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Getting ROI from ERP Systems


Tara Townsley, Vice President of Information Technology at Bar Louie, stresses two points: 1. Let computers do what they do best so that managers can do what they do best. 2. Never underestimate the effort it takes to change human behavior.

Townsley shared three areas where ERP can help teams be more efficient.

The Value of Change Management Strategies

“Change is very hard, and every hour you spend working through change management will pay off many times over for any initiative that you're trying to put into your restaurants,” she says.

The goal is to leverage the learnings from other industries and apply them to hospitality to make managers’ jobs easier. Townsley asked attendees, “How many orders of product do you think a Walmart places weekly? None … They get replenished. The system knows what they've received, it knows what they've sold, it deduces what they have on hand, it projects what the sales are going to be next week, and it sends them what they need, automatically, without a manager ever placing an order.”

This is a stark contrast to most restaurants, where hours are spent every week on ordering. Oftentimes enough product is not ordered or food is wasted because of over ordering.

“…When restaurant technology catches up with retail technology, and our managers never have to place another order, then we will be optimizing our restaurants' profitability and freeing our managers up to do what they do best, work with our customers and our guests,” Townsley explains.

ERP can help create more accurate schedules that can save time and money. “Currently within Bar Louie, we're scheduling the correct labor for the sales around 62% of the time…. If we could shift from 62% to 63% correct, it would mean over a half a million dollars annually to our bottom line, and that's with 72 restaurants,” Townsley says.

Bar Louie’s goal is to get to 75% correct labor. “That would be a game-changer,” Townsley says. “Think of the money that we could invest in other initiatives.”


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