3 Ways Franchisees Can Deliver Operational Excellence

OneDataSource Blog Post Brand Mark

The oneVIEW Product Team

We all know the iconic scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy finds herself looking out confusedly while a tornado spins farm animals, loved ones, and dangers outside her window. QSR franchisees operating in a Covid-19 world may have identified with that scene. Many businesses were wondering how to adapt to the chaotic environment around them, none more so than those in the QSR industry. Everything about their day-to-day operations were upended. Stay-at-home orders meant a drastic decline in foot traffic and drive-thru business, causing sales to plummet. Changing safety ordinances made operations even more challenging.

Some ultimately had to close their doors. Others simply survived. Yet, there were other QSRs that thrived. So, what was it about those QSR franchisees that made them successful? They had a tight grip on operations, leveraging technology to adapt operations with optimization strategies.

That’s a simple answer for a complex situation. And we will get to exactly what it means to hold a tight grip on operations. But first, it’s important to unravel what it means to “leverage technology” to do so. There’s been such an explosion of tech advances in the QSR industry. From front-of-house to back-of-house, customer experience and all that falls in between, technology now touches every aspect of today’s restaurant franchise.

This has been taking shape since before the pandemic hit. QSR franchisees were able to implement a range of tech solutions, enabling their staff to be more productive, bring efficiency to front and back-of house operations, and gain greater views into loss prevention, food costs, and more. Each of those solutions present a host of opportunities. The issue is that each of those solutions serve a distinct purpose, more narrowly focused on day-to-day operations.   

When the pandemic hit, it took more than those disparate solutions to navigate the challenges in front of QSR franchisees quickly and effectively. Forget antiquated spreadsheets requiring hours of time to pour over for a single insight. They needed a holistic view of the data behind their operations pulled into a single source from across all systems and processes. Powered by this, they were able to hold a tight grip on operations, focusing energy and attention in the right areas and across all locations.

QSR Franchisees Deliver Operational Excellence

It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day and busy seasons. But by really using data to an operators’ advantage, they can manage long-term through whatever factors come their way.

So, with that backdrop in mind, let’s look at the three ways QSR franchisees can deliver operational excellence.

Gain a holistic view of QSR operational gaps

QSR operators have a lot to consider when it comes to operational efficiency. There are the more narrowly focused issues like managing peak hours, inventory and food costs, and staffing needs and productivity. There are also big picture items like contactless operations, optimizing digital channels, and customer retention.

Aggregating data from across disparate systems is the only way to achieve operational excellence, gaining insight into operational gaps (and fixing them), quickly and effectively.

Take, for example, off-premises dining, an area that soared during quarantine and continues to be a solid delivery channel in this new stage of the Covid-era. With holistic technology, QSR operators can visualize which locations are maximizing this channel and double down on strategies like optimizing online ordering or online advertising to continue the trend.

Another example is around managing inventory, a struggle for any restaurant but especially during Covid as shipping and freight disrupted the distribution of materials. Some restaurants found they had to figure out new ways to adapt by replacing with fresh ingredients or stocking up on frozen. Rather than having to review data over multiple locations, technology that provides a holistic view can help QSR operators better manage inventory across all locations.

By combining data across all the various systems and processes, businesses can spot operational gaps.

Speeding up operations means better customer service. By being able to quickly gather data down to the store level, owners, operators, and managers can make better business decisions.

Set clear benchmarks

Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra said, “if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” That straightforward reminder translates well in the business sense, too. For QSRs that want to optimize operations, understanding where you want to go is only possible if you have clear benchmarks to operate from.

Those benchmarks could be anything from performance metrics like staff turnover, productivity, or even time management on point of sale to areas like customer purchase patterns and back-of-house order fulfillment. With a centralized platform, all data from across all locations can be viewed broadly as well as granularly to set the right benchmarks, making it easier to measure all locations against moving forward.

Use data to drive decision-making

Chipotle is a great example of using data to drive decision-making. Previously, they relied heavily on foot traffic. Shelter-in-place orders and new safety guidelines could have caused a serious blow to the brand. Yet, they are more financially strong than ever before. How did they do it? By using data to understand trends and make shifts. They expanded partnerships with third-party delivery, while focusing on order-ahead transactions to see digital sales grow 202.5%. Not only that, but they also focused on the customer experience by implementing tamper-evident packaging seals for all digital orders, so guests felt safe.

That’s a large-scale example, but there are hundreds of small-scale examples where data can help operators analyze patterns and make data-driven decisions on how to either course correct or build on continuous improvement. It could be something as simple as understanding peak hours across all locations to create a more convenient customer experience. With data in hand, operators can make decisions around adjusting employee schedules, implementing digital menu boards, expanding drive-through lanes, or sending employees out during rush periods with technology to take orders and payments. They can pilot at one location to understand the impact before expanding elsewhere.

It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day and busy seasons. But by really using data to an operators’ advantage, they can manage long-term through whatever factors come their way.

Now is the time to invest in operational excellence. With an above-store reporting and business intelligence tool, QSR operators can automate business processes, inform decision-making at multiple organizational levels, and provide organizational oversight on a single piece of paper by warehousing data across all datasets.

If you’d like to learn more about OneDataSource and our oneVIEW application for data warehousing and above-store business intelligence, drop us an email or visit the oneVIEW demo page to book a product tour now!

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