Tools | By Karon Warren
In an effort to standardize support throughout its entire franchise of more than 130 locations, Mr. Goodcents Subs & Pastas saw no way but to come up with its own customized point-of-sale (POS) system. By teaming up with InfoSoft to design and create a system tailored to its franchisees needs, Mr. Goodcents came up with an ideal solution to bring all of its information, tasks, and controls under one umbrella.
Were a growing, emerging regional brand in the Midwest in a very competitive environment, says Bob Moreno, vice president of operations and marketing for the De Soto, Kansas-based chain. We want to put our arms around what our consumers want. The only way to capture that information is through our system.
Having established a relationship with InfoSoft in 2003 while working to integrate its cash registers using its Goodcents Information System (GIS), the company approached InfoSoft again in 2005 to build a proprietary POS application. Together, the companies rolled out a new touchscreen application in mid-2006.
The new POS system incorporates an updated version of GIS along with Info-Softs InfoSoftLP (the mother component), InfoPak (the controlling module of the program), InfoPOS (the POS application), and InfoRewards (the loyalty program).
The advantage we brought was we made features and functions that [Mr. Goodcents] needed, says Brad Jarrett, president and CEO of InfoSoft. They helped us design the system from the start. It really focuses on the franchisee, but gives the franchisor what they need.
Using the new POS system, Mr. Goodcents franchisees can complete such tasks as tracking sales; managing labor, food, and paper costs; customizing programs and menu items to generate additional sales and increase traffic; ensuring order accuracy; reducing order time; improving catering sales; and developing a customer information base. We can look at information more closely today than ever before, Moreno says. We can dig a lot deeper in terms of analyses. You couldnt run todays business without the technology. You would suffer.
It definitely seems to be a success in the franchise locations. Danny Chaffin, director of company restaurants for Mr. Goodcents, installed his new POS system a year ago. It works out great, he says. It shortens the time to take delivery orders. It has a lot of helpful features, such as taking multiple orders on one ticket and giving us accurate information on what the customer has on an order. Chaffin says that despite his initial fear that entering the information would slow operations, the system has been very user friendly.
Another benefit is the ability for franchisees to monitor location information via a secured Web site. The manageability for franchisees gives them the ability to be mobile, Jarrett says.
The company thinks the systems advantages are so important its paying for the purchase and installation of the new system in all its stores. The cost of the system is minimal compared to return of investment, Moreno says. The GIS technology system is an essential part of the day-to-day running of business, so theres an immediate return of investment.
Moreno cites other savings in the areas of labor, food, and paper as a direct result of the new POS system. Its so critical to our operations that the cost, benefits, and functionality are instant because it allows you to run your business efficiently, effectively, and immediately.
While Mr. Goodcents made the right decision for its franchisees, Chad Weiner, general manager of leisure and entertainment for MICROS Systems Inc., says it depends on the level of investment a company wants to make in order for similar systems to be successful. A proprietary system requires a huge commitment on the part of the quick-serve restaurant operator to staff a technology department that will be responsible for making sure that the system is updated continually to meet the changing requirements in the industry.
Another consideration is the systems feature functionality. Each system, whether proprietary or not, will have its own set of features, says Christopher Justice, president of Merchant Link, an electronic payments company. Operators must ensure that what they buy fits with their type of operation. Once they have evaluated how the system interacts with associates and customers, they will find it important to review the back-end reporting capabilities as well as the ability for the system to safeguard their customer information.
Finally, it is imperative that business owners do their homework when contemplating a change to a proprietary POS system. Because POS investments are one of the biggest investments within the concept, they are required to operate for a lot of years, Justice says. The operator must rely on a partner that can support their long-term initiatives. One of the worst things that can happen is to make a purchase that puts the operator on an IT cul-de-sac with nowhere to go. The business systems must be able to keep pace with the fresh ideas of the operator if the business is to succeed.
Moreno says this type of technology is not a one-time innovation for the company. Were not done by far, Moreno says. We continue to evolve and innovate because we cant sit and be complacent. We have to be ahead of the learning curve.