Jimmy Durham knows Moe’s. After seven years of working the corporate side for Moe’s Southwest Grill, Durham transitioned to the franchise arena as director of operations for MJR, an eight restaurant group based in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. When Durham joined MJR, implementing RTIconnect was at the top of his list.
“Another group of Moe’s franchisees started using RTIconnect with great success in lowering their costs and improving their efficiency, so when I came onboard that was one of the first things I wanted to do,” he explains.
The ability to interface with multiple point-of-sale (POS) systems was an important factor in the decision to implement RTIconnect. MJR operates with two different POS systems, and before RTIconnect, Durham explains, this caused a nightmare for payroll and accounting. RTIconnect’s ability, however, to interface with both systems made for an easy decision.
“One of the first things I wanted to do was tie all that information together because the information was coming from so many places and we needed to be able to measure it quickly and efficiently.” For MJR, RTIconnect does exactly that.
Across their eight restaurants, MJR has lowered labor costs by 1.5 percent. This improvement is largely the result of the ability to make labor adjustments throughout the day with updates provided by RTIconnect. “We get what I call real-time feedback, because we get updates throughout the day,” Durham says. “With this feedback, we can make adjustments to conditions such as weather or an event—we can immediately look and see who is on the clock and the total labor hours.”
As restaurant operators know, quickly receiving the most accurate information is one challenge—making proactive decisions based on that information is something else. With the Labor Percent needle on the RTIconnect Dashboard, MJR found an easy method for helping managers cut the fat from labor.
“It’s a very easy explanation for our shift leaders because whether they understand labor costs or not, they certainly understand that needle on the dashboard. They look at that needle, and they know they’re not where they need to be and that they need to make cuts. It’s an easy way to get your shift leaders and managers to manage labor because everybody knows the red, yellow, and green flags. That’s a big benefit because it teaches them the importance of labor and how easily it can get out of control if someone is not watching on a shift by shift basis. It’s very efficient.”
With food costs, MJR has improved an average of 1.5 to 2 percent across all the restaurants. One restaurant, in particular, has improved 4 percent on food alone. By using the Daily Food Variance report in RTIconnect, MJR can identify the variance between actual and ideal usage, especially on high ticket items such as meats and dairies. For MJR—with eight stores and different volumes for each store—the data provided through RTIconnect allows for helpful comparisons and healthy competition between the stores.
“It helps us group those stores together and to use those managers to benefit from each other,” Durham explains. “They can talk about best practices between them and, in some sense, create competition between the two of them to run better numbers because they can see what the other person is doing and how efficient they are.”
The transition to a new back-office system can be challenging and time-consuming, especially when working across multiple POS systems, but that was not the case for MJR. “It was very, very quick,” Durham says. “The process itself is very simple. I feel like RTI went above and beyond for us and helped us really clean up some issues on our back-office computer. RTI has always been really good and really quick to respond to us. We are a huge proponent of using RTIconnect.”