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Data the key ingredient for restaurant chain success

Michelle Davidson | March 21, 2017
CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries uses ArrowStream’s OnDemand software to monitor all aspects of the supply chain for its restaurants, helping it reduce food costs

Businesses have more data than ever about their operations, supply chains and customers. The problem is often they can’t see it, don’t know where it is, and don’t have an easy want to pull it all together and analyze it. So, they are unable to make smart decisions and can lose thousands of dollars a year. 

It’s a challenge restaurant franchisors such as CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries Inc. face. CraftWorks has found a solution, though—OnDemand software from ArrowStream. 

OnDemand does the “dirty work” of collecting data from food distributors, cleaning the data, analyzing it and putting the information front and center for supply chain restaurant managers, said Jeff Dorr, chief customer officer of ArrowStream. 

“OnDemand provides near real-time processing and analysis,” he said. “Without a system, you are spot checking. Humans can’t get through the data quickly. We’re providing predictive and actionable insight—a full supply chain view of the data.” 

The software is provided as a service, with the data stored in two off-site data centers. Using a dashboard, companies can monitor distributors’ inventory, food prices and purchasing compliance. They can track price discrepancies—if the price charged is the price agreed upon—automate the examination of contract price updates, and streamline communication between restaurant companies and their suppliers. Companies can also set up triggers—for low inventory, for example—so they are alerted and can contact the distributor. 

OnDemand watches 100 percent of a company’s spend and alerts managers of “opportunities to increase contracted spend and reduce instances of off-contract purchasing,” Dorr said. 

“OnDemand ties all data indicators together so corporations can focus on the right vendors and providers. We’re getting the information for them so they don’t have to go looking for it manually,” he said. 


OnDemand helps CraftWorks reduces food costs 

CraftWorks, which operates 10 brands in 177 locations, wanted more visibility into its diverse supply chain of 25 distribution centers, 49 local produce distribution centers, six small wares distribution centers, and nine redistribution centers. 

Tracking and managing the supply chain for its restaurants, which include Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, Rock Bottom Restaurants & Breweries, and Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, is a challenge.

CraftWorks used to have spreadsheets and programs, but it would take a long time to analyze the information and find differences, said Scott Adams, vice president of strategic supply and initiatives at CraftWorks. 

Plus, managers couldn’t see everything, causing them to scramble to resolve low-inventory problems or to lose money because of price changes. 

The company chose OnDemand primarily because of the software’s contract management feature, Adams said. 

“With it, we can make sure distributors charge the right cost, that distributors adhere to the specifications outlined in their contracts, and that our restaurants are buying to contract,” he said. 


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