In Part 3 of our series on converting to eRestaurant, our panel of experts discuss important tasks that you – and your team – will need to manage in eRestaurant, from labor costs to handling vouchers.
The members of our panel are home office and store leaders who have years of experience helping franchisees successfully transition to eRestaurant. They include:
- Sharla Harris: Director of Training, Border Foods
- Lynette Williamson: Client Success Manager, Delaget
- Kent Farris: Restaurant General Manager, Border Foods
Q. How do you check labor in eRestaurant?
Unfortunately, there’s not a real solid way to check labor hours across multiple stores. However, you can view some labor-related metrics on the “Big Cart Dashboard” on your eRestaurant computer. This allows you to pull sales and labor data from the register. It will also tell you if you’re using more hours than your schedule allows and your productivity level. We set a target for productivity in our area and for every store, so we know what kind of productivity we’re looking for and if our hours look correct.
Q: Can I view labor as a percentage?
The issue with viewing labor as a percentage is that you have to know and review which employees are in your building at all times. For example, maybe you have a day where all three salaried managers are working one shift, and then you have a day where there’s just two shift managers and the rest are all team members. The higher wages are going to skew your labor percent on days when your team is manager heavy. It’s going to skew labor in the opposite direction for days when you’re not manager heavy.
While you may not want to view labor as a percent, as Kent mentioned, it is possible. I would say the most important thing to do is have the correct wage rates for all your employees inside eRestaurant. I know some groups that choose not to put those wage rates in for their general managers. But if you’re trying to manage to a certain labor percentage and you want to include the managers, you need accurate wage rates.
Q: It seems like my stores are now getting less hours for the same sales as they were pre-conversion. Why?
The reason this happens is because of how labor is being calculated in eRestaurant versus TACO. I would suggest looking at the different labor profiles or tables that are available in the “Admin” section of eRestaurant. Currently, we have a number of restaurants using the test profile, which is set to 117% productivity. That seems to get us the closest to our productivity level pre-eRestaurant. You can play around with those productivity levels in order to make fit what you need.
Additionally, taking the time to build a great schedule is super important and will affect your productivity levels. Because building a schedule is different in eRestaurant, we held a full day of scheduling classes for our managers. During that time, they completed their first set of schedules together in an uninterrupted environment. I’d definitely recommend that.
Q: What should I do if an employee is missing from the schedule?
Ninety percent of the time the reason an employee is missing from the schedule is because their start date is wrong in eRestaurant. We took a few steps to remedy the situation. First, we printed out our employee data sheets. We then went through and verified that all of the information [on the data sheets] matched what was in eRestaurant for each individual employee.
In our review, we found that eRestaurant would sometimes have incorrect start dates for employees. For example, we had an employee in our system that showed a start date of 2027. To remedy that, you’ll have to go into eRestaurant and correct the start date – and then your employee shouldn’t be missing from the schedule. If that’s not the case, you’ll have to go back to the schedule and see if there’s actually an error.
Q: Where is overtime applied with a borrowed employee?
Overtime is allocated to the home store. So, if you have a team member who’s shared between restaurants, overtime on the eRestaurant side of things will impact the home restaurant.
Q: Is there a way to see multi-brand sales per day, per week?
Unfortunately, eRestaurant doesn’t split out the sales. For example, when we’re looking at a KT [Kentucky Fried Chicken – Taco Bell] restaurant, we don’t see that in eRestaurant. We go to our above store reporting tool for that information.
Q: How is transferring product different in eRestaurant?
I think the process of transferring product is much easier now. With TACO, you would complete the “transfer out,” and then just hope that the other store completed the “transfer in.” There was no real way of knowing, unless you called the store and asked. When you do a “transfer out” in eRestaurant, the system automatically sends a notification to the store. So, someone at the store now has to accept the transfer before they can close out their system. This new functionality helps eliminate the confusion around product transfers.
Q: How is transferring product different in eRestaurant?
I did some research for a client in eRestaurant, and here’s what I found. Go to the “Cash Office” screen. From there, you enter the voucher amount in the petty cash field. After you hit “Enter” you then need to click “Save.” Don’t forget to click “Save!” Otherwise the system is not going to save that amount, and it’s going to throw off your cash over short.
Q: What will happen to Delaget’s view-only reports?
The view only reports were specifically made for the TACO system. After you switch your restaurants from TACO to eRestaurant, those files will stop coming through since you’re no longer on the TACO system. Going forward, you’ll need to work through your eRestaurant reports in the eRestaurant system and work with your reporting vendor, such as Delaget, in making sure that you’re able to find the different data points that are important to you.
Q: Are the times or frequency to poll data pre-set, or can they be customized?
Store data files are generated at a set time every morning in eRestaurant – typically around 6 to 6:30 AM local store time. With the TACO system, those files could be coming in at any point throughout the morning. Currently, it happens at a set time.
Unfortunately, the file arrival time is not customizable at the moment. But it’s something that we are working with Taco Bell Corporate with to adjust so that files can come in earlier in the day.
Additionally, pay close attention to your store closing procedures. If a store doesn’t complete all of the required closing steps, files will not be sent. This will definitely affect the timing of your polled data.
Q: How do product transfers get to accounting, and how will the department know that a transfer has actually been made?
Store-to-store product transfers will pop up on the workflow as a transfer that needs to be accepted. After you submit it, it’s sent through the TBE file every night. That’s how accounting will get that information, too.
Changing your back of house system can be like heart surgery for your business. Following the advice in this article, and in the other articles in our eRestaurant series, will help make that transition smoother.