Allen Properties was in desperate need of a back-office replacement. Mike Allen, owner of the Florida-based four-unit Wendy’s franchisee, struggled with an inventory system that was high in cost and low in functionality. Information gleaned from the legacy system wasn’t reliable or timely, and his managers struggled to place orders from its awkward interface.
Allen’s search for a new back-office solution led him to an online demo of RTIconnect from Restaurant Technology, Inc. (RTI, www.internetrti.com). He was immediately impressed with its user-friendly interface: “RTIconnect is so user-friendly that we were able to use much of the program before our online training sessions. For us, the transition was quicker than anyone expected.”
Newfound access & speed
The prior system did little to instill confidence in the variance numbers reported, making it impossible for the franchisee to reduce its food costs. Also, users couldn’t be added, removed or assigned rights to the system. “We have 20 managers, and now I’m able to set up, delete, or modify all my users, where before we had to call the software company and they would get to it sometime later,” recalls Allen. Previously, new managers had to be added to the system and assigned access by the software company, which took time.
Once in the system, managers would also have to work through the vendor to update food costs, count sheets, inventory frequency, and other functionality. With RTI, managers are able to navigate through the food cost module, run all reports, manage users, and make incremental and instant changes to the food count sheet and adapt it to the inventory process.
A difference in dollars
Having immediate access to variance and inventory information has enabled Allen to lower food costs by an additional three-fourths of a percent. “We believe that we now save close to $50,000 a year on our four restaurants. Before, I had no confidence in food variance numbers. Now I do. I have immediate access to variance information,” explains Allen. If the variance is off, a detailed report can be accessed to see exactly where the problem lies. The system offers the ability to make changes and see those changes immediately in reports. If a manager makes an inventory count adjustment, that change is shown in seconds, not days.
Another benefit of the move to RTIconnect is receiving automatic e-mail alerts on sales. The RTIconnect alerts can be scheduled—like reminders—or they can be triggered by sales or inventory numbers
Transitioning to a new system can take a few weeks, as software setup, POS integration and training are completed before a turnkey implementation. “In our case, because we were already using a program that interfaced to our WAND POS (www.wandcorp.com) system, the transition was quick and easy.” Once the decision was made to make the switch, RTI got all the stores set up in the new system and interfaced with the restaurant POS systems. It was all done online. They installed it and all four stores went live a few days later at the same time.
Mike Allen is owner of Allen Properties LLC, operating four Wendy’s restaurants in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Jensen Beach, and Sebastian, Fla. The company’s headquarters is located in Port St. Lucie. Mr. Allen grew up in the restaurant business, with his father owning KFC and Arby’s franchises. He fondly recalls Col. Sanders visiting his dad’s KFC, working alongside restaurant employees and spending the night at his parents’ house. Mr. Allen has been a Wendy’s owner for six years.