Wendy’s® Franchisee Puts Technology on the Menu
Miami Management uses RTIconnect to measure restaurant performance and guide operational decisions.
ATLANTA — “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” said Lori Strange, district manager for Miami Management, Inc., explaining the necessity of having detailed and timely sales and inventory numbers for their 16 Wendy’s® restaurants. To get the measurements they need, this central Kentucky company implemented RTIconnect™ Back Office software from RTI, Inc.
Not only does the software quickly provide the numbers she needs but she said RTIconnect gives vital information on sales, waste, and inventory that influences the business decisions she and her fellow district managers make.
Information for Better Decisions
Better information about store performance can impact everything from the customer greeting at the front counter to stopping employee theft, or even adjusting the auto-feed paper towel setting. “Say my boss wants to know the percentage of sales for wings,” said Ms. Strange. “It takes me 10 seconds to get that information. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. So if we know that number is 3.9 percent of sales and we see that wing waste is high, we can make some decisions? try to sell more wings, maybe we put it on the marquee, maybe we need to change the greeting in every store to open with wings—‘Would you like to try wings today?’”
Describing the employee theft, she explained that the company suspected a general manager was padding the ending inventory, creating a false food cost which increased his bonus. “We were able to actually catch him doing that because it was on the Audit Log. It showed everything that he did, week after week.”
And the paper towels? It may sound like a small expense, but last year the company spent $43,000 on automatic “in-motion” paper towels for restrooms. When they compared costs among their similar volume restaurants, they found that one spent $3,000 and another spent $1,500. Upon investigating they found “the store using the least amount of paper towels actually had the auto-feed switch set on large, so that the customer had enough towel to dry their hands. The one that was using more had it set on medium but the customer felt they needed two.” The second store’s attempt to save money was actually costing more.
In another example she described how the company runs RTIconnect’s Calculated=Actual Report each week to track condiments and paper goods such as ketchup packets, straws, and napkins. District managers use this information to compare and investigate usage differences among restaurants. “Why does one store spend this amount and another store a different amount? Could it be a bagging situation, that when customers ask for ketchup they give them gobs instead of two?” If that’s found to be the case, she said, employees get additional training.
“One of the things I really love about RTIconnect is that I make one change and it’s good for all 16 stores. That was huge for us,” said Ms. Strange.”I can’t say enough about going to one place and being able to look at all six of my district’s stores—having it accessible online to me any time I want it, whether it be midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning—that is an invaluable tool.”
Because RTIconnect uses a central database, the company’s owner and three district managers can view reports and manage multiple locations easily online. Their previous software required that recipes and inventory item specs be entered separately for each restaurant, and if a mistake was discovered on inventory counts the manager had to reenter the entire count.
Another time-saver for managers is electronic ordering. Their major food vendor is SYGMA Foodservice, an RTI Supply Chain Partner, which means Miami Management can download SYGMA’s product information right into their RTIconnect software. This ensures that their pricing and case/pack information stay in sync with the vendor.
Prior to installing RTIconnect, transfers of inventory from one store to another were written on pieces of paper and sent to their main office. “If one store didn’t send it in, it was a huge hassle,” said Ms. Strange. “Now, there’s no cheating on the transfers. There’s accountability.” In RTIconnect, managers enter transfers and the system subtracts it from their inventory and adds it to the other store’s inventory, providing an accurate account of inventories, food costs, actual usage, and waste.
Confidence in the Numbers
“Before RTIconnect, we didn’t have any confidence in our information. We never knew if everything was right,” including food cost or transfers, she said. Now, RTIconnect compares inventory counts to sales and calculates the proper usage based on recipes. Managers use the Food Variance Report to see the variance in usage and “drill-through” to troubleshoot specific items.
As a result of the confidence they have in the RTIconnect’s food cost numbers, she said, “This year we’re actually budgeting our bonuses based on the theoretical [food cost] that’s provided through RTIconnect. That’s a first for our company.”
A 21-year employee with Wendy’s, Ms. Strange said the installation of RTIconnect in all 16 stores was “one of the easiest rollouts of anything I’ve ever seen. The support has been unbelievable. The support team is so accommodating, helping me to customize things just the way this company needs them, what’s best for us. It’s been a very good experience.”
RTI makes restaurants more profitable. The company is a leading developer of accounting and management technology solutions for the restaurant industry, and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. Today over 10,000 restaurants, including many of today’s best known brands, rely on a broad suite of RTI hospitality solutions. Incorporated in 1985, the company is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, visit our web site at www.internetRTI.com.
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Miami Management Inc.