Wendy’s of Michigan Slashes Overhead with Software Switch

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RTIconnect impresses restaurant managers with its efficient scheduling system, and keeps the front office happy with its low cost.

When Wendy’s of Michigan sought a replacement for the pricey software they were using in their 48 restaurants, they did a double-take when they found RTIconnect. “Do the math,” the saying goes; they did, and now will save more than $150,000 in the first two years alone just in software fees.

In addition to this dramatic savings, in the short time they’ve used the software the Grand Rapids company has seen a significant cut in management time for scheduling tasks. And they confidently predict more savings as their restaurant managers expand their use of the software’s features.

Kevin Stille, IT manager for Wendy’s of Michigan, described their satisfaction: “Our execs love the fact that RTIconnect saves them money. Our store people are happy about how much easier it is, how much more information they’re getting out of it—and of course everyone loves the scheduler. We have not seen another product out there with such an intuitive scheduler.”

He added, “The reason we switched was for the lower cost, it was easier to use—and the scheduler blew us away.”

The scheduler is a key element of RTIconnect, a Web-enabled Back Office system developed by Restaurant Technology, Inc. (RTI). To create an efficient schedule, RTIconnect collects hourly sales data and generates sales trends over a four-week period right down to the quarter-hour. These sales trends are used to help the manager project sales for the upcoming week. In turn, these figures enable them to create schedules that include very little excess labor.

Another benefit is the reduction of time a restaurant manager spends each week tediously preparing employee schedules. “The program we were using didn’t have a scheduler. We were doing all our scheduling by hand. Managers used to spend at least three to four hours a week [per store] creating the schedules. Now it takes 15 to 30 minutes a week per store,” said Mr. Stille.

“We’re saving about three hours a week of administrative time, per store,” he said. In addition, he said the company is “shooting for saving an extra 10 hours a week per store” in crew labor. These figures, multiplied by its 48 stores in Western Michigan, translate into a savings of nearly 7,500 management hours a year and higher profits for the publicly owned company.

Managers, he said, like the fact that RTIconnect automatically includes employees with “fixed schedules and that it can track certain times that people can and can’t work, plus holidays. The way RTI automates the schedules and reports makes our lives so much easier.”

Labor is just one component of RTIconnect. The software also includes modules that track cash and food and inventory, and it has a report writer for custom reports. “The report designer is great. We couldn’t do that with the old system,” said Mr. Stille.

“We do like the daily inventory and daily food cost. That does help us track our high waste items, and we’re starting to see some results from this.” The company now has “good, hard numbers” on Monday morning of where they stand with food—information they didn’t have until Wednesday or Thursday from their old software.

SMART Back-Office

RTIconnect was built using Microsoft’s(R) .NET framework for Smart Client software, enabling the software to run like a Windows program at the restaurant, (making it easy for store managers to learn and use), while taking advantage of the Internet to move data effortlessly between the restaurant or corporate office and RTI’s Data Center. The .NET technology also offers improved reliability, stronger security, and faster performance than conventional software applications.

Cost-effective, RTIconnect is offered as either a hosted subscription service at $99 per store monthly, or as a licensed software application for larger operators who are self-hosted.

RTIconnect is currently used in more than 1,600 restaurants, including Arby’s, Bear Rock Café, Burger King, Camille’s Sidewalk Café, Carl’s Jr., Cinnabon, Wendy’s, and other quick-service restaurants.


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Greg Waddell
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