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Client Spotlight: How Cafe Rio improved their business with their data

Posted by Leslie

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Our clients love us and we love them right back! We're constantly amazed by their ingenuity and accomplishments. Their ideas and requests are what keep us on the leading edge of restaurant business solutions. Periodically we like to shine the light on our clients, their accomplishments and what they're doing to increase their restaurant profit margin.


Cafe Rio Mexican Grill is a fast-casual restaurant chain that is slowly taking over the country! They’ve won over 60 awards and we were most recently ranked the number one Quick Serve Mexican Restaurant in the Nation, for the third year in a row! Every one of their meals is made from scratch every day, nothing is prepackaged or frozen. They squeeze 1,000 limes a day and have no microwaves or freezers in any of their restaurants. They opened their first location in 1997 in St George, Utah and now have over 90 locations in 11 States.

I recently had the chance to sit down with Cafe Rio's Clay Hansen and learn about how they use Mirus to grow their business.

Clay Hansen serves as Vice President of Finance for Cafe Rio, a Mirus client for over 10 years.

How do you use technology at Café Rio?

I try to add a lot of color and light to what it is that’s making us successful. The only way I can really do that is with good data. Whether that’s looking at our point of sale data or other external data that we’re gathering from our customer’s like customer feedback or surveys. We really try to get a derivative of what is causing customer behavior. What are we doing right or what are we doing wrong. From the technology side just getting access and reporting good data is right at the heart of it all. If we have good data we can make better decisions, we can make quicker decisions and grow the business.

Who uses Mirus in your organization?

Every level down to the general manager and the assistant managers within the restaurant use Mirus. Anybody that’s in the support center on the corporate side that’s helping with reporting, or analytics or planning. We use it operationally as well. Every level from our Chief Operations Officer, region coaches, area coaches, general managers all the way down are looking at Mirus several times a day.

What sort of data are you pulling into Mirus?

We mainly use Mirus for our daily sales and some food and labor numbers. Anything and everything sales, whether we’re looking at menu mix or segment mix. Also, labor and all the stuff that comes along with that, punches, overtime. We use it for some of the food cost as well. There’s a couple other components that we pull in as well. We’ve started a data feed a little while back with our customer data. We have customer feedback just printed out on the receipt. People can call in and give their feedback and it gets recorded inside Mirus.

What do you do with that data once it’s inside Mirus?

The nice thing is Mirus has a lot of great automated reporting functionality. We can easily get the numbers to the people that are out in the restaurants or out in the field making the decisions that ultimately make the money for the business, they’ve got it at their fingertips. We’ve got a lot of alerts set up for certain things so if sales get a little bit out of control or sales are down or labor is too high we can get into the details through the system.

How do you use comparative reports?

We have reports that show year over year growth that breaks it out into the segments of the business so if it’s dine-in, to-go or catering sales. We can quickly identify what the issues might be. Catering is a big growth play for us. Sometimes a catering order can be really big. We had one last year that was $60k. When you have that and the following year you’re wondering why you’re so negative it’s really easy to look at the report and say oh yeah, remember we did that huge catering order. It helps add a little bit of color what is going on without having to do a whole days work.

How do you use exception-based reports?

We get alerts and flags on specific things if something is out of line at the restaurant. Labor is a great example, when people are approaching overtime, things like that.

What has your data help you uncover?

Just having the data is the biggest component of it. We’ve been able to identify when we’ve had issues at stores that we weren’t aware of prior. With Mirus we’re pulling data every 15 minutes, which is actually more often then we get our replicated data from Aloha. Intraday reporting helps us find out if there’s been an issue in a store or there is an issue in a store. If the point of sale goes down or credit cards go down or the internet goes down you see that right away, the numbers, which will pop up.

How is intraday reporting helpful?

You can make real-time decisions. You’re not left guessing what was the cause. If you’re still not sure of the cause we have the data there. It’s been aggregated and pulled in to be able to dig into as deep as you need, down to the transactional check level to be able to identify what the real root cause is.

How has Mirus helped you improve performance?

One of the most popular reports that we have is just a net sales report that goes out every day. It racks and stacks every location that we have and groups it by region and area coach. The report helps incite a little competition between everybody. Because you don’t want a little red dot next to your name. As simple as it is, with little lights, whether it’s red or green, or yellow that can make a big difference in how well someone is going to perform. Especially when they know it’s going out to all levels of management. We even have it being sent to our board of directors on a regular basis so they have the ability to get in and look at it and really understand what is going on. It has changed a lot of behaviors of area and region coaches and how they pass the information down to the general managers. Because nobody wants to be in the last place.


Have any questions for our clients? Please share your comments and any other tips that may be helpful!

About Mirus:

Mirus is a multi-unit restaurant reporting software used by operations, finance, IT, and marketing.

For more information, please visit: www.mirus.com

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Topics: Restaurant Finance, Client Spotlight, Restaurant Performance


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