Growing restaurant brands often find themselves in a precarious place when they exceed the 50 store mark. Suddenly, the machine they have built takes on a mind of its own and requires a whole new set of tools to run efficiently and effectively. Paper-based accounting and payroll systems are no longer viable and Quickbooks can’t keep up with the demands of an unwieldy enterprise poised for exponential growth. Without the right systems in place to automate processes and provide the right intelligence, a promising brand can suddenly collapse for growing too fast.
In order to stay competitive and keep accurate records, a computerized system must be implemented that can grow with the demands of the business but still be relevant in the early stages of growth. There are many ERP solutions on the market that can deliver the promise of Information Technology but which is right for your Restaurant or Hotel brand?
We have assisted many national food and hospitality brands navigate the ERP landscape and choose an appropriate software partner. The natural first question we get is always the same: How much difference is there really between the available applications? Does it really matter that much?
As it turns out, quite a bit:
If there is one fact that is true, all software is not created equal. And certainly not equal in size. From the small spectrum of Microsoft Dynamics applications, to the mid-range like Infor Lawson and Oracle, to the very high end like SAP, it is important to buy the application that make sense from a size perspective. After all, you don’t want to buy a semi-truck to go grocery shopping. When we talk about size it’s important to consider all the following:
- Number of stores
- Number of States or Countries you’re operating in
- Number of Employees
- Overall Sales
- Number of assets, fixed or otherwise
It’s very likely that answering the above items will narrow your search to a few applications you can choose from.
Every business operates differently. In today’s technologically advanced marketplace, what gives you the competitive edge might be a very small differentiator. It is important to ensure that the application you select can handle all the aspects of your business, otherwise you will need to continue to buy more and more software. Some of the areas you may want to consider are:
- Human Resources and Payroll
- Talent management
- Employee and Manager Self-Service Portal
- Staff Scheduling
- General Ledger / Strategic Ledger
- Asset Management and Lease Management
- Accounts payable and Accounts Receivable
- Vendor and Customer Self-Service Portal
- Inventory Control (Receiving, Matching, Warehouse, Shipping and Delivery)
- Revenue Cycle (Billing and Revenue)
- And more
Implementation time often goes hand in hand with company size and software size and can vary from weeks to months. It is important to have agood grasp on the level of effort involved here to make sure it’s a good fit for your organization.
It’s not likely that you’re going to find an application these days that doesn’t have to interact with other applications to some degree. Whether it’s reporting TALX I9 information, or Payroll data to the IRS, the integration tools available with your software application can be a key determiner of success in your implementation. We work with our clients to determine all their integration needs and evaluate the potential applications for viability.
Business intelligence may be a new-age term but enterprise reporting is as old as time. Getting relevant, actionable information out of your system and into executive hands can be the key differentiator in your enterprise success. Working with different software vendors, we ensure that all our client’s BI needs are met.
In an ever increasing mobile-first environment, you want a software partner who is mobile first. Many ERP applications are dozens of years old and have proven the business model of their application on the web. It is however becoming more and more important that you choose a vendor who has a real roadmap for mobility and cloud based applications.
One of the most overlooked criteria for choosing an application is available resources. Each software application has an eco-system of consultants and service providers that work with the client base to maintain and implement the software application. Depending on your geographic area and the application you choose, you may find that this can be a challenge that is not easily overcome. While finding available consultants shouldn’t be on the top of your list of criteria, it certainly has it’s place on the list.