift, day, week, month, or even season). This information is the best basis for identifying sales patterns and recurring sales cycles.

2. Recognize trends

The second step is to determine if certain trends are causing spikes or dips in sales. Identifying such trends will help you plan more efficiently and target your restaurant's resources more effectively.

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Questions to ask yourself to identify trends include:

  • What are the busiest times for your restaurant?
  • What holidays or events have led to an increase in sales?
  • Are there certain days of the week when sales are consistently higher or lower?


3. Adjust the forecast to current trends

Once you have identified key trends from the past, compare them to the latest developments and market trends. Perhaps there are culinary changes that you can incorporate into your menu, or shifts in guest behavior that you need to consider?

It is important to update your sales forecasts regularly, taking into account both historical data and current market trends. This allows you to respond more quickly to changes and create more accurate forecasts.

4. Break down your sales forecast by menu item

An accurate sales forecast should include a breakdown of individual food and beverage items. Analyze what people order most often in your restaurant, what menu items are less popular, and how popularity changes over time.

This will help you better predict the cost of the food you need and ensure that you always have enough on hand.

5. Plan your schedule carefully

A well-thought-out schedule is key to preparing your restaurant for fluctuations in sales. Make sure you have enough staff on days when you expect high demand and avoid overstaffing on slower days.

Tailor the schedule to your sales forecast to optimize labor costs while keeping your restaurant running smoothly.

6. Consider external factors

From the weather to the holidays: There are several external factors that can have a significant impact on your sales. In addition to historical data and trends, you should always factor these into your sales forecast.

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Important factors that can affect your sales forecast

As mentioned above, there are several factors that can have an impact on your sales. Here are the most important ones to consider when forecasting sales:


Is there a major event happening near your restaurant? If so, you may see an increase in demand for your restaurant. But even events that are not in your immediate area can be of interest: think of public viewing of sporting events.

Weather and seasonality

The weather and seasons also have a major impact on your sales forecast, as they have a lasting effect on the frequency of visits to your restaurant. Depending on your location or concept, you may see better or worse results at certain times of the year. Analyze these trends and adjust your forecasts accordingly.


Many restaurateurs already base their sales forecasts on special days such as Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. But holidays and school vacations should also be considered. Because they are often associated with family celebrations, they provide a great opportunity for special menus or offers.

Marketing activities

Your promotions can also temporarily change your restaurant's sales. Accurately forecasting the impact of promotions on demand ensures that you are always prepared for these fluctuations.

→ Marketing for restaurants: the essentials for more success

Changes in the market

Keep a close eye on market trends, the changing needs of your guests, and your supply chains. Pay attention to how these changes affect your restaurant's sales.

Workforce situation

Finding the right balance between overstaffing and understaffing is not easy, especially in the restaurant industry. Since labor is the largest expense, it should be included in the sales forecast to make optimal staffing decisions.

→ Everything you need to know about labor costs

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Advanced solutions for accurate restaurant sales

Accurately forecasting sales is one of the biggest challenges restaurateurs face. But today, digital tools and artificial intelligence can help.

With innovative solutions like FoodNotify, you can get up-to-the-minute data about your business: From sales to cost of goods to food costs.

With FoodNotify, you not only receive comprehensive data, but also customized KPIs, analyses and reports in real time to identify optimization opportunities for your business.

AI-powered tools also effectively support sales forecasting by analyzing large amounts of data in real time and identifying complex patterns. AI takes into account historical sales data, weather forecasts, local events, and even social media analysis. As a result, you can optimize your planning and better prepare for the future.

How to successfully forecast sales for your restaurant

Creating an accurate sales forecast for your restaurant is not always easy, but it is a critical success factor.

By analyzing historical data, identifying trends, and considering a variety of factors, you can make informed decisions and run your restaurant more efficiently.

In fact, you can make better use of your resources, reduce costs, and increase guest satisfaction. This not only gives you the flexibility to respond to market changes, but also ensures your long-term success.

→ These business metrics are the key to hospitality success

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