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LOUISVILLE — Mike Allen is a believer in the "value menu," and not just on his restaurant menu boards. After struggling with a frustrating and costly back office software system, the Florida Wendy's franchise owner replaced it with one that he says provides more information, accuracy and convenience at a fraction of the price he paid before.
The owner of Allen Properties LLC upgraded his old back office system for his four restaurants in Florida to one provided by Restaurant Technology Inc., expecting the usually cumbersome process of software setup, POS integration and training to take weeks to complete. It wasn't. "In our case, because we were already using a back office program that interfaced to our WAND POS system, RTI was able to install the software, interface with our POS, do the setup, and we went live just days later—all four stores at the same time," said Mr. Allen.
Wayne Albritton, vice president of a 52-unit Wendy's franchisee Patterson & Associates of Louisville, Kentucky agrees. His franchise also recently implemented the RTI system, a software that is used in more than 10,000 restaurants in the industry's leading brands. "We have definitely seen improvements in both food and labor with RTIconnect," he says, sounding something like a commercial. "The ability to monitor cashier activity via the reporting tools in RTIconnect has contributed towards our overall savings."
The Florida franchise owner agrees with his Kentucky counterpart but emphasizes: "It is almost half of what I was paying before. And we got more bang for our buck."
Unlike Allen's Florida restaurants, in the Patterson restaurants RTIconnect interfaces with the existing Xpient POS and PAN MWS software. Its Wendy's quick service restaurants are spread thoughout Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia. RTIconnect can import data from multiple POS systems and convert that data into consistent, company-wide reports.
Allen reflects on how the old back office software was difficult to navigate. He had little confidence in the variance numbers that it reported. "We're now able to navigate through the food cost module ourselves, where before we had to contact a representative of our old software company to make those changes and run reports. We had to call to get changes made to our count sheets, our inventory frequency, and the overall way we do our inventory. Now we're able to go in and run all reports, manage our own users, and make incremental and instant changes to the food count sheet and adapt it to our inventory process."
Allen says that the new RTI backoffice enables his operation to lower food cost by an additional three-fourths of a percent. "We believe we now save close to $50,000 a year on our four restaurants. Before, I had little confidence in our food variance numbers. Now I do. I have immediate access to variance information. If the variance is off, I can drill through (to a detail report) and see exactly where the problem is. I like the ability to make changes and see those changes immediately in my reports. If a manager makes an inventory count adjustment, that change is shown immediately—in seconds, not days." With the newer software, he says, "the difference is like night and day."
The Wendy's franchise owner is critical of a bottleneck of his old business intelligence software. "If I put a new manager in a store and I wanted him to use the back office software, the other company had to add him." He says that with RTI's system he is able to add staff by himself. "In our business we have turnover; we can't afford the delay," declares Allen.