Jaime Benson, Finance Manager of FP&A, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews

Jaime Benson shares how Red Robin has improved their customer experience by freeing restaurant managers from worrying about pulling their own financial performance and P&Ls with the help of Anaplan.

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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 it back in, and consolidate it 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 adopt, in a very volatile industry, kind of adopt 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.

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