Sponsored by CrunchTime.
Labor and food costs are two of the greatest factors affecting restaurant profitability in the quick-service space. For this reason, operators spend a lot of their time scheduling and forecasting labor needs, managing inventory, calculating food costs, and reporting problems.
By integrating back-of-house systems, however, restaurant operators can manage the back office more efficiently. Separate systems for tracking labor and food compromises the time spent on other critical tasks, and can create reporting confusion, ultimately affecting the restaurant’s ability to successfully scale operations.
“Operators get distracted by the fire that is in front of them,” says Erik Cox, vice president of product strategy at CrunchTime. “An integrated solution for these systems is necessary to ensure an effective workforce is able to do their best job.”
A cloud-based platform that integrates labor and inventory systems simplifies—and in certain instances automates—the restaurant operator’s duties, removing human errors such as typos, which can create bad data, Cox says.
In addition, the implementation of an integrated system can ensure a level playing field among managers at different units.
“Managers and operators get bonuses for managing the restaurant well,” Cox says. “When the system for managing employee schedules and inventory is consolidated and automated brand-wide, then those managers are all being measured according to the same performance metrics.”
A configurable system simplifies a complex back-of-house environment into a more unified infrastructure—removing redundancies and streamlining work. A single-forecast system can project labor and inventory needs based on fluctuating volume data and provide real-time assessments for equipment and technology. By alleviating these pain points, operators are better able to focus their attention on demands such as customer service, employee training, and facility maintenance—ensuring that the brand will be ready for periods of growth.
“It’s like having a daily playbook,” Cox says. “Good operation is the most important part of scaling growth, and it’s much simpler to scale an integrated system.”
Many quick-service restaurants have found success integrating their back-of-house systems because it ensures that everyone is doing the same thing, the right way, which reduces friction when a brand begins to add locations.
“When the day-to-day understanding of labor and food costs is available in a single platform, it becomes easier to identify variances,” Cox says. “When all of the information an operator needs is in one place, then there’s only one version of the truth—and that makes everything much simpler.”
By Erin McPherson