Charlie Harmon knows how to use technology to run a successful business. Back in the early ‘80s, Harmon saw the opportunity to help streamline restaurant management through technology, and he’s been doing it ever since. Now, Harmon owns FX4B, LLC, a 50-restaurant Arby’s group located in Arizona, and he recently transitioned to RTIconnect, RTI’s comprehensive back-office system.
When Harmon encountered RTIconnect, he found a solution with “innovation and flexibility that was far superior” to his previous system, he explained. The innovation, combined with the absence of a large up-front fee, made it an easy decision for Harmon.
FX4B made the transition to RTIconnect in all its stores three months ahead of Harmon’s original schedule, but it required more than just willingness from the managers.
What FX4B was looking for was a solution to assist them with fulfilling their mission statement; a statement that their name serves as a reminder for: “Fantastic Food, Fast and Friendly.” RTIconnect, Harmon explained, helps FX4B provide quality food in multiple ways. Bin Charts, for example, are used at the fry stations to ensure that the right amount is prepared to avoid waste and reduce service times.
From a service standpoint, FX4B uses RTIconnect’s Visual Scheduler™ to identify problem areas and make adjustments on a store by store and daypart basis. The Visual Scheduler is useful, Harmon explained, for more than just ensuring each restaurant is adequately staffed. “Our goal,” said Harmon, “was to match up labor with sales better than we’ve ever done it before and to give better service and lower service times. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
For both food quality and service, consistency is a necessary standard for a restaurant group. RTIconnect, Harmon explained, helps FX4B maintain a consistent level of excellence, from Bin Charts to Daily Task Lists. For managers—both new and experienced—daily lists can provide valuable guidance for consistently completing tasks. This allows Harmon and FX4B to establish priorities and quickly distribute lists on daily, weekly, and monthly tasks for each restaurant.
Trusting the Numbers
When it comes to important information—whether it’s daily sales or payroll—speed is crucial, but incomplete data, no matter how fast, can only be so helpful. Before RTIconnect, incomplete numbers caused multiple problems for FX4B. With payroll, for example, it was difficult to tell with the previous system when payroll was completed and approved at the store level. With RTIconnect, that’s no longer the case. “On Monday morning at 10 o’clock now we know we have accurate numbers, and we can start payroll immediately.”
In addition, FX4B used to have to gather daily and weekly numbers to generate reports. “Now, that’s all automatic,” said Harmon. “Whether I look on my computer at home when I wake up, or it’s the manager out in the field on a laptop, we can see the most recent numbers.”
In addition to the speed and accuracy, Harmon uses the flexibility of the reports to quickly find solutions with RTIconnect’s drill-through feature. “We’ve got several reports now that put things together, and it’s very quick for either the manager or the supervisor to tell exactly what’s going on when there’s a problem and where to look to solve the issue.”
Previously, finding the exact source of the problem—whether it was with inventory numbers or till shortages—could be a difficult task for managers. “It used to be through trial and error. Now we know exactly what’s going on and can find a solution.”