Top Wendy's Franchisee Reveals Secret to Surviving Tough Economy
Already an award-winning franchisee in the Wendy’s system, Bodan Incorporated believed there was still room for improvement. The Boulder, Colorado, company searched for a back-office system that would give “reliable, real-time” reporting to the managers of their 14 restaurants. They found a solution in RTIconnect from Restaurant Technology, Inc. (RTI)—plus a yearly savings of $65,000.
“We felt very strongly that there was a significant amount of operational information that our store managers were missing out on,” says Doug Rich, vice president of Bodan Incorporated. “We knew that we could run food better if we had reliable, real-time information. When we saw RTIconnect, we instantly fell in love with the software. We think it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done to move our company forward.”
Bodan Incorporated was by no means struggling before moving to RTIconnect; the company is and has been a star in the Wendy’s system. It has been awarded the Founders Award, which is given to the best operator in the Wendy’s system, the Wendy Award, which is given to the best operator in each region, and one of its restaurants was named Best Wendy’s in the World. Even before implementing the RTIconnect system, restaurant managers were consistently meeting their theoretical food variance goal—variance being the difference between actual and ideal food usage, or waste.
“What RTIconnect did for us was give us information so much faster. There’s so much more actionable information available to managers that it’s made their job a lot easier in managing the restaurants,” says Rich. Managers now start their day with the RTIconnect Daily Food Variance Report to find the variance in usage and “drill-through” to troubleshoot specific items. “Being able to see immediately what variance was on the big cost items like beef, chicken, and bacon has allowed us to really identify areas or shifts or specific people that needed improved skill sets, and then we’ve been able to address that to improve the business in total,” says Rich.
“The results have been fantastic,” he continues. “We have dropped (improved) our theoretical variance roughly three-tenths of one percent consistently. We’ve actually been able to set a new standard at seven and a half tenths of a percent, and we’re pretty much exceeding that every week. That’s a lot of dollars, at least $65,000 a year. Our return on investment has been incredible. It’s been very, very nice, especially with a tough economic climate.” The savings generated by RTIconnect, he said, have helped the company weather the faltering economy.
Electronic Supply Chain Orders
Using RTIconnect’s eOrdering system, managers now place orders electronically with their major food vendor SYGMA Foodservice, an RTI Supply Chain Partner. “The ordering module is fantastic,” says Rich. “Building orders for us based on all the logic and hard detailed information has really cut our inventory levels substantially in the restaurants, which helps because now they’re not throwing away food because it got stale.”
Managers, he adds, also use Prep Charts to identify how much food needs to be prepped and when, which helps avoid food waste. “And obviously any time you have an environment where theft is a potential, for employees to know and understand how closely you’re watching your inventory is really discouraging them from trying to take advantage. We believe the system has been magnificent in all of these areas.”
Bodan Incorporated relies on RTIconnect’s labor module for scheduling efficiency, which they see as a direct prerequisite to customer service. “We’re leaning on the system extremely heavily to make sure that we staff our restaurants appropriately, so that we are getting the biggest bang for the labor dollar that we spend. RTIconnect has helped substantially. So far this year sales have been just going gangbusters. I think, to a person, our operators would say it’s because we’ve spent the last six to seven months investing in making sure that we’ve got the right labor at the right time in the restaurants.” Today, he adds, Bodan Incorporated is rated by Wendy’s as one of the top three or four franchisees in the nation.