For Red Robin, financial budgeting and planning was a time-consuming, Excel-based process. The FP&A team couldn’t consolidate numbers or extricate data quickly, and had little visibility into the financial and operational performance of restaurants. Because disconnected data originated from 10+ sources, Red Robin reported its financial performance two weeks after the close of every month. This delay in results left restaurant managers with little time or ability to proactively advise their restaurants.
To get restaurant managers stuck gathering data out from the back office , the FP&A team decided it was time to overhaul both the process and support systems. The team needed a more flexible technology that could integrate with their many sources of data to keep pace with restaurant growth and ensure accurate reporting. This led Red Robin to the Anaplan platform, which quickly replaced a legacy on-premise planning solution and countless spreadsheets.
With the Anaplan platform, Red Robin accelerated planning, improved insight, and increased visibility from the frontline regional restaurant managers up to the boardroom executives. The FP&A team can now deliver operational scorecards every week, rather than once a month. Restaurant managers now have more free time to focus on what really matters: core management, customers, and team mentoring responsibilities. With real-time visibility into data, the team can now deliver timely FP&A insights anywhere, anytime.
In the search for a new budgeting and planning tool, Red Robin’s goal was for restaurant managers to spend significantly less time tracking down the right financial data. The FP&A team chose Anaplan not only for its enhanced data quality and ability to access all their data through a single hub, but also because the platform is mobile and tablet friendly. This enabled restaurant managers to gather real-time insights and performance metrics without being tied to their desks.
Jaime Benson, Finance Manager of FP&A, shares how Red Robin has improved its customer experience by freeing restaurant managers from pulling their own financial performance and P&Ls.
Jaime Benson: My name is Jaime Benson. I am the Finance Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews. My role as the manager of FP&A is really a liaison with the restaurants. I am there to support the restaurants. We want to make sure that we can help them to set and track financial goals so that we maintain the health of the organization.
My team puts together 10 to 15 different resources that we have to go out, get data from, bring back in, and consolidate into Microsoft Excel. Then, finally, two weeks after the month closes, we close the books-that’s when we send out a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet where we have ranked all the restaurants in this operations scorecard, and that’s the first time that they have seen their final results.
We initially looked at it just for budgeting because budgeting is a really important part of tracking and setting those financial goals. So we were trying to find a product that could replace that, and I think once we started seeing what Anaplan could do, we realized all the opportunities and we said, “We can not only use this for budgets, but we can go beyond that, and we can use this to report the operational scorecards. We can get them their P&L data weekly.” So that was not even the initial scope of this project, but it grew into that because we saw the possibilities.
We want the restaurant managers to be out in the restaurants with guests, with team members, and developing them and making the guest experience better, not back in the back office calculating what their profit was for the prior week. If that four-to-six hours could be used to spend with the guests and with our other team members, I think that would be a success for the whole organization.
We are sending out restaurant scorecards, the operational scorecards, and our profit and loss statements (P&Ls) to the restaurants so that they can understand on a weekly basis what their performance is. So we have really sped up that process, and we are getting them information a lot faster so that they can make really good business decisions and kind of adapt, in a very volatile industry, kind of adapt to changing trends. And Anaplan is allowing us to do that.
I would describe Anaplan as the future. It’s just constantly evolving and it’s constantly surprising me about what abilities it has. We are going to be able to do things that we didn’t even think was possible, and that’s really exciting to me.