The chain restaurant industry is big business — and it's a tough business. With more than 200 major restaurant chains worldwide, competition is fierce and there's little room for sloppy operations.
In all cases, cloud technology plays a huge role in how efficient these businesses can be. Critically, new cloud platforms and applications can help lower costs while bringing far greater speed and agility to restaurant chains and their corporate operations.
Capgemini, a global leader in guiding digital transformations, has deep experience in this industry. We primarily work with the top 20 restaurant chains, but also smaller brands and large master franchises as well.
We partner with Dell Boomi on NetSuite projects to provide cloud-native integration as a cornerstone to our extensive portfolio of technologies, services and packaged offerings. Together, we help restaurant chains quickly and successful migrate key parts of their digital infrastructure into the cloud.
In our work with our restaurant customers, NetSuite is often the centerpiece application platform across a host of business processes and organizational data.
"To realize all the benefits of NetSuite, you need to integrate it with a host of other applications and data sources. And with Boomi, we can quickly do that for our chain restaurant customers, easily tying NetSuite into any cloud or on-premise source."
In this post, I will examine the operational challenges chain restaurants face and how we use NetSuite with the Boomi integration platform to help them successfully migrate to the cloud to broadly improve their operations and lower costs.
Growth Often Drives Technology Transformation
Let's start with two common areas where we see new technology being applied in restaurant chains:
As a restaurant chain adds stores, that expansion often overwhelms the headquarters’ ERP system, increasing overhead and pushing inefficient processes to the breaking point. Since it’s the restaurants that generate revenue, you want to minimize corporate overhead while increasing efficiency and lowering costs.
On the supply chain side, particularly with franchises, chains sell equipment and supplies to their franchisees and may facilitate food purchase as well. Corporate wants to give their franchise owners a good customer experience, which may suffer if growth cannot be accommodated smoothly.
Moreover, there’s no single system that serves the chain restaurant model. You’re always dealing with disparate systems, so integrations are a fact of life. But you need a way to integrate that’s fast, cost-effective, and boosts process efficiency.
Restaurants Re-Branding Creates Spikes in Order Volume and Remodels
When chain restaurants rebrand, it creates major spikes in order volume and restaurant remodeling, which existing systems and processes frequently can’t handle. Therefore, rebranding may require a technology refresh as well.
And any refresh these days means moving to the cloud. That's why we've built a business for chain restaurants based on NetSuite, a complete cloud-based business management suite.
To realize all the benefits of NetSuite, you need to integrate it with a host of other applications and data sources. And with Boomi, we can quickly do that for our chain restaurant customers, easily tying NetSuite into any cloud or on-premise source.
NetSuite offers prebuilt restaurant content developed under its SuiteSuccess program, which we combine with Capgemini assets to build client prototypes using the NetSuite development platform.
These solutions can be implemented quickly at a relatively low cost compared with other industry solutions. Like Boomi, NetSuite is true cloud — single instance, multi-tenant — and it is much more complete and mature compared with many entrants in the market.
We find that our customers often roll together cloud initiatives with re-branding efforts. As a result, Capgemini focuses a core part of its practice on helping customers through a robust set of supply chain and corporate financials solutions. The supply chain solution includes an ecommerce site, a back-end fulfillment system and project management capabilities.
Through better ordering processes and coordination between materials and labor, Capgemini's supply chain solution saves money by improving inventory and personnel management.
Our solution also provides equipment and supply ordering templates. It offers workflow, approvals and tracking, which connect with a labor component.
At Capgemini, we often integrate the supply chain solution with a company’s back-end financial systems, such as Microsoft, PeopleSoft and NetSuite, or others. Our packaged financial solution can manage the different calendar-based periods of multiple subsidiaries.
For restaurant financials, we also have several plugins and bundles that employ NetSuite, in addition to builds that meet industry needs and extend NetSuite capabilities,
"Boomi has been invaluable in bringing speed and agility to our NetSuite migration projects."
Boomi Integration Speeds Path to Cloud
Between our financial and supply chain solutions, integration is required to determine the data master, the subordinate data and the best way to move customers, vendors, items, tax information, etc. between two or more systems.
On the restaurant headquarters side, there’s always a point-of-sale system, plus a “back-of-house” system that monitors a bill of materials and food inventory. This, in addition to labor cost information, must be moved into the core ERP system (NetSuite), so it’s a significant integration point.
On top of that are third-party invoice scanning systems, lease and real estate management, and facilities management. There may be as many as 15 data source integrations in a typical deployment. Having an intelligent integration platform like Boomi's makes handling this scope of integrations simple.
Sometimes, clients just want to use NetSuite’s CSV file import/export utility rather than integrate. But when you start discussing data volumes, data transformation, automation and process frequency, import/export demands a lot of manual intervention and time spent writing macros.
It soon becomes clear that building and maintaining integrations with Boomi is far faster and less expensive while providing invaluable management controls and organizational agility. As an added bonus, Boomi is easy to learn and maintain and incorporates performance monitoring and error handling.
With one of our clients, we identified 44 needed integrations moving data from 700 stores. The data volumes alone made file import/export impractical. In this case, a divestiture was also part of the scenario, so time was of the essence. Like re-branding efforts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and divestitures frequently drive cloud-migration initiatives.
In these situations and many others, Boomi has been invaluable in bringing speed and agility to our NetSuite migration projects.
Boomi Pricing Supports Chain Restaurant Scale
Boomi prices on data sources, not on the number of threads between sources. This is especially important when you’re dealing with a business transformation effort. In such cases, it is difficult to know exact data volumes. The project can quickly expand as the transformation effort rolls out, to encompass bigger parts of a computing environment.
If pricing were based on threads — connections — it would be a barrier to transformation. If I’ve got my hands full getting off old systems and assessing how I will operate in the future, pricing based on threads or process flows introduces a design constraint on how I can move my data. The same can be said for volume-based pricing.
But in all cases, Boomi's pricing avoids both of those difficult cost constraints for scaling your integrations.
Best-of-Breed Delivers Best-of-Functionality
Back in the client-server days of best-of-breed software, organizations had a slew of cascading dependencies between applications, operating systems and databases. Systems meant to operate together were constantly out of whack. Single instance, multi-tenant cloud platforms eliminate those problems.
As a cloud-based integration platform, Boomi makes stitching these best-of-breed systems together much easier than it was 10 years ago. And, most importantly, this approach delivers the best-of-breed promise: best-of-functionality.
With Boomi, our restaurant chain customers achieve first-class functionality, allowing NetSuite to operate with other applications as a seamless system across their stores and corporate operations.
Our restaurant practice addresses customers' needs from end to end: from the very front end of business strategy and innovation, all the way through the backend of running an operation. And Boomi is a significant contributor to those capabilities.
For more information on Boomi’s enterprise integration platform, please contact one of our Boomi integration experts today.
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