With 12 stores and more than 600 employees statewide, officials at Bozeman, Mont.-based MacKenzie River Pizza could spend most of their day driving from store to store.
Instead, and with help from a Phoenix point-of-sale system from FireFly Technologies, those officials can keep track of company stores from the corporate office.
"Over the past year, we installed Phoenix POS in six of our stores and will put the system in the other six stores," said Brad Ridgeway, vice president of operations for MacKenzie River Pizza. "We wanted a computer system that would allow our central office to access individual store information quickly and easily."
Quick access to data also has given multiunit managers the ability to supervise a greater number of stores or stores spread out over greater distances. While in the past a multiunit manager typically handled two or three locations, or as many as they could visit over a period of a few days, today's multiunit managers can handle 10 stores or more with ease, thanks to the above-store reporting capabilities of their POS systems.
"It allows people outside the restaurant who aren't there every day to prioritize their time and focus," said David Straub, director of industry solutions/North America for MICROS Systems Inc. "If you have 10 stores you are managing, you can log into the Internet portal and find out immediately what stores need your assistance and where you need to spend your time."
POS systems can even be integrated with security cameras and other security measures, enabling supervisors to literally look in on the restaurant from anywhere in the world.
Above-store reporting functionality has helped Betty Moore, owner of two Jet's Pizzas in northwestern Michigan, cut down on commuting time. Moore also uses a Phoenix POS.
"With 40 miles between my two locations, I'm glad I don't need to drive in for every little problem," Moore said. "I know immediately what my sales are and that all employees are clocked in. If it's busy, I can bring on extra help or send someone home when it's slow."
Operators can use their POS to schedule and distribute reports automatically, said Jennifer Wiebe, marketing manager for Lynden, Wash.-based POS supplier SpeedLine Solutions. That can help eliminate communication breakdowns and lags in productivity, she said, that arise from missing important information or finding out too late about an activity at a particular location.
For instance, operators can see the impact of price adjustments and campaigns as they roll out — not a week or a month later, she said.
"They have the ability to manage promotions and database marketing from the head office to increase order frequency and revenues," Wiebe said. "They also have the information to analyze buying trends by region, and across all locations, and to enforce and track upselling to boost ticket averages chain-wide."
The Digital Dining multistore solution can generate reports by store, by concept, by region or even by transaction, said Andre Nataf, national multiunit sales manager for Springfield, Va.-based Menusoft Systems Corp., provider of the Digital Dining POS solution. Reports can be generated in real time and viewed over the Internet.
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"When a customer check closes, everything about that check ranging from who the server was to what the items on the check were, anything you can imagine can be sent to an FTP site," Nataf said. "The information can either be in real time or aggregated throughout the day."
Above-store reporting doesn't just flow from the store to the corporate office, either. Along with using POS systems to collect operational information from individual stores, operators can make adjustments to individual POS systems, such as changing menu prices or tax rates, from the corporate office.
Officials from Wichita, Kan.-based Restaurant Management Co. officials use the information derived from their POS to make decisions on everything — from how to better schedule employees to what type of promotions to offer, said Mark Roberson, information technology director at Restaurant Management Co.
Restaurant Management Co. operates 136 Pizza Hut, 20 Long John Silver's and 10 KFC locations in nine states throughout the East and Midwest.
Restaurant data is automatically fed to the company's corporate headquarters via a proprietary above-store solution designed to collect and report on information received from their restaurants' POS system.
Restaurant Management Co. officials use the information in conjunction with their POS to make decisions on everything — from how to better schedule employees to what type of promotions to offer.
"We pull data from our telephone system, we pull all the sales data, delivery data, schedule data, clock-in/clock-out, anything we can, and use it to try to better understand what is going on in our stores," Roberson said. "You name it, we gather it."