Minimizing Bad Buzz and Improving Ops with BI

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Minimizing Bad Buzz and Improving Ops with BI

By Ryan Vann, EVP of Operations & Services at Last Call Operating Company - 07/18/2016
Last Call Operating Company runs three chains of sports-themed bars/restaurants under the names Fox & Hound Sports Tavern, Bailey’s Sports Grille, and Champps Kitchen + Bar. The Dallas-based company has been in business since 1997 and has more than 80 locations throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.
 
In the restaurant world, establishments live and die on customer satisfaction. It’s no wonder that all of us spend so much time doing inspections trying to figure out how to eliminate bad reviews, reduce low ratings on social media, and minimize negative “buzz.”
 
So what do we check? In a word: everything. To ensure that we consistently provide a prompt, friendly and satisfying dining experience across all of our locations, Last Call management conducts extensive audits to assess food and beverage quality, facility cleanliness and maintenance and staff performance. Overall, the process covers roughly 200 items, ranging from restaurant appearance and condition to kitchen tools and systems to compliance with food safety rules and regulations. That’s almost impossible to track using a paper-based approach, which is why we looked for a technology solution to help us get real data and use it to improve the guest experience.
 
After exploring a number of options, we selected the HappyCo platform. HappyCo eliminated Last Call’s cumbersome paper-based, manual inspection process and greatly improved operational efficiencies. The Happy Inspector mobile app reduced inspection time by more than 50% compared to using paper forms.
 
With Happy BI, a business intelligence solution, senior managers can compare real-time data from multiple locations to spot key trends and broader issues. This allows Last Call to implement a range of enhancements to our operations from better staff-customer interactions to more effective employee communications to better cleanliness and restaurant appearance.
 
Rolling the solution out was quick and easy. As soon as district managers began using it they started providing ideas on how to customize it, and HappyCo immediately started making updates based on what was requested. HappyCo’s Template Library provides an exhaustive selection of customizable forms, allowing for them to be modified based on individual needs.
 
 
Real-time results
Prior to adopting the HappyCo platform, district managers collected information on paper forms. This was time consuming and inefficient, and didn’t provide local managers with immediate access to key information required to fix issues quickly. It also made it nearly impossible for senior managers to prioritize corporate programs based on a data-driven analysis of improvements needed across all business locations.
 
The HappyCo platform addresses these shortcomings for Last Call by allowing senior management to analyze data from inspections and audits conducted across multiple locations in real-time. One area where we saw immediate value was in preventative maintenance. One of our HVAC systems was leaking unknown to the local staff, and a district manager spotted the issue with the restaurant roof when reviewing the inspection photos on Happy Manage. Our manager red-flagged the issue and saved us thousands in repairs. That wouldn’t have been possible with our old paper-based process. We were also able to improve the quality of our ice — critical for any bar — because our managers could see in real-time when filters weren’t being replaced on schedule and address the discrepancy with onsite staff.

With a paper-based system, inspections aren’t done as frequently and there is very little enforcement or visibility into inspection compliance.
 
HappyCo’s business intelligence tools enabled Last Call to improve food and beverage quality, overall customer experience and facility cleanliness in every restaurant.

In less than one month, Last Call cut customer complaints by more than 50%, improved its internal shopper scores 7.1% and increased restaurant cleanliness by more than 3% using HappyCo technologies. It’s astounding to see this level of improvement in restaurant operations so quickly. The business intelligence software lets management be “on the ground,” working with teams, instead of in the office dissecting analytics. It’s priceless for streamlining our operations.