Customer Interview: Burgerville
June 12, 2018 food operations management, labor operations management
What does an IT Director for the iconic Pacific Northwest restaurant chain, Burgerville, have to say about his experience with CrunchTime?
Smart, dynamic and just fun to be around, Dustin’s positive energy is contagious and is a big reason for his team's success. When we asked him how things are moving along with CrunchTime in Burgerville -- he jumped at the opportunity to share his experience.
So, tell us what you do for Burgerville.
Dustin Johnston: I work for Burgerville based in Vancouver, Washington. We have 42 locations and I'm the Director of ISTS, but part of my job is also that I'm the CrunchTime System Administrator for us. I was part of the team that brought CrunchTime into Burgerville and I continue to help maintain it.
Now that your CrunchTime BOH system is rolled-out, tell us how it's working out for you.
DJ: It's been huge! The system that we had before, particularly for inventory, was really antiquated. We had 42 different locations and we had 42 different sets of recipes. We had a lot of managers that were in the mindset of, "Well, if my food cost is bad... it's probably because the recipes are wrong." The fact was that most of the time they were right! Recipes had been uploaded many different ways, so it was hard to tell what food costs really were before CrunchTime.
So, recipe consolidation has had an impact?
DJ: Yes. Consolidating and having one version of the recipe and knowing there's no way that it's wrong. That's really freed us up a lot to hold people accountable to numbers. You can't hide behind thinking the system is inaccurate anymore.
Sounds like you have more consistency in your restaurants.
DJ: We have that consistency now, so if a recipe has to change, if we get a new product and we use a different amount of it in a recipe, it's one change made in one spot. Then, it just automatically updates for everybody without all these different steps. We no longer have to cross our fingers that it gets done right at every location.
That's a good early return. What about labor management? How's that working out?
DJ: We use CrunchTime TeamworX for our scheduling. The big upgrade for us has been having the ability for our crew members to go online and put in their availability, requests for time off, and things like that. Again, we had a very old system where there was a binder and a manager you talk to, and that was it. Once we got stores upgraded to TeamworX, it just makes labor scheduling so much easier to deal with. It's not on the manager to keep everybody’s requests all in their head. TeamworX just takes all that off their shoulders, so managers aren't bombarded by team members with, “Remember that note that I gave you three months ago? Why did you schedule me then?" Now, there’s no longer human error.
What about visibility into deeper areas of the business?
DJ: To me, the biggest thing that CrunchTime does is consolidate all our data and make it easier to visualize and make decisions. We've always had that data in the past, even with our old system, but there just wasn't a good way to look at it, and there wasn't a good way to really dial-in answers to questions. The problem was that we have so much data that it's hard to find those things that are important and you can take action on. With CrunchTime, we set up our KPIs so that managers know these are the things they should be looking and at. We can look at our top 10 inventory variances and say, "Hey, I've seen this one on here four weeks in a row. We need to change something about that!" Then, we can look and say, "Okay, as a group, what are our gaps? What can we improve at?" and we can do that for the whole company as well.
It also helps us with supply chain. If somebody calls me up and says our shake mix inventory numbers are really off and they’re missing all their shake mix, now I can look in CrunchTime and I can determine if it’s an issue with other locations too. Maybe we have a supply chain problem or maybe we have a recipe issue. The point is, it’s immediately apparent with CrunchTime, and that never used to be the case.
How has CrunchTime been as a partner for Burgerville?
DJ: As a partner, CrunchTime has been amazing. I don't think I've met a person at CrunchTime that I didn't get a great response from or immediately really liked working with. It's a big enough team that if they don't have the answer they can get me to the person that does. There's always things changing, which I love. It's really cool to be able to talk to you guys and have a relationship with the people that are building this stuff. I’ve been able to ask for enhancements that are important to us. In fact, the update we're upgrading to right now... this feature that I've been asking for is on it. Now, we can use it and it's directly changing the way we’re doing labor. It's cool.
So, you're influencing the CrunchTime product roadmap!
DJ: Because CrunchTime is changing so much, I always know, even if a certain enhancement is not the thing that I want right now, my enhancement will be on the roadmap and made available in a future release. I don't need to worry about if I have to pay for some upgrade, because you guys never charge for upgrades. It's just going to be better and better.
Tell us about Burgerville's implementation experience.
DJ: The people that we worked with for implementation were great. They came here to Vancouver and walked us through the project and they answered all of our questions. The plan was always very clear when we were implementing CrunchTime. If it wasn't, I could make a phone call, I could write an email, and I could get clarity real-quick.
Any parting thoughts?
DJ: I've heard from a lot of people that work in our restaurants that things are just a lot easier. We started using the mobile Counter Inventory app. This is amazing. Now our team members can walk around and take shelf-to-sheet counts without pen and paper and writing everything down and then reentering it into the BOH. Now, they can just enter it once in the app. It makes a big difference to them. I absolutely hear that. To me, my job is to make their job easy. CrunchTime has helped me do that. The more stuff that I can automate, the more mundane stuff that I can get out of their hands and just take care of, the more they can focus on serving guests and employees. CrunchTime has been big on that. It's done a lot.
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