Time For Change?
Spreadsheets are one of the most popular tools used to organize data and manage restaurants. Why? Because when you’re starting out spreadsheets are manageable, cost effective and contain useful tools for manipulating data.
Over the past several years however, I’ve seen some pretty incredible spreadsheet usage leaving me dumbstruck by the amount of copying, pasting, calculating and linking of pages that, in turn, create massive multi-page workbooks not to mention the hours of work that goes into their care and feeding. And as a report consumer, if you can locate the information you need in one of these behemoths, it’s likely the information is out of date before you even received it.
Back to the first point, you used spreadsheets when you started because they were manageable but as you grow spreadsheets aren’t scalable. Why, because as your company grows so does the amount of data you need to collect and examine looking for answers more complex questions. With spreadsheets that means more data collection and populating more little boxes with that data.
Another conundrum resulting from growth, much of the data you now need to gather may very well be in other company databases or worse other local spreadsheets and databases spread across your organization. This laborious and error-prone collection process is particularly troublesome if you are obliged to repeat it frequently. What you begin to slowly realize is that data collection and spreadsheet manipulation is becoming a full time job leaving little, or no time to use the data to make informed decisions.
At this point you may be thinking I need to hire another person to help keep up with the process. However, in an industry that operates on razor thin margins, there isn’t always room to hire someone. Besides, hiring someone can siphon off critical funds needed to continue the growth. Wouldn’t it be easier and more reliable if you could streamline and automate the whole process from collecting the data to auto populating the reports? Of course it would, and you can eliminate the 48 to 60 hours you’re spending each month on spreadsheet updates with the right enterprise reporting solution and it will cost far less.
Fear of the Unknown
So, what’s holding you back? Change, change is scary. I mean let’s face it, we are all creatures of habit and habits are hard to break. Plus you and your department aren’t the only one (s) who’ll be affected so you have to take restaurant operations and your marketing teams habits into consideration as well. My answer to this is simple - plan:
- Have a Plan. An old adage I’ve always lived by says, you can’t boil the ocean, so don’t try. Start out by looking at the reports / processes that are the most time consuming. Select, then prioritize the one(s) that, when streamlined, will benefit your team / organization most.
- Keep your report consumers in mind. Meet and ask your management teams (Executive, Marketing, Regional, Store Level) what details they need from the current reporting and then look at how best to incorporate that into your new reporting solution. With their input and buy in, your various management teams will adapt more quickly to the changes you need to make.
No matter where you chose to start, start small, stay focused, achieve your first goal, and then move to the next. Having a plan is key to gaining operational buy in and as you; your teams gain experience you’ll both become more comfortable and willing to take on more change. Simple, right!
Remember, once your management teams see that you’re delivering timely, concise, accurate information that’s helping them save time and increasing restaurant margins they’ll be asking for more.
Do you have any ideas on how best to introduce a new reporting solution into a growing, multi-unit restaurant company?
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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