Matt Forbush is intimately familiar with messy back-office spreadsheets detailing labor, incentives, and sales forecasts—as a multi-brand, multi-unit franchisee, Forbush spent hours a day doing busy work to help manage his stores remotely. The fact that his brands all used different POS platforms became a frustration, and he sought out a solution that might help aggregate the various data points onto a single dashboard.
Unsatisfied with the options out there, Forbush developed his own platform: zignyl. He found the solution was saving him hours each day in scheduling, forecasting, and running reports. That meant that the time he saved in the office, he was able to use to grow his business. The tool has since been rolled out with a number of other franchisee groups, and it’s become a boon for brands during the pandemic.
Take SE Co-Brand Ventures, for example: a multi-unit, multi-brand franchise group based in the southeastern United States. Brands in its portfolio include Auntie Anne’s, Jamba Juice, Cinnabon, and several others. In the fourth quarter of 2019, zignyl conducted a case study with eight of SE Co-Brand Ventures' 40+ locations over a 10-week period. The study showed that the group was able to save over $53,000 in labor costs at those eight locations. Bill Renton, co-owner of SE Co-Brand Ventures, says his company also saw a 7 percent improvement in their forecasting accuracy, and a 22 percent total labor cost reduction, with no changes to sales.
“Labor has become critically important, even more important than it was before the pandemic,” Renton says. “We have a bunch of stores in different areas, and we can’t be there every day. So you can say whatever you want to store managers, but if they can’t carry those messages through to staff, you’re going to have a tough time managing labor.”
That’s why, Renton says, he and his team rely on zignyl.
“Zignyl seamlessly aggregates the data from our varied POS systems, and then creates a visual of that data onto a single dashboard that can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet, or computer,” Renton says. “It helps franchisees track sales, labor, scheduling, run reports and remotely control our human resources, and other administrative tasks. We can easily see if a manager is not executing his or her scheduling properly because zignyl will show me, in real time, if too much—or too little—labor is being scheduled. Also, it is great that our leadership team can see the variance of what was scheduled and what has actually worked.”
Mona Wedad, vice president of development at zignyl, says zignyl prides itself on the fact that it is nimble. Wedad describes the time she and Forbush traveled to Greenville, South Carolina, to help fast casual brand Tropical Grille implement zignyl. They spent time with the brand leaders and managers, finding out their exact needs and pain points.
“What makes zignyl different is that if we don’t know your brand or business, we are committed to learning every nuance of it to make zignyl’s role within your locations successful,” Wedad says. “We understand that no two brands, stores, or franchisees are going to be the same. That’s why zignyl was designed to be customizable. Zignyl is an all-encompassing solution that is customized to the specific franchisee’s needs, and that is something we are committing to doing for each franchise owner that we work with. Each client gets a designated consultant who is there to assist with the success of the business.”
Renton applauds the ease of accessing reports on zignyl, a seamless process which leads to data-driven approach to forecasting, and helps nullify potential misconceptions that could cost him money. For example, some of his franchise locations are in towns that have college football teams with large followings. While trying to plan ahead for a 2020 football season during which fans wouldn’t be traveling into town due to the pandemic, he thought he would need to project much lower forecasts, and in turn, lower staffing. But when Renton ran the numbers in zignyl, what he found was surprising—home games had almost no effect on their sales in those stores.
“In less than five minutes, our team was able to pull data that gave us great intel which affects my next business move,” Renton says. “It’s just another example of the fact that we would be a lot worse off this year without zignyl. As our sales start to come back, we’ve been grateful that zignyl has helped us with managing labor, and to create exacting forecasts that help us creep back toward achieving profitability.”
For more information on how to leverage zignyl’s platform, check out its website.