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14-Unit Wendy's Franchisee Gains Food Cost Control Without Sinking $200,000 into a New POS

With the need for more accurate food cost information to help run their 14 Wendy's restaurants, Calhoun Management Corporation shopped around for software -- and found the answer through their hardware.

Paul Rambler, director of operations, notes that the company was looking for software that would give them a more accurate theoretical food cost, but also allow them to continue to use their Panasonic registers. He says that one of the major reasons they chose RTIconnect Back Office software from RTI was its compatibility with Panasonic. "We had a good relationship with our POS supplier. We like Panasonic hardware and we wanted to stay with them. RTI allowed us to do that." The competitor, he says, would have required them to switch register companies. Choosing RTIconnect, which is POS-independent, saved them $200,000 in the cost of new POS systems.

Before RTIconnect, Calhoun Management Corporation was getting a theoretical food cost, but no precise detail behind it. Now using RTIconnect's Daily and Weekly Food Variance reports, managers know exactly where to look to solve variance problems. These reports show the difference in ideal and actual food usage for selected inventory items and provide "drill-through" links to inventory/usage reports for troubleshooting. "It's helped us identify where our opportunity areas are, and helped managers narrow down the items to work on. Instead of working on 200 items, they work on the five that need to be worked on."

In one instance, the Variance report pointed to two missing cases of Diet Coke in a store for several weeks in a row. After determining that invoices and inventory counts were correct, they had the beverage company recalibrate their fountain system. They discovered that "twice as much syrup was being dispensed as should have been. That's something we wouldn't have known, if not for RTIconnect showing us that Diet Coke was being overused in that store," he said.

This kind of detail accelerates troubleshooting. "Now if somebody comes up 3 percent off, it's a lot easier to figure out if it's a mistake they made or if they really are 3 percent off -- and find out remotely -- we don't have to go to the store." RTIconnect reports can be viewed simultaneously by the office and the restaurants (a significant benefit for companies like Calhoun Management, headquartered in Clemson, S.C., and with restaurants located across north Georgia and western North Carolina).

Also saves time on scheduling and orders
Using RTIconnect to create schedules has "easily cut the time in half" say Rambler. "It's nice for us because the DM's used to have to get the schedules from the managers, and then send them to me by a certain time. Now I can just click on Weekly Schedule and get everybody's schedules. RTIconnect saves each store two hours a week, and probably saves me two hours having to call people to get all the schedules."

Because Calhoun Management uses RTIconnect to send orders to SYGMA Foodservice, they also save time by not having to enter invoices manually. RTIconnect generates suggested orders based on sales projections and inventory, and keeps an electronic version of the invoice from the vendor. "Having the invoices electronically saves us an hour and a half per week," says Rambler. "It has really reduced our on-hand inventory."

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