How Video Puts Profits and Best Practice in the Spotlight

The benefits of running a hospitality business are numerous but like any venture, there are operational challenges that need to be overcome. A common concern for any restaurant owner or franchisee would be costs – apart from the labor-intensive nature of the business putting pressure on the wage costs, there are the issues of managing waste and preventing internal shrinkage or customer theft.

And of course at brand level there is the question of compliance. Every franchisor wants to be confident that correct procedures are being followed at each franchise outlet in their network.

One major food retail franchisor has found a way to better manage efficiencies and improve the bottom-line. Restaurant Brands is the parent company in New Zealand of Carl’s Jr, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.Starbucks_Coffee_Logo.svg

This organization set itself two challenges:

  • to improve loss prevention by monitoring the different food preparation processes at the restaurants
  • to manage waste levels to lower theft among dishonest customers and staff

Restaurant Brands turned to software from Milestone Systems; the XProtect video management tool has been implemented across about 180 restaurants. It allows managers to remotely view customer numbers at each outlet, to see how many cash registers are open and how many employees are operating the counters. The software also lets them keep track of peak hours and check restaurant performance.

1024px-KFC_logo.svgCameras have been installed in all NZ KFC and Carl’s Jr outlets, and selective restaurants in the Starbucks and Pizza Hut chains.

Geoff Holton, commercial IT manager at Restaurant Brands, says: “The Milestone video solution has made day-to-day operations much easier. Prior to this, managers were only able to visit one or two stores at a time, but now they look remotely at their stores by using the XProtect Smart Client interface.”

In addition, the company can check on the food preparation processes.

“We can go and have a look at how the pizzas are made at Pizza Hut or see if standards are followed when breading chicken at KFC stores. This is all about securing the quality of our products, making sure our staff are safe while working with the hot deep fryers, and managing waste and staffing levels,” Holton explains.

Net profit has been improved too, he reveals. Every business has theft issues, he says, but the video monitoring makes it easier to discover the dishonest few.

“We have just over 5,000 staff and in the first 20 weeks of the financial year we actually detected 16 people that were stealing.”

And that’s not all. He sees plenty of other opportunities for using the XProtect software within the Restaurant Brands business, including integration with a Point of Sale system.

This article ran in Franchising Magazine.