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Burgers at their best

 

Hamburger restaurant chain Wendy’s is using IBM Cognos TM1 implemented by mindfull to analyse sales data in near real-time, enabling it to improve marketing decisions in a competitive environment.

 

Best tasting hamburgers might be what lures Wendy’s customers through the doors of its 17 New Zealand restaurants. But it’s a newfangled business intelligence system that Wendco, the New Zealand Wendy’s franchisee, deployed to understand buyer behaviour. The software that is giving them insight into customer behaviour is IBM® Cognos® TM1, which Wendy’s CEO Danielle Lendich says is bridging the information gap that used to exist between stores and the company’s Te Atatu headquarters.

 

 
“It was a very powerful demonstration. We had all of our management team in and straight away they saw the potential of this tool.
— James Irvine Wendy's financial controller
 

“It was difficult to understand individual restaurants,” Danielle says “or compare sales week by week, day by day.” A first step in making better use of restaurant sales, accomplished in 2010, was to transfer it from Aloha into an SQL Server database. Once more accessible, they either continued to crunch the numbers by spreadsheet, or implemented a business intelligence tool. The spreadsheet limitations were soon apparent. While pivot tables could be used to view the data in a variety of ways, manipulating the information was slow and, if a new view was wanted, that required expert help.

 

IBM Business Partner Mindfull, which had set up the SQL Server database, gave Wendy’s management a demonstration of how they could take analysis of the business to the next level. Using IBM Cognos TM1, and the Cognos Executive Viewer, they showed the managers some of the company’s own data in ways they’d never seen it before.

 

 
TM1/Cognos evolved our restaurants to a new level and we now not only serve quality food but quality decision making
 

 

“It was a very powerful demonstration. We had all of our management team in — marketing, human resources, facilities management and our CEO — and straight away they saw the potential of this tool. ”Within a month, Mindfull had put together a formal proposal, which was accepted by Wendy’s CEO Danielle Lendich, and by July that year user acceptance testing of the system had been completed.

 

The tool lets Wendy’s marketing manager Fay Stretch see the effect on sales within a day of a promotion beginning. “It gives me the ability to analyse many aspects of the business that I couldn’t look at previously so I can make more robust decisions,” Stretch says.

 

Reports are displayed by the Executive Viewer dashboard in a highly visual easy-to-read way, and the dashboard can also be readily user-customised. The financial controller has an alert set up to highlight cash variances between store takings and recorded sales. District managers, for their part, might want to be alerted when speed-of service targets aren’t being met.

 

Wendy’s could have carried on without the detailed business information it now enjoys, but that would have left it “flying blind” in an increasingly competitive market. Having successfully deployed IBM Cognos TM1 in marketing, sales and operations, it has extended to human resources, the supply chain and deeper into the financial side of the business.

 

With all the business insight they could want at their fingertips, Wendy’s management will then be in a better position to serve customers the best tasting hamburgers they enjoy.

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