Profitable Restaurants: Sit down with RMS Director of Product Management Paul Compton
Whether you’re a restaurant operator, franchisee or franchisor, for the past 18 or so months, the scramble has been real. Shifting demands from both consumers and health officials; labor and food shortages; supply chain bottlenecks — chances are you’ve faced it and dealt with it.
Now, as we near the end of the year, what’s next? What’s in store as we approach year two of a pandemic-tinged world? How do you catch a curveball that never stops curving?
As we’ve done in the past, RMS sat down with one of its on-staff experts to pick their brain about a specific challenge facing restaurant brands. For this exchange, we asked Paul Compton, Director of Product Management at RMS, to tap into his lengthy and successful tenure in the hospitality industry. Compton shares how brands can accurately gain a holistic understanding of what’s coming, and take away transparent and actionable financial insights.
RMS: Paul, you spent a decade as a finance executive at Hard Rock Cafe. You’ve been at Revenue Management Solutions now for just two months. What attracted you here?
Paul: Frankly, it was metiRi, RMS’s revolutionary financial solution that helps top franchised brands drive growth. At Hard Rock, one of the most effective tools we had was an internally developed product very similar to metiRi. It was the lynchpin for building financial expertise among our restaurant operators and with our field operations team.
With our internally developed tool, we could slice and dice financial information so unit operators could understand their financials and compare them against other units’ results. Over time, this transparency and visibility helped the entire system improve and became the standard for how operations and field support teams worked with franchisees to make them more profitable.
RMS: How did this lead you to RMS?
Paul: At the time, my job also involved pricing, and while not a client, I was aware of RMS and had great respect for their pricing expertise and capabilities. After leaving HRC, I came across RMS again and first encountered metiRi. I realized I’d not only discovered an effective solution, but I could also tap into data experts who truly understood our business. RMS shared my deep belief in the benefit of transparency and benchmarking and how a greater financial acumen across the whole system could drive profitability.
I appreciated RMS’ approach to serving franchise systems, where it’s particularly hard to get data collected, aggregated and analyzed on a timely basis. I believe RMS offers the most comprehensive solution stack available for franchised restaurant brands. It was compelling to be part of taking this solution to the next level.
RMS: You know what metiRi is capable of. What are the top benefits would-be users should know?
Paul: metiRi can help a company thrive and increase profitability in several ways. I’ll start with three: speed and ability to act, benchmarking capabilities and accuracy.
When you can see and understand what is going on within the brand system, you are better equipped to adapt and change. But to do so quickly, you need access to information — all of it, promptly.
A solution like metiRi lets you know, for example, where and when certain units are feeling pressures more heavily than others. Historically, operators have had only quarterly or even annual data from which to glean these insights. When circumstances (such as COVID) demand an immediate response, waiting around for financials or moving forward with estimates are neither reassuring nor accurate options.
This is an all-too-common predicament for brands, and the reasons are universal. Franchisees don’t always submit information on a timely or consistent basis (especially if they aren’t required to). Typically, they perceive little value in taking the time to do so.
The dilemma is understandable and endemic to the industry. Franchisees either submit data in their P&L format, in the format required by the franchisor or in the template the brand requires. It’s tedious work to gather and standardize.
metiRi, on the other hand, does the work for you. Its sophisticated process helps franchisees map their financial statement to the brand’s financial statement and automates that mapping every month. This makes it very easy for the franchisee to provide their financials. That alone is valuable. Then metiRi standardizes the financials so brands can compare across units.
The strongest operators are taking advantage of metiRi’s benchmarking functionality, but it actually benefits the whole system. Franchisees can compare results to their peer groups (presented anonymously) to better identify opportunities for profitability — such as “Are my food and labor costs higher or lower?” — and adjust. Field operations teams benefit from having the same data as the franchisee. Everyone benefits from clearer and more open conversations, which metiRi fosters by providing a standard and complete data set.
RMS: What about accuracy? The restaurant industry is known for a rather analog approach to data gathering.
Paul: That’s exactly right — historically, data has been collected manually, which can take weeks, if not months. It’s also not always accurate. metiRi has built-in checks and balances that can be specified by each brand. Examples include range checks for values to ensure they are reasonable and comparing submitted sales with the POS system to ensure they match.
Accuracy underpins it all. Standardizing the data and ensuring it is accurate and consistent across the system means the result is truly impactful for the franchisee and franchisor.
RMS: Is direct entry still an option?
Paul: Sure, you can still do direct entry. But I’ve been on many customer calls where we’ll walk someone through uploading the info they manually key in each month. Most of these calls begin with, “I have been dreading this; I’ve got too much going on and am not looking forward to it.” The calls often end with, “This is so much easier than I thought. I’m so glad I’ve done it now; this is so much better than having to key in my numbers manually.”
Operators have told us that since they started using metiRi, they can now access data in minutes that before would have taken days or weeks to obtain.
RMS: What’s top on your to-do list at RMS?
Paul: A lot of active listening to understand how our clients are using metiRi and how we can build on the solution to make it even more helpful. We want to make sure our clients are using metiRi to interpret their data in ways they’ve not been able to in the past and with the ability to act on it.
Speaking of which, brands interested in learning more can quickly request a 1:1 metiRi demo.