Arbys franchisee cuts ordering time in half using electronic vendor order guides.
Manager says using RTIconnect electronic vendor Order Guides cuts ordering time, lowers restaurant inventory, and saves hundreds each month. Before implementing RTIconnect in her Arby’s restaurant, manager Amanda Roberts depended on “Excel and a pencil” to manage her inventory and ordering. And while her spreadsheets were really good, nowadays it’s all about the technology.
Kona, Inc., located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, began using RTIconnect last year to computerize its restaurant food, cash, and labour cost controls. The time savings got even better five months ago when their major distributor, MBM, became an RTI Supply Chain Partner—which meant that Kona could download MBM’s order guide (product lists) right into their RTIconnect software.
“Before, the only way to get new numbers or new items was from the MBM flash reports. That meant that a report and an order could cross wires and an ordered item wouldn’t be on the truck,” says Mrs. Roberts. “Now, the inventory item numbers stay up-to-date and I know immediately if an item is discontinued or if a new item is added.”
By using electronic order guides, operators ensure that their inventory item numbers stay in sync with the numbers assigned by vendors, as well as pricing and case/pack information.
When the vendor updates its product list, the updated order guide is electronically sent to RTIconnect, along with an email to the restaurant’s office advising them of a change. Keeping the inventory items in sync with the vendors also helps restaurants maintain their eOrdering discount (subject to vendor participation).
Currently used in more than 1,600 quick-service restaurants, RTIconnect is a Web-enabled system developed by Restaurant Technology, Inc. (RTI). Participating vendors become RTI Supply Chain Partners, and this group now includes COI, Maines, McCabe, MBM, Sygma, Shamrock, WillowRun, and others. For details on RTIconnect, please visit .
A significant economizing tool in RTIconnect is its ability to calculate and generate orders, using a combination of sales history, sales projections, special events, and current inventory. Mrs. Roberts says the efficiency of the ordering system “really helps me out. It takes me an hour now [each week] instead of two hours. It cut my time in half.”
She adds that using RTIconnect saves her more than time. It also reduces inventory costs by lowering inventory in her restaurant. “It has lowered our inventory quite a bit. I’m one of those people who gets very nervous and doesn’t want to run out of stuff. For example, I was always over-ordering paper supplies.” She calculates that RTIconnect’s ordering system has saved her about 25%. “Now I spend from $500 to $800 less each month.”
When the manager clicks Calculate Order, RTIconnect begins its calculations of sales projections, actual inventory usage, and current inventory counts. It’s even ‘smart’ enough to calculate how long the on-hand amount will last and how much is in transit from a previous order. Using these amounts, the software generates an order for the manager to review. As soon as the manager clicks Send Order, the order is transmitted to the vendor.
When the order arrives and is verified, the manager clicks Received and RTIconnect automatically adds the received items to the restaurant’s inventory counts.
RTIconnect was built using Microsoft’s(R) .NET v2.0 framework for Smart Client software. This enables the software to run like a Windows program at the restaurant, making it easy for managers to learn and use, while in the background it takes full advantage of the Internet to move data effortlessly between the restaurant or corporate office and RTI’s Data Centre. 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 restaurant monthly, or as a licensed software application for larger operators.
Restaurants currently using RTIconnect include Arby’s, Bear Rock Café, Burger King, Camille’s Sidewalk Café, Carl’s Jr., Cinnabon, Wendy’s, and other quick-service restaurants.