How a McDonald’s franchisee turns big data into big productivity gains
How a McDonald’s franchisee turns big data into big productivity gains4 minutes
In the food, beverage and restaurant business, recipes are some of most jealously guarded trade secrets. McDonald’s franchise owner/operator Bill Chao has a secret sauce developed after several years of experience running a number of restaurants, thorough research, and making adjustments to achieve success. And he’s sharing it.
Mr. Chao’s secret sauce involves a software solution that allows him to analyze the data for all of his four restaurants across Canada from one location. Since implementing Panasonic’s Clearview software solution, he has seen an annual cumulative average of a 2% reduction in operating costs per restaurant and a reduction in the time it takes owners to analyze business information. Meanwhile, he said his restaurants are seeing a revenue growth of about 7-8% per year.
From individual binders to a dashboard
It hasn’t always been that way. Mr. Chao remembers a time when he would have to travel to each restaurant individually and pilfer through binders of printed Excel sheets if he wanted to examine the back-office records of his locations. At that point, the operations at Mr. Chao’s restaurants relied on old software and that made management of multiple restaurants tricky. The backbone was a DOS-based software that held data on individual restaurants on independent systems, which could not be accessed without traveling to each location.
Meanwhile McDonald’s Canada was encouraging its successful owner/owner operators to expand their franchise business by opening even more locations. Mr. Chao was almost ready, but there was one thing he knew he would need to make this next step in his business a reality—a back office software solution that would allow him to analyze the data his restaurants from one location.
He investigated the best options and not long after implemented Clearview’s Human Resource Information System under a corporate initiative, which allowed restaurants to move from reporting their labor statistics on paper to the computer. This enabled them to digitally manage employee’s timecards and hours and integrate the payroll system—and make better decisions by analyzing the collective data. Mr. Chao saw two quick benefits: Labor control improvements and the ability to more accurately manage employee information. That meant cost savings and other benefits such as employee satisfaction growth.
Similar to our recent success story with a Dairy Queen franchisee, Mr. Chao found success in analyzing the data collected with the solution. Danny Shulman, who now serves as Manager of Application Development at McDonald’s in Canada, would go on to other franchisees like Mr. Chao as they modernized back office operations. Working with owner/operators as they implemented Clearview for their own restaurants helped Mr. Shulman develop a model for McDonald’s Canada corporate locations to implement Clearview at their own restaurants. “With those types of activities, having a back office application that provides data from anywhere at any time is obviously useful,” Mr. Shulman said.
To learn more how McDonald’s Canada took Bill Chao’s success and implemented Clearview, read our case study.
Nowadays there are also sorts of applications delivering data—from point of sales systems to online platforms to self-service kiosks. Like Mr. Chao, savvy managers and franchisees in the restaurant industry are using this insight, culled from hundreds if not thousands of sources, to make smart decisions. They’re turning to end-to-end connected restaurant solutions to move people through lines faster (or eliminate lines altogether), get the right menu items and messages in front of customers at the right time, automate kitchen processes to better use staff, and improve operations in countless ways—in large part thanks to rich data.
Much like Mr. Chao, technology leaders in food service, hospitality & retail increasingly rely on disruptive technologies to accelerate their businesses. They’re investing to improve things like personalization and communication, and see a time when artificial intelligence will play a critical role in their business. These industries and others are adopting 10 leading disruptive technologies expected to generate trillions in economic value in the decade ahead. Panasonic is deeply engaged in these technologies. We believe that connecting them into integrated solutions is essential to creating entirely new experiences. To understand the role they play in other organizations, Panasonic Corporation of North America commissioned a new research series, Moving Forward, on how disruptive technologies are impacting businesses, government agencies and entire industries.
Food service, hospitality & retail firms are especially bullish on artificial intelligence (AI), which can help them better understand the needs and behavior of their customers. Learn more about how tech leaders see disruptive technologies impacting restaurants and other businesses in Moving Forward.