CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, operates over 2,700 domestic restaurants across 44 states. With such a large footprint, managing relationships with multiple suppliers across 15 different distribution centers to ensure ingredients are delivered to each distribution center, and eventually to each location, can be a massively complex task.
That’s especially true when considering the supply-chain disruptions that have become the norm since the onset of the pandemic. Recent data from the National Restaurant Association shows that 96 percent of operators experienced delays or shortages of key food and beverage items during the second half of 2022.
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have not been immune from these supply-chain snarls. However, the brands have had the support needed to address them, says Todd Huetinck, senior vice president of supply chain management at CKE Restaurants, thanks to ArrowStream, a cloud-based foodservice supply chain management platform that CKE Restaurants has relied on for the past 10 years.
“ArrowStream is a really user-friendly solution,” Huetinck says. “It’s a one-stop shop for our purchasing, distribution, and quality-control metrics. ArrowStream has become a necessary tool in order to manage our supply chain.”
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ArrowStream taps into data from key cogs in the supply chain, from suppliers, to distribution centers, to the store level, giving operators visibility across all spectrums.
“We’ve seen great success being able to help the restaurant industry with our robust features,” says Jeff Dorr, president of ArrowStream. “For example, one of ArrowStream’s features is its Foodservice Incident Management (FSIM) solution, which has helped over 15,000 restaurant locations increase credits recaptured for quality issues by up to 40 percent.”
Here’s how FSIM works: if a box or product shows up to a restaurant not meeting the company’s specs, the franchisee or manager can file a claim via ArrowStream. In less than 30 seconds, the restaurant support center, as well as the supplier, are alerted of a concern. With various reports occurring across the company’s restaurants, the accumulation of data helps executives like Huetinck determine which issues are one-offs versus those that may need further analysis. In other words, ArrowStream gives restaurant operators actionable intelligence.
“I see a very clear difference between data and information,” Huetinck says. “ArrowStream provides information and it provides it quickly. It’s data, but with context. Information tells a story about what’s going on and which direction things are trending. There’s more than just numbers on the page. All of this information helps our leadership make decisions.”
ArrowStream’s FSIM also gives brands like CKE Restaurants credibility with suppliers by providing a cloud-based trail of information that helps build a case for why a credit or refund should be issued. Franchisees and store-level managers can then track the progress of that credit or refund in real time—something that creates buy-in from all parties involved.
“Having that visibility, and that validation, ultimately drives a higher level of adoption with ArrowStream,” Huetinck says. “If a restaurant has an issue, we ask, ‘Have you filed that on ArrowStream yet?’ And they’re willing to do it because they know it will help them get a faster response and real-time updates.”
ArrowStream helps companies like CKE Restaurants protect the bottom line by offering pre-audit and post-audit processes that help confirm whether each restaurant location is paying what it was quoted for certain products. In other words, if the restaurant is contracted to pay $19.99 per tub of mayonnaise, the post-audit will flag if the restaurant was ever charged more than that. This can help brands save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per location.
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“ArrowStream creates a single source of truth across the entire supply chain,” Dorr says. “In this environment, most purchasing managers stay focused on their core item categories. They don’t have the time to think about or audit tail spend. ArrowStream captures and categorizes 100 percent, then normalizes it as a key component of the spend. We have hundreds of examples when we helped brands consolidate spend by drilling down deep into the supply chain to catch when something was being charged incorrectly.”
Dorr says ArrowStream differentiates itself in the world of supply-chain management by being hyper-focused on what foodservice operators are looking for in a partner. His team knows how challenging supply-chain errors are to manage. It’s why ArrowStream actively innovates to find solutions that will make chain restaurant operations run as smoothly as possible, even in the face of unprecedented headwinds.
“We have phenomenal software, but what turbocharges that is our team that supports it,” Dorr says. “The key driver for our product team is always, ‘how does this help our customer?’”
Huetinck concurs, relaying that ArrowStream has been an “incredibly professional and engaged in ongoing innovation. That’s something we always look for in any business partner. Value is composed of price, product performance, service, and level of innovation. The performance is exemplary. ArrowStream executes what they commit to. The level of innovation in pushing the bar forward is top notch as well.”
It’s safe to say there’s never been a time when operators are more acutely aware of the supply chain. ArrowStream is a solution that was built long before the pandemic to help solve the day-to-day headaches that come along with running a successful restaurant chain like Hardee’s, or Carl’s Jr.
“At the end of the day, you’re trying to eliminate surprises in the foodservice supply chain,” Dorr says. “You want really good insight, transparency, and control. The reality is, every brand is trying to solve the same problems today: How do you save money despite inflation? How do you do more in spite of labor challenges? Restaurant chains should be looking for software that provides a 360-degree visibility into the supply chain.”
For more information, visit the ArrowStream website.