QSR Is Dead

Posted by David Pettit on May 8, 2018 3:51:31 PM

The Restaurant Leadership Conference has come and gone, and as first-time attendees, we were very impressed. The sessions and speakers were captivating, attendees were engaged, and the topics were eye-opening. Many of the sessions at the conference seemed to focus on three large concepts: hiring/labor costs, delivery, and the impact of adjusting to a mobile-first world. But, there was one topic outside of this that caught our eyes and ears the most…quick service restaurants (QSR).

After speaking with restaurant operators, vendors, and industry experts at RLC, it appears as though quick service restaurants – the term – is dead. Or, at the very least, dying. So what happened to QSR? At first, this rebranding of an entire segment of the restaurant industry seems sudden, but when you look closer it simply follows a trend that has been years in the making. I think it even indicates another trend that is on the horizon.

What is replacing QSR? The term many are jumping behind is Limited Service Restaurants or LSR. This doesn’t seem like a big shift; after all, the term “LSR” has been around the industry for some time now. However, it is gaining a lot of steam and shows just how much of an impact fast-casual restaurants have had on the industry over the last half-decade.

QSRs are traditionally considered fast-food restaurants, while fast-casual restaurants lived somewhere in the middle of quick service and table service. But as we have seen in today’s restaurant world, both fast food and fast-casual restaurants are focusing more and more on the experience. Yes, it is still very much about the quality and quickness of the food, but it is becoming increasingly important to have guests identify with your brand. QSRs and fast-casual chains want customers to stick around, meet with friends, or even get some work done instead of taking their meal to go.

The line is being blurred between fast food and fast-casual restaurants, and Limited Service Restaurants (LSR) is simply a reflection of that.

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Topics: Blog

2018 MURTEC Recap - The Shift Towards Vertical-Focused Data Insights

Posted by Adam Creamer on May 1, 2018 8:30:00 AM

Another MURTEC has come and gone from sunny Las Vegas, and I think we can all agree that this was a great one.  Technology has always existed in the restaurant world, but this year’s multi-unit restaurant technology tradeshow marked an interesting shift in how technology is being utilized.  Of course, there has always been the tangible technology that has a visible impact on customer engagement and retention, but now restaurants are beginning to capitalize on the seemingly intangible side of technology: data.

According to a 2013 study from MIT, only 0.5% of data that is generated is actually used and analyzed.  I think it’s safe to say that in the years since this study came out, this number has increased significantly but I also believe that the current number is still alarmingly small.  As I said in the beginning, this year’s MURTEC event marked a clear shift towards focusing on the data being generated by restaurants and consumers alike.

As the restaurant industry continues to advance forward, more and more ways to analyze and capitalize on data will emerge.  For now, here are two methods that multi-unit restaurant operators can use to better leverage their transactional and consumer data.

Two ways restaurant operators can capitalize on their data now...plus, one concept to keep an eye on.

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Topics: Blog

Gas Stations Using Data Analytics To Predict & Track Sales

Posted by Maddy Moyer on Apr 25, 2018 10:34:34 AM

Running a successful gas station as a sole operation or as an extension to a grocery or convenience chain means juggling numerous data feeds.

Recently, a southern-based grocery chain approached Agilence because they needed assistance reconciling disparate data feeds from their gas pumps and their POS systems. The problem they were running into was related to timing; the various data feeds reported results at different times, which made it nearly impossible to cleanly reconcile intake and output records. This lag between data feeds was so bad that the grocer typically had to wait weeks to address reporting anomalies from their gas stations.

How did the problem get so bad? To accurately produce reports, they would have to manually match records such as payments at the pump and compare it to the tank volume records. By the time all of the information was received, mapped and scoured for operational inefficiencies or fraud, weeks or months had passed. Furthermore, once the data had been mapped, there was no way for the customer to effectively manage any discrepancy in the fuel intake versus output - this meant operating at a deficit or surplus and never knowing it.

Teaming up with Agilence, the grocery chain was able to use 20/20 Grocery to map the various data sources on a Fuel Reconciliation report. This report allows the customer to view fuel dispense totals, outside pump sales, authorized inside sales, and then calculates the fuel discrepancy. Now the the grocer can identify which gas stations have a significant lag in data by matching sales both in and out of the station with the actual dispensed totals. Because the gas stations run on such paper-thin margins, allowing management to quickly address potential operational inefficiencies makes it much easier to detect and act on before it affects the bottom line.

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Topics: Blog

How Grocery Stores are Boosting Deli Sales with Data Analytics

Posted by Maddy Moyer on Apr 19, 2018 9:56:11 AM

Remember the days when you’d saunter into the supermarket for some freshly sliced deli meats and cheeses? You’d approach the friendly butcher, ask for a pound of your favorite ham, and chit-chat about the weather while he sliced your order. Back up on the scale, your ham weighs in at 1.03 lbs and you owe $2.06. Although, you had your $2 dollars ready to go… not a problem, you reach for another dollar, pay and you’re on your way.

Flash forward to present day and grocery deli counters have evolved - No, I'm not talking about the self-serve ordering kiosks - I'm talking about the weight of the order.

Whether it's a training issue, a customer service perception or even a product packaging problem, there is a significant amount of profit being left on the cutting room floor. Without knowing it, deli staff members are avoiding making a 100% of their potential sale every time they under-weigh a deli order.

It’s just a few cents on the dollar though, no big deal. Or is it?

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Topics: Blog

The Rise of Business Intelligence in the Restaurant Industry

Posted by Adam Creamer on Apr 12, 2018 4:43:43 PM

Yesterday marked the official kickoff to MURTEC 2018. If you aren't familiar with the show or acronym, MURTEC - the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference - is one of the restaurant industry's premier trade shows.

After packing up my bag for Agilence's second MURTEC experience, I had a few hours at the airport to catch-up on the perceptions of big data and business intelligence across the restaurant industry. I flipped through Hospitality Technology's most recent Restaurant Technology Study; not only was it a concise read, but it was also filled with a variety of powerful data points.

Let's start with the spending shifts that are on the horizon for the restaurant industry. In 2017, overall restaurant IT budgets actually dropped by 2%, a 0.6% decrease from the budget allocated in 2016. For us in the technology space, that number is slightly alarming but once you analyze the situation further there is an interesting story unfolding.

This purse tightening appears to be less trepidation about investing in technology and instead, it's more about welcoming in a data-driven mindset to restaurant operations. Restaurant operators are beginning to turn to business intelligence and data analytics solutions to not only better serve their customers but to also drive more value from their other technology investments. Driving more personalized technological engagement within their locations can only occur when operators begin earmarking dollars specifically for IT but also making sure their current tools are running efficiently. 

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Topics: Blog

Customer Success - Their success is our success. It’s all in the name.

Posted by Adam Creamer on Apr 3, 2018 11:27:48 AM

In the most recent issue of Software Executive Magazine, our very own VP of Customer Success, Catherine Penizotto was profiled for her take on customer success. While this article is tailored to the leaders of the software industry, we believe that it also provides a nice peek behind the curtain as to how Agilence views the customer experience.

Below is a small excerpt from the article, to read more check out latest issue of Software Executive magazine.

When Agilence began to grow our SaaS (software-as-a-service) business, it became evident that we needed to start adding structure and organization within teams. I consider us lucky, both then and now, that we had no blueprint for how it’s supposed to be done, how it should be built, or how it should be grown. We simply took the name itself, “customer success,” and went from there. There are so many considerations when you begin putting the pieces in place for the foundation of your customer success department. The makeup of our department is built on a small list of tenets. These have guided us as we’ve grown and continue to be the compass that steers us to best serve our ever-growing and diverse customer base:

  • THE TEAM — Invest in them, personally and professionally. Understand what’s important to them and know them as people. If they love their job, they will love taking care of customers.
  • RESPECT — Respect among the team will translate to respect for your customers.
  • TRUTH EVEN WHEN PAINFUL — This gives you credibility with your customers.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY — Be upfront with your missteps.
  • CHANGE — What worked for us yesterday won’t necessarily work for us tomorrow. Look for change, accept change, and initiate change.
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Topics: Blog

Unlock The Three Things: The Quality vs. Quantity Retail Analytics Strategy

Posted by Adam Creamer on Mar 14, 2018 10:35:06 AM

When it comes to taking data analytics, “MORE” is never a strategy. More data just equates to more headaches if you don’t have a tangible analytics strategy in place. In a retail environment that is constantly siphoning new streams of customer data, you cannot simply rely on volume to outperform efficiency.

Today, you need to focus on building an analytics plan that transforms any volume of data into action - it's quality, over quantity. Read through "Unlocking The Three Things: The Top Growth Strategies in Retail Data Analytics,” a new whitepaper outlining the essential methods to profit improvement, sales optimization and promotion performance. This whitepaper is based on interviews with Loss Prevention & Operations experts who are embracing a modern data analytics strategy.

This whitepaper covers:

  • Where to easily drive incremental revenues and improve operating profits
  • What actions can be taken - via your data - to improve in-store upsells
  • How your established loss prevention tactics may actually be costlier than you think
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Topics: Blog

We Keep Moving Forward

Posted by Russ Hawkins on Jan 15, 2018 9:26:01 AM

When I look back at 2017, I have to marvel at how our small family of passionate retailers and restaurants evolved into such a vibrant customer community. Last year was exhilarating, and I cannot thank you all enough for joining us on this journey.

I’d like to quickly share with you my goals for 2018 and how every single member of the Agilence customer community plays a part in them.

  1. Continue to scale our business but never lose our personal touch. Last year, we tackled defining our NPS score (Net Promoter Score), and the results were incredibly insightful. If you aren’t familiar with the idea of a Net Promoter Score; it is primarily a scorecard on how your customers view you & whether they would recommend you to another colleague or friend. Agilence scored a 70, which when you consider the scale is from -100 to 100 points to our Customer Success Team making a big impact on your businesses. That connection between your business challenges and our team has to be at the forefront of everything we do.
  2. Sales Optimization, Promotion Performance, and Profit Improvement. Internally, we have been calling these functions, “The Three Things.” It’s time for us evolve from only loss prevention and asset protection because the fact of the matter is a vast majority of the Agilence customer community is already using the 20/20 Analytics platform to drive various departments within their business.
  3. Product Improvements. In 2018, we have some major product enhancements in the works. Functionality that will allow our customers to continue improving the performance in their stores but never at the cost of having to be a Ph. D. to master. As always, we look to you to tell us what works, what doesn’t and what you cannot live without. Please continue sharing your input because it’s what helps drive our continuous product innovation.
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Topics: Blog

Agilence featured on Modern Restaurant Management

Posted by David Pettit on Oct 4, 2017 9:14:27 AM

Recently, Agilence's own Restaurant team has had their analytical insights featured on Modern Restaurant ManagementWe wanted to make sure members of the Agilence community didn't miss out on these two recent posts, so check out the links below to learn more.

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Topics: Blog

Implementing a Data Analytics System That Your IT Department Will LOVE

Posted by Adam Creamer on Jun 20, 2017 9:31:55 AM

It’s more critical than ever to have a working relationship with your organization’s IT Department.

Analytics resources are at the point of being mission-critical to your day-to-day productivity, and that’s why it’s crucial you have an internal partner championing your technology needs.

Read through “Implementing A Data Analytics System That Your IT Department Will LOVE,” a new whitepaper outlining the 7 essential methods to getting IT buy-in. This whitepaper is based on interviews with IT & Loss Prevention experts who work within the world of retail and have rolled out data analytics solutions within their organizations.

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Topics: Blog

Welcome to the Agilence Blog!

In this blog we will cover all things retail.  Everything from tips for operations and loss prevention, to analysis of current trends and customer habits will be covered here.

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