Author : Erik Tversland

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How Are You Implementing Contactless Auditing?

At OpsAnalitica we have been preaching the notion of contactless auditing for years now, but we didn’t used that exact phrase as the whole “contactless” phenomenon is somewhat of a new concept that has been exasperated by the pandemic. In the past we talked about them more in terms of self inspections where location managers conduct a self audit with an area manager collaborating with them, virtually, in real-time.

The business case for contactless auditing has shifted from being; more cost effective, the ability to be more frequent, taking less time, having more data points to report on and greener. To the safest way to keep tabs on a locations daily operations without being able to travel and be there in person. Mind you, all the benefits mentioned above are still real, but it seems like it took a pandemic for the industry to take notice.

In this blog we’re going to outline the perfect contactless auditing process, soup to nuts, including; how to set up your audit, how it should be scheduled and conducted, the close out and verification process, follow up and action plans, as well as the data analytics and insights you gain.

First and foremost in order for this process to add value, technology is a must. So if you traditionally been technology adverse, now is the the time to move into the new era of multi-location management or you will be left behind. More specifically you need a software solution that allows multiple users to collaborate on the same process/audit in real-time from their own devices wherever they happen to be in the world.

Digital Audit Setup

Now that you have your software in place it’s time to configure the digital version of your audit. Your audit needs to be setup in a way that it dynamically changes based on the location you are “visiting”. This means only displaying questions/tasks that are relevant to that location and shift. You shouldn’t have to manage different versions of your audit to accommodate every brand, nuance, or build that you might have in your chain. You should have one audit that is location aware and dynamic based on location attributes.

Location attributes may include, but not limited to, different builds, configurations, menus, equipment, hours, etc. Here at OpsAnalitica we have a great process for collecting this data if you don’t already have it handy (most don’t). An added benefit is having a reportable database to reference these attributes in the future.

The benefits of a dynamic audit are ease of use, more efficient, higher adoption, and richer data for reporting because auditors don’t have to waste time on questions/tasks that aren’t relevant to that location and auditor.

Audit Scheduling

There are two different schedules tied to an audit typically. One is the broader schedule that tracks that the audit gets done on whatever time interval you choose ie. monthly, quarterly, etc. You need to be able to report on this data and be able to track which locations have completed their audits according to the schedule and which haven’t at any given time.

The other is the exact date/time that your area manager or center of excellence team member will work, with the store manager, to conduct the audit. This schedule you’ll want to keep as “spontaneous” as possible as to not announce too far in advance that an audit will be happening. You want to make sure that you are getting an actual view into the operations on a random day/shift vs an artificial view because the staff knew they were getting audited. Scheduling this day of or the day before at most, is ideal.

Conducting The Audit

There are some options here as to how the two team members, location manager and area manager/coach, center of excellence, etc., can communicate and collaborate during the audit. Using some sort of video conferencing platform (Skype, Facetime, Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, yadda, yadda) can be used if of course both parties are able to speak the same language (obviously not an issue if you aren’t an international brand). At a minimum the parties need to be able to collaborate on the audit together, ala Google Docs, in real-time.

As the location manager is walking around the location answering questions, adding photos, etc. The area manager can ask, in real-time, for additional information to be added to responses for clarification. This could be additional comments or photos or both. Of course the audit can be configured to require more information or walk the manager down a real-time corrective action based on the responses, but with real-time collaboration additional, spontaneous information can be requested by the area manager. Questions can be flagged for review and will stop the audit from being submitted until those flags have been removed. Collaboration can be used for positive reinforcement and kudos as well.

Completing & Verifying

You’ll want to make sure that you are able to configure your audit such that there’s a verification step(s) that need to take place by the area manager and that it can’t be submitted until that is complete. In OpsAnalitica, for example, it can be set where only an area manager can answer specific questions and/or submit the final audit. This ensures that there was an area manager present for the audit and it wasn’t completed without their input.

Follow Up / Action Plans

Not only does the audit need to be collaborative in real-time, but also after it has been completed for any follow up or action plan items. These items need to be more than just a report to reference. There needs to be tasks assigned out to individuals with due dates that are tracked and followed up on. Notifications need to go out when tasks are updated, completed or not completed to ensure there’s an audit and accountability trail.

Dashboards & Insights

Data is the reason for an audit in the first place. Access to the data needs to be easy to digest and must bubble up problem areas so that the daily operations processes can be reviewed and altered to avoid future issues of the same nature. If you are an international organization the data needs to be available in multiple languages in order to be useful.

You’ve made it this far so here a few of highlights as to why OpsAnalitica is the best solution available for you to manage your contactless audits:

  • OpsAnalitica is the only solution available that allows you to create one single audit that will dynamically conform to all of your different location builds, menus, schedules, equipment and other nuances that you may have in your operations. This is a huge benefit that increases user adoption, decreases training time, decreases administrative resources needed all of which lowers your total cost of ownership.
  • OpsAnalitica is the only solution available that allows for real-time collaboration where multiple users can work on the same audit at the same time from separate devices not matter where they are in the world. This is really important as you can’t efficiently or effectively conduct a contactless audit without this functionality. There needs to be a way for the area manager to follow along in real-time, ask questions, ask for more clarification or photos, provide feedback and praise as the location manager is conducting the audit.
  • OpsAnalitica will offer you the richest data set that will bubble up problem areas in your locations, areas or company wide so that the process can be addressed to avoid these all together in the future. OpsAnalitica helps multi-unit restaurant operators identify and remediate issues before they negatively affect speed of service, QSC Scores, or customer satisfaction.

Thank you for reading and we hope you found the information valuable. If you are interested in learning more about how OpsAnalitica might be able to help you implement contactless audits in your organization please reach out. Our contact info is below or you can initiate a live chat with one of our representatives.

An Easy Way to Solve a Speed of Service Issue

Today we’re going to look at 2 drastically different ways to approach a speed of service issue:

  1. You can rely on hope, but we all know hope is not a strategy.
  2. You can use real-time data to identify and remediate issues before they affect speed of service.

Number 1 will work sometimes because, as they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. But most of the time it won’t work out. So that means that most of the time prep amounts are wrong which means that someone will leave the line during the rush to prep. So that means most of the time there aren’t enough straws or lids at the drink station which means during the rush someone has to stop taking an order to grab a straw. You see where we’re going here.

This all has a negative impact on speed of service which has a compounding effect on sales. If the line is too long people may not even enter your restaurant or drive thru. Those sales are gone forever.

If they did get in line and it takes too long, they may leave, or they may stick around, but will be extremely frustrated and more than likely never return. Now you’ve spent a ton of money acquiring this customer, but they will never pay off because of a speed of service issue.

Now imagine a world everything is prepped, stocked, clean, held at the right temperature all prior to the rush. In this world customers move through process like a well oiled machine, the food tastes great, expectations are exceeded, they become repeat customers and tell their friends.

That’s number 2. When teams have all the data they need to know what needs to be done, when and how, have processes that guide them through their tasks and helps them catch and fix mistakes before they affect customers, they understand the importance of completing the tasks, then speed of service isn’t an issue.

It’s little things that normally get brushed to the side as no big deal that have real ramifications to important parts of your business such as speed of service. It all boils down to setting yourself up for success and then making it happen.

The best chains are habitually great at executing the basics. To be able to do this you need to start with this question: how are you identifying operational issues at your locations today?

We can help. Reach out.

Another Avoidable Food Safety Incident

Red Robin is in the news for a completely avoidable food safety situation. To date there have been 3 confirmed cases of E. Coli at one of their Colorado locations. One adult and two children have been infected. Two of the three have been hospitalized.

A link to the full NRN article is below, but here are some quick takeaways:

  • Inspectors found critical violations including improper employee handwashing, improper cleaning and sanitizing of food preparation surfaces, and cross-contamination between raw meats and other prepared foods
    • Totally avoidable by Implementing a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) with daily Active Managerial Control (AMC)
  • Red Robin closed the restaurant voluntarily the next day conduct a thorough cleaning and provide food safety training for the employees
    • The problem here is that half the people they trained were gone the next week. Training adds absolutely zero value without processes and job aides in place to enforce behavior change ongoing.
  • Red Robin stated ” We maintain rigorous food safety standards and procedures nationwide, which comply with the most recent FDA Food Code.”
    • This tells us one of two things: Either the Food Code is a joke or, the more likely scenario, Red Robin has procedures in place, but there’s no accountability system in place to ensure the procedures are being followed every shift, every day at every location.

This is a dangerous situation for Red Robin. With the way bad news travels these days this won’t only affect this one Colorado location. This will affect performance at every location. Not sure that Red Robin has the brand power to withstand these types issues. They’re a Colorado company, but they’re not Chipotle (I do realize they aren’t Colorado any more).

This incident is just another reason why digital food safety records need to be mandated. It’s too easy to fake your way through the procedures when it’s filled out on paper.

As promised click here to read the full NRN article.

Top 10 Food Service Management Solution Provider

We are extremely honored to be recognized by Food & Beverage Technology Review as a Top 10 Food Service Management Solution Provider of 2019.

The team at OpsAnalitica works tirelessly day in and day out to develop a best in class solution that is easy to use, packed with value, for a price that is much lower than the competition. We believe that technology should, first and foremost, provide efficiencies in the business, but also be less expensive than traditional paper processes.

We continue to pump out intuitive features that help our clients reduce risk around food safety and deliver consistent guest experiences at all their locations, every shift.

Kudos to the whole OpsAnalitica team for providing a solution and customer experience worthy of this recognition.

Thanks to our loyal customers for their trust in our platform and their valuable feedback which 100% drives our development efforts. We wouldn’t be here without their support.

Here’s to more exciting things to come out of OpsAnalitica in 2019!

You can read the Food & Beverage Technology Review article and interview with our very own Tommy Yionoulis here.

You can access the May issue of Food & Beverage Technology Review in digital format here.

If you are interested in learning more about how OpsAnalitica may be able to help you reduce food safety risk and drive consistency in your operations click here to request more information and schedule a demo.

How Mobile Text Coupons Improve Customer Loyalty and Boosts Sales

This blog post is by our guest blogger, Ken Rhie, CEO of Trumpia. It’s a great article on using digital coupons to build customer loyalty and boost sales.

How Mobile Text Coupons Improve Customer Loyalty and Boosts Sales

More and more companies are realizing that sending coupons to your customer’s mobile phones is a game changer. Digital coupons are easier to create and a lot simpler for customers to remember than traditional printed coupons. Clipping coupons is quickly becoming a thing of the past, as mobile coupons are redeemed 10x more often than print, and they can be generated instantly.

Here are 5 reasons that texting customer mobile coupons will see help drive sales and increase your bottom line:

Higher Redemption Rates

Of course, the point of your coupons is to boost sales. Text coupons are more likely to get opened and clicked than emails. Mobile coupons were 14% more likely to be opened and 34% more likely to generate click-throughs to websites. People prefer immediate offers and want coupons that are personalized for their shopping habits. Because of their high open rate, text messages lead to more sales.

Fewer Costs

Digital ads and text coupons are great because they require very little from you. While you might want to have a professional design a graphic for your coupon, you don’t have to worry about printing or paper costs. You can save on a lot of time, effort and material expenses by shifting over to mobile text coupons. They can be generated and sent instantly, so if your store is having a slow day you can send out a coupon for 10% off a product you are promoting.

Better Timing

If you schedule your coupons in advance, then those posts can even be made in advanced. You do not need to be available when you want to engage your audience. Better yet, you can plan ahead and create coupons that coincide with important events or holidays that impact your brand or your customers. Planning ahead means less chaos in formatting and sending out those messages the day of your big sales.

Better Tracking

Paper coupons are almost impossible to track – leaving holes in your analytics and no contact information for future content. Text messages are opened 98% of the time and read within 3 seconds. Once a customer has seen your coupon, you can follow up with them and see if they want to offer you more information so that you can give them more personalized deals. For example, if you send them a coupon for a meat lovers pizza and they redeem it, you can then follow up and see if they would be interested in future meaty pizzas! The more information you have on a customer, the better you can keep them satisfied and coming back for more.

Increased Value

Tracking isn’t just good for your strategy efforts, it increases the value your brand can offer the customer. Mobile Marketing Watch found that 26% of their mobile users increased the amount of items in their carts when coupons targeted their favorite products. And, 65% of their audience redeemed their targeted coupons within 5 minutes. People are willing to spend more time and even shift to mobile payment methods if they see that their favorite products are featured in coupons. In a world where comparable competitor products are literally a click away, savings and convenience matter.

Mobile coupons should be part of your mobile strategy. For more information on how to improve your customer satisfaction, loyalty and conversion rates with a good mobile coupon texting campaign, click here!

 

Author Biography:

Ken Rhie
Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.

Filling out vs. Completing Checklists (there’s a big difference)

Pretty much everyone that we speak to tell us that they do checklists daily, every shift, in order to get their restaurants ready to serve guests. About 80% are doing them on paper. Of those 80%, 94% believe that they are getting pencil whipped. Meaning that they can tell someone simply filled out the checklist quickly with the desired information because it’s required. They did not provide any real insight.

There’s a huge difference between filling out a checklist and completing a checklist.

Filling out = Pencil Whipped. No thought put into any of the tasks or answers. Simply going through the motions because it’s a requirement of the job. Usually filled out right next to where the clipboards are hanging on the wall with the checklist on it. This adds zero value. It may as well not be done because it’s a waste of time, although only about 30 seconds up to a couple minutes, but still why bother? If a task isn’t going to add value then don’t do it. Restaurant operators, managers, and employees are busy enough as it is so adding busy work makes no sense.

Completing = applying due diligence and due care to the task-list. Walking to each station/area and giving each task/item the attention it deserves. Some items will require more time than others, but if you have implemented systems and checks that you deem important to the success of your operations you should expect that they are being checked diligently. An added, but very valuable benefit to completing vs. filling out a checklist is that by simply walking the restaurant checking items the “inspector” will undoubtedly notice other things, not necessarily on the checklist, that may be out of whack and attend to them before it becomes an issue. This is huge and often gets overlooked.

Most everyone that we talk to tell us that they use checklists to ensure that every location, every day, every shift is operating consistently, staying compliant with brand and safety standards, and to ultimately run better restaurant operations. That is absolutely the largest benefit of checklists in general, but the assumption is that they are being completed not filled out. Our research shows that most of the time, 94%, that is not the case. Restaurant operators are frustrated with the lack of daily operations visibility, especially if they aren’t able to be in every location every day. They tell us  that sales and profitability suffer when there’s a lack of operations compliance and consistency.

Our clients have implemented a system that is just as easy to use as a pen and paper which gives them the peace of mind knowing that their procedures are being followed every shift. They know which checklists have been completed, which haven’t, who completed them, which have been pencil whipped, what time they were completed, and where they were completed in real-time through the management dashboard on their tablet, phone, or laptop. They enjoy complete operations visibility all the while driving system compliance and consistency.

The Task-list Scheduler tells each location exactly which checklists need to completed and by what time. OpsAnalitica clients are able to identify trends and focus areas through our robust tagging, dynamic scoring, and reporting engine that offers easy to digest chain-wide reporting.  Again all in real-time on any device.

If you are frustrated with not knowing exactly how each of your restaurants are operating on a shift by shift basis click here to learn more about the OpsAnalitica Platform and see how simple it is to use. We might be able to help you run better operations as well.

From a Tent to the Shark Tank

In this episode of the OrderUp Show Erik interviews Co-founder and COO of Tom and Chee, Corey Ward. Corey shares his story about how he first got into the restaurant industry as a kid. His first job out of college coloring comic books. To draining his bank account and spending his rent money to setup a tent on Fountain Square in Cincinnati to sell grilled cheese and tomato soup to ice skaters. This of course led to the successful restaurant concept, Tom and Chee.

Check out the interview below:

Podcast – Ari Weinzweig visits the OrderUp Podcast

Ari Weinzweig fell into the restaurant industry in the early 80’s because he didn’t want to move home after college and wasn’t particularly fond of driving a cab.

His business started out with a deli and has now grown to a community of 15 businesses under the Zingerman’s brand including a mail order service, creamery, a farm, business training, a publishing company, and even an annual bacon camp. All these unique businesses reside in Ann Arbor, MI.

Ari is a very interesting guy with an interesting belief system that affects every aspect of his life, professional and non-professional. Check out his visit to the OrderUp Podcast last week below.

Podcast – Interview with Adam Frager, Restaurateur/Entrepreneur

In this episode of, OrderUp – The Restaurant Ops Podcast, Erik sits down with Adam Frager a St. Louis restaurateur and entrepreneur.

Adam is one of the founders/owners of Blood & Sand and Death In The Afternoon, both amazing restaurants here in St. Louis. He is also a founder of Brigade Society POS that was born out of his own frustrations with the available solutions at the time. He brings a great perspective on the industry including craft cocktails and make sure you stick around until the end for the great story about ODB’s (Old Dirty Bastard) last performance ever. It’s very funny!