On the scene since 1995, this restaurant technology platform has perfected the science of saving operators money.
COVID was an existential threat to the restaurant industry. Brands and operators who had already invested in front- and back-of-house technologies were much better equipped to deal with the shift to off-premises dining. Those who didn’t adapt quickly risked losing customers who prioritized safety and convenience. Now, doing more with less is part of the new normal.
“In the post-COVID environment, the service delivery model has changed,” says Bill Bellissimo, CEO of CrunchTime. “Some restaurants have limited their dining room hours or are closed altogether on certain days; and delivery, pick up, and drive thru have become a strategic priority. All of this is compounded by labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, rising wages, and statutory labor changes. This has fundamentally changed the economic model for many restaurants.”
The labor shortage is an especially prickly thorn in operators’ sides. In addition to rising minimum wages, competition for workers is so fierce that many brands have resorted to offering additional compensation in the form of sign-on and referral bonuses, sponsored tuition, better working conditions, and other perks. But what if restaurant operators had another tenable option?
Before Bellissimo started CrunchTime in 1995, he was a restaurant owner himself, so he is intimately familiar with the day-to-day challenges of the industry. The company was founded on the principle of optimizing restaurant operations, and years ago, they began to focus strongly on using data science technologies to optimize daily restaurant operations.
“The key idea was that even in the best of circumstances, restaurant workers are expected to do more with less,” he says. “There are certain things that computers are very good at—like parsing through massive amounts of data and crunching those numbers—used well, that can really simplify the restaurant team’s responsibilities. We are intent on providing a platform where technology and humans work together to create the very best guest experiences.”
CrunchTime’s platform uses data analytics, machine learning, and years of in-the-trenches restaurant operations experience to not only help operators provide the best guest experience, but to also save money and keep employees happier. Tasks such as sales forecasting, labor scheduling, production planning, vendor ordering and receiving, and posting the week's transaction set into accounting and payroll are all automated, which relieves managers of these tedious and time-consuming duties and lets them focus on the guest and their team. This approach improves the accuracy of core functions while maximizing the impact of the restaurant’s most important team members.
Bellissimo likens the CrunchTime platform to a trusted employee who works in tandem with its human counterparts, relieving them of onerous and repetitive duties. The best part for operators: This employee is a whiz at numbers, never requests time off, works 24/7, and can connect all the dots to give operators a holistic view of their business at any time—all for less than $1 per hour.
“The platform is transformative for operators,” Bellissimo says. “We’ve been working diligently for 20 years to create this environment, and customers have access to all of this today—not because of COVID, but because this is part of the identity and mission of our platform. The pandemic simply validated this is the right thing to do.”
CrunchTime places emphasis on making every team member a superstar. To support this, the company recently acquired DiscoverLink, a full-service Learning Management System, that will be fully integrated into the CrunchTime platform. Soon within CrunchTime, employees will see all the training available to them and easily take quizzes, watch videos, and glean tips that help them succeed in their positions.
“We’ll dynamically push training to employees based on their roles and responsibilities,” Bellissimo says. “We will also measure who is taking the courses and connect the efficacy of that training to operational results. We’ll tell you if training is driving lower food costs or higher labor productivity, or helping with sales comps. Whatever your operational goals are, CrunchTime can make it happen.”
When employees are free to do what they do best—interacting with other workers and customers—it shows not only in their work ethic, but in retention rates. Training is a massive financial investment for restaurant operators, so it’s in their best interest to provide the tools and technology to help workers succeed and stay long term.
“When you show employees you care and are providing them the best tools to help them succeed every day, that’s a huge win,” Bellissimo says. “We want to respect that aspect of the workforce and empower people to do what they do well—work with food, interact with other people and deliver on the restaurant’s brand standards.”
To learn how a $1 an hour employee can help your business, visit the CrunchTime website.
By Davina van Buren