Restaurant management group takes analytics mobile

The Spillers Group uses Roambi Analytics and the Flow mobile application to provide restaurant managers with deeper insights into costs.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Why shouldn't small business owners or managers have the same access to big data analytics as a larger company?

That was the question that drove Shane Spillers, co-founder of a restaurant management group in the Dallas area (and a former Deloitte employee), to try out Roambi Analytics, a cloud-based service that helps companies visualize key operational metrics using readily available accounting data. 

Spillers Group includes four very different operations, but for all of them the two biggest variable costs are labor and the ingredients used to prepare meals, Spillers said. In the past, managers had to control these costs somewhat reactively, so Spillers sought out a service that could convert some of the data flowing into its accounting reports into a more real-time picture. He picked Roambi primarily because of its mobile support. "It creates a PDF report that they can see on their mobile devices," Spillers said.

Right now, the team is focused primarily on labor metrics -- it manages approximately 135 employees. These reports are created by pulling data from the payroll system on a biweekly basis, formatting the data as part of a Google spreadsheet and then running it in Roambi. The information is offered in aggregate for all four restaurants; managers can select their restaurant on the visual in order to drill down more deeply into their individual data and to compare their results against the other operations.

"For us, it has been a game changer. The ability for our managers to see their metrics on their mobile device has yielded great results," Spillers said.

Specifically, within the first cycle of reporting, the group was able to reduce costs by 10 percent, because they could make more informed staffing decisions relative to peak revenue-generating periods.

Spillers Group also creates a cost-of-goods report that it now shares with high-level executives. "As we mature our reporting processes, we will go to the next step of generating these reports in more detail," Spillers said.

Roambi is a six-year-old company that aims to make the process of visualizing data much simpler for the average store or sales manager. The service comes with a number of premade reports, using an ad hoc spreadsheet as the data source. There is an application programming interface for helping automate these reports. 

The pricing for Roambi Analytics starts at $39 per user, per month, with a minimum of 10 users required. There's also an on-premises version of the application available, but you need to call the company for details.

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