How to Use Spend Analysis

Modified on Sat, Dec 7, 2019 at 11:11 AM

Plate IQ's Spend Analysis report provides insight into your expenses over time by putting them into categories that make it easy to see where your money is going. Understanding how Spend Analysis works will help you make better decisions when using the report's data. 

A Plate IQ Spend Analysis report.

In this article:

What is Spend Analysis? 

Where can I find the Spend Analysis report?

What are categories?

How do I use Spend Analysis?

What are the elements of a Spend Analysis report?

How can I view an item's price history?

What can I learn from Spend Analysis?

What is Spend Analysis?

Spend Analysis provides a historical view of your expenses. It groups SKUs (items) into intelligent hierarchies to provide insights at both the line item level and across all your purchases. 

Spend Analysis automatically updates with every invoice processed.


Where can I find the Spend Analysis report? 

You can find Spend Analysis by clicking the Reports tab at the top of the screen and selecting Spend Analysis under Interactive Reports.

What are categories?

Unlike your custom chart of accounts (COA), the Spend Analysis report relies on categories. Plate IQ automatically assigns items to these categories and places them into intelligent hierarchies based on common item groupings:

Plate IQ's intelligent item categorization.

You can adjust an item's categorization by adding a subcategory (e.g., "Meyer Lemons") or by clicking the X on one or more of the existing categories.

Note: Clicking the X on a category will remove it and any subcategories beneath it. For example, clicking the X on "Produce" would remove Produce, Fruits, and Lemons.

If you have removed a category in error, you can re-add it by entering the category in the Add a Category field.

Categories allow your Spend Analysis report to operate independently of the GL (general ledger) codes you use for accounting, often providing greater detail about your expenses. For example, it may make sense for you to code all food purchases to a Food GL. But catch-all categories don't provide enough detail to know how much produce—or more specifically, avocados—contributes to your spend. 

How do I use Spend Analysis?

Spend Analysis provides powerful insights into your expenses. The data it provides is essential for understanding where your restaurant's money goes and how you can optimize costs to improve your bottom line. 

Filtering the data

Filters let you focus the Spend Analysis report on a specific location, vendor, category, and/or timeframe. Set these filters by using the Location filter at the top left or the Filters on the left sidebar:

Filters for Plate IQ Spend Analysis reports.

When you apply a filter, the report adjusts accordingly, providing detailed information about your expenses. The images below illustrate the difference filters can make:

Unfiltered and filtered views of Plate IQ's Spend Analysis.

The image on the left is only filtered by timeframe. The image on the right has filters applied for vendor and category along with timeframe. They're both accurate pictures of a restaurant's expenses, but provide different views into spend.

What are the elements of a Spend Analysis report? 

Spend Analysis reports have three main elements: the pie chart, the bar graph, and the item list. Each provides different insights into your expenses. 

Pie chart

The pie chart shows how different categories contribute to your overall spend. To explore a category, click a wedge on the pie chart at the top. The report will update to show the various subcategories that contribute to that category:

Bar graph

The bar graph shows your weekly spend, while the orange line is the average spend for that period. Hovering over one of the bars will show you the total and gives you the option to drill into that timeframe:

Plate IQ Trend Analysis breaks out restaurants' spend by week.

Item list

The item list shows the individual items purchased during a period. Along with the item name, vendor, and categorization, the item list shows the current and last unit price, the total spent, the cost impact, and the percentage change: 

Plate IQ item-level reporting provides detailed information about expenses.

What can I learn from Spend Analysis?

At the core, Spend Analysis focuses on where your money has gone. But there are several options for how you can manipulate the Spend Analysis report to answer specific questions. Examples of questions you might ask include:

  • How much money did I spend last week?
  • How much did I spend last month with a specific vendor?
  • How much did I spend on produce last quarter?
  • How has the price of a particular item changed over time?

Related articles:

What Does Cost Impact Mean?

How to Use Hot List

How Can I View an Item's Price History?

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