Modern Indian Restaurant Concept Uses POS Data to Streamline Performance
In 2009, I co-founded Curry Up Now with one food truck and the vision to introduce a modern twist on Indian food with street food at its core. The founding goal was to maintain the traditions of Indian food, while finding creative ways to synergise with other cuisines such as American, Mexican and Italian. We developed a pretty diverse menu that we freshen every once in a while with new flavors and mashups like Naughty Naan, Quesadillix, and Holy Moly Fried Ravioli. When we started we had no background in the food industry, a silver lining that freed us from the preconceptions of what you could or couldn't do and enabled us to flex our creative muscle. We built the concept, from one truck to two and then three, and eventually we opened our first brick-and-mortar location in San Mateo, Calif. Today, we have six restaurant locations and four food trucks across the San Francisco Bay Area.
Our technology needs evolved as the business grew. In the early days, we were using a point-of-sale system that just enabled sales transactions, and although it served us well, we knew we’d eventually need a more sophisticated platform. As we added locations, we needed clear visuals on sales performance and productivity efficiencies and needed a platform that could crunch the data for us, while allowing us to effectively manage the business and plan ahead. That’s where Revel came in.
In 2013, we implemented Revel’s Self-Service Kiosks and Mobile Order Takers in each of our brick-and-mortar locations. In addition to processing transactions with the POS, we started using Revel’s analytics and reporting features to make data-driven decisions, changing the way we do business today. For the first time, I could dig into our sales numbers, labor, food costs and product mix on the fly, and with that information, we have a much clearer picture of the restaurant.
We service about three thousand people a day across all of our brick-and-mortar locations, so having accurate data insight is essential to our success. Two of our biggest expenses are food and payroll; we regularly look at performance reports to optimize inventory and staffing, which lets us see how much staff is needed for each station based on sales volume and how much food inventory is needed based off traffic and past ordering trends. We also look at when staff clock in and out, how many people are scheduled for each shift, when they have their breaks etc. This helps determine wages by total working hours which directly connects with the payroll feature.
As trendsetters in combining traditional Indian flavors with friendly, recognizable American casual fare, we are constantly monitoring market trends to create and test new concepts and dishes. Each recipe is built and optimized with precise, set portion amounts, which creates quite a bit of accountability and insight into our processes and having near real-time data on our sales enables us to better understand menu trends and the most popular dishes at each location whether it be Naughty Naan or Death by Tikka Masala.
By having an intuitive, centralized management platform, we can quickly add new menu items whether it be permanent or for just a season, to individual locations or throughout our network of locations. We also place special emphasis on refining existing menu offerings, especially those with custom configurations of proteins and sauces.
Weekends usually bring more varied patterns in menu preferences and requests so our product mixes and popular menu items will usually differ from the weekday flow. We can gather a ton of data from our reporting samples to help us figure out what the trends are and predict future demand. E.g. we look at how certain menu items perform on Saturday evenings compared with Wednesday lunch times and factor that into our inventory orders.
Since adopting Revel, we can more easily manage several aspects of the business on the go and stay on top of changing trends and customer preferences. Being able to drill down and get better data visuals on where we are at any given time has become pretty ingrained and critical to our approach and the success of our business. Currently the nation’s largest fast casual Indian restaurant chain, we are continuing to expand through acquisition and franchising opportunities with more than 1,000 units planned across the country. As we further scale, I’ve no doubt that the insight our POS data offers will continue to be a critical mapping tool and indicator of our continued success.