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How Exception Based Reporting Leads to a Huge ROI

Posted by Leslie

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Tumbleweed Restaurant

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. Each month we shine the light on our clients, their accomplishments and what they're doing to increase their restaurant profit margin.

 Steve Brooks, Tumbleweed

Steve Brooks

Business Analyst/Director of IT/Purchasing

Tumbleweed Tex Mex Grill & Margarita Bar

• Mirus Client since 2003


Tumbleweed serves up delicious, authentic Tex Mex cuisine featuring fresh ingredients and legendary margaritas.  Most people refer to Steve as a tequila and mixology expert.  He's even traveled to Mexico to see how tequila is made.  He really knows his stuff.

At our most recent user conference, I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Steve about his long relationship with Mirus.  He shares how he has utilized exception based reporting to get huge returns and how he's using Mirus to make smart menu decisions.

Leslie: What were you using before Mirus?

Steve: We were doing things the hard way with Excel sheets and Access tables. There was absolutely no automation. Lots of hours were being put in and doing it the old fashioned way with the spreadsheets.

Leslie: What impact has Mirus had on your business?

Steve: It’s definitely streamlined things because in the past we’d have people that were spending so much time working on this type of administrative work that they wouldn’t spend much time doing anything from an analytical standpoint and they’d miss some of the details. Today we find the exceptions where back before that we were searching through hundreds of pages of files or pieces of paper looking for one thing that might be wrong and instead missing all kinds of things. For example, I remember that if an auditor went into a store they could only audit maybe 3 days out of the 30. So they were only auditing 10% of the time. The rest of the month wasn’t getting audited. Today with Mirus, exception based reporting catches every single thing that goes wrong on a daily basis and then someone can look into it if it’s something that’s abnormal.

Leslie: Why are the exceptions so important?

Steve: The exceptions could be something like a comp or a void, something that’s been deleted. It might be lots of dollars on the table that we wouldn’t catch. Today we’ve written alerts that show things like people with more than 5 comps in one day or more than a certain dollar threshold. We use red, yellow and green KPI indicators to make it stand out. You can’t do that in most computer systems but you can with an exception or an alert of some sort. It’s like an alarm clock for your data, for the important stuff.

Leslie: How has catching these exceptions impacted your company?

Steve: The loss prevention side of our business has dropped a whole lot. It’s a lot easier to catch employees when they steal. The word gets out when someone gets caught and the other employees realize they shouldn’t do it. It keeps the honest people honest. Over time we’ve lowered our comps and deletes by over 2 percentage points of our P&L, especially in the first 2 years. At that time it was probably $100,000/year that we were catching and lowering in comps. An ROI of 10 times what we were spending on Mirus.

Leslie: How are you using Mirus for menu engineering?

Steve: Mirus has helped us find the data properly and make good decisions. We take our sales data and we divide it into our guest count to do something called sales per 100. In Mirus you can look at it in any kind of filter you want. You can look at lunch sales, dinner sales, banquet sales, outside sales for catering, etc. It can be any form of sales broken down and then divided by that type of sale to create sales per 100. From there we determine where the item fits in the whole scheme of things. Does it fit on the menu? Does it need to be moved on the menu? Or does it just need to go away?

Leslie: Would you say Mirus helps your company be successful?

Steve: Definitely. It has been a big part of our success over the last 11 years. It has helped us cut administrative costs at the office and put people in different roles like operations. Or if someone was going to be retiring there was no need to hire a replacement. We didn’t need as many payroll people, we had 3 or 4 people doing payroll at one time now we only have 2. We had 5 people in accounting doing invoices now we have 2 people. It’s not necessary to have quite as many people so it saves on administrative costs. Mirus also helps us make better marketing decisions that build sales, better decisions with the menu, better motivational decisions. When we’re having a contest we can reward the people that really deserve it. Some contests are based on top sales of particular items. We can make it even more detailed and say out of every 100 guests they wait on who can sell the most per 100.  That way it’s fair for people in low volume stores versus high volume stores.

Leslie: What makes Mirus different?

Steve: The exceptions in Mirus are different than anybody else’s I’ve seen. Other people have forms of reporting, but the exceptions and the way you build them and the way you get them sent out are much more robust than I’ve seen with anybody else’s product. The team you have supporting you is different than anybody else’s. Many of the people that I talk to at Mirus have been in the restaurant business at one time or another so that helps because they understand what we’re going through. I rarely see anybody else have as many people involved that used to be in restaurants. And I think you are one of the only ones that specialize in restaurants. You do one thing and you do it well, it’s restaurants.


Please share your stories, 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 Marketing, Restaurant Operations, Client Spotlight


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