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Beef 'O' Brady's Invests in Franchisee Profitability

For 26 years Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurants enjoyed success with a focus on family-friendly, neighborhood sports pubs that boosted local school groups and youth athletics. But while community spirit and enthusiasm thrived, rising food and labor costs—not to mention a poor economy—were eating into profits.
For the franchisees, there just wasn’t a lot of actionable information available to help Beef ‘O’ Brady’s watch the bottom line, other than the sales data available from its POS. What the company needed was a tool to help to keep track of financial performance and troubleshoot areas where costs were getting out of line. 
Family Sports Concepts (FSC Franchise Co.) of Tampa, Fla., franchisor for all 212 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurants in the United States, recognized that franchisee partners needed a system to help to increase profits through the management of food and labor costs. FSC understood that as the franchisees became more successful and unit profits increased, the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s brand would become stronger than ever.
Getting everyone on board
Since all locations are franchised-owned, it was difficult to get every partner to agree on what technology they needed. So FSC made an extraordinary decision. After successfully piloting the RTIconnect back office system in a few restaurants, the company decided to invest in one year’s worth of RTIconnect service for every franchisee. But the investment in the franchisees’ success didn’t stop there – Beef ‘O’ Brady’s also assigned field level staff to train and work with each operator and manager.
Developed by Restaurant Technology, Inc. (RTI), the RTIconnect back office software integrates with many POS systems, which was one of the primary reasons FSC chose RTI. FSC was in the process of standardizing the POS configuration throughout the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurants, so compatibility with the franchisees’ existing POS systems was crucial.
The second reason was prior knowledge of the software. A couple of FSC’s executives used RTIconnect successfully for years in other brands before joining the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s team and they were confident that the software would help the franchisees increase profits. The third reason was just that they knew the software was simple to use—making it an easy buy-in for operators and their store managers.
The software rollout to Beef O Brady’s restaurants is about 35% complete and the franchisees are already seeing major improvements. Food cost has been lowered two to six percent in the restaurants using RTIconnect. The system shows franchisees where their money is going, how much food to cook and when to cook it, where waste occurs, and variances between what food was used and what should have been used based on sales and inventory—enabling managers to avoid food waste and over-ordering.
The restaurants run more efficiently because RTIconnect tracks inventory, food transfers and sales, using that information to create recommended orders which can then be electronically sent to the food vendor. As a result, managers have more time to run the restaurants.
Up next: labor
The next step for the franchisees is to implement RTIconnect’s Labor module. The company expect to see further margin improvements when it begins using the scheduling features, in addition to ensuring that Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurants are appropriately staffed throughout the day.
While many restaurant companies retool operations to improve performance, FSC is doing that and more. The company is investing in the financial success of its Beef ‘O’ Brady’s partners, confident that RTIconnect will give operators more insight into their business profitability. The corporate office wins, too, gaining an enterprise-level view of the brand’s restaurant operations. Going forward, FSC has decided to require RTIconnect for all future franchise partners.
Joe Uhl is chief operating officer for FSC Franchise Co., franchisor for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurants in the United States. As COO, Uhl’s focus is on in-store execution, relationship with franchisees, and back of house operations. He has 33 years of senior management experience in the restaurant industry, including major roles in multi-unit management and operations with brands including: El Pollo Loco, Cinnabon, Church’s Chicken, Popeye’s, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants and Wendy’s.

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