Technology is Huge Advantage for I Love Juice Bar Franchise
Sophisticated software makes it easier to manage restaurant, spot inventory issues, predict dining trends, and handle staffing.
I Love Juice Bar has an amazing menu and a welcoming atmosphere that attract customers and keeps them coming back — but that’s not the only positive powering success for I Love Juice Bar franchise owners.
One of the key advantages that I Love Juice Bar offers to franchisees is a robust technology platform that makes it much easier to manage your restaurant, control costs, plan ahead, and maximize profits.
One of the partners in the I Love Juice Bar franchise is a company called Fresh Hospitality. Fresh consists of veteran restaurant executives, who together, have overseen well over 1,000 restaurants, and who have developed systems to help large restaurant chains manage their business.
One of the keys to the Fresh team’s success is the sophisticated software platform that they have developed — and which I Love Juice Bar franchisees use to run their businesses.
Here’s a look at some of the key components of the software:
Tracking inventory is key to running a profitable restaurant business. Every item that you bring into your restaurant represents both cost-of-goods and an expected profit. Many restaurateurs struggle to reconcile their inventory costs with their expected revenue at the end of the month. It can be an arduous process if you are trying to track everything manually, or using primitive software, which is why many restaurant owners only reconcile the numbers once a month. That makes it much harder to spot irregularities in the business, which can be very costly. For instance, you may have an employee who is mistakenly using three apples for a recipe instead of two. Over the course of a month, the costs of all those extra apples add up, to the point where a simple recipe mistake can costs you hundreds of dollars.
Fresh Hospitality’s technology dashboard (Fresh Tools), which is customized for I Love Juice Bar, allows you to track your inventory and receipts in real-time and flags discrepancies so you can quickly investigate and correct problems.
Our technology platform knows what ingredients should be used for every menu item (and how much of each ingredient should be used). That allows the software to calculate the cost to make each menu item, the amount of various ingredients that should go into those items, and the expected profit margin. The software compares expected usage against current inventory in the store. When one of the variables waiver, an I Love Juice Bar franchise owner and/or manager will see a red flag and correct the problem quickly to keep expenses low.
“A typical restaurant will lose 3 to 4 percent of their inventory as waste,” says Matt Bodnar, a founding partner of Fresh Hospitality. “Our systems aim to keep than figure under 1 percent — which makes a huge difference in profit.”
Automation simplifies oversight
Another advantage: Automation. That’s especially beneficial for multi-unit owners and others who cannot be at the restaurant full-time.
Molly James is a good example. She owns a Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe (another Fresh Hospitality affiliated brand) near Nashville, Tennessee, and is opening an I Love Juice Bar near downtown Nashville. She also has a newborn. The Fresh Technology Platform allows her to check in on her restaurant remotely.
The system also makes it much easier to schedule staff. It is easy to roll schedules forward and make quick adjustments, and the software tracks the performance of employees. For instance, if a lot more spring rolls are sold during a particular employee’s shifts, the franchisee or manager will be able to spot that trend and learn what that employee is doing differently. The software can also spot times when employees work extra hours — were they there because the juice bar is extremely busy and making money? If so, that’s great. If not, the manager can react to the data and send employees home.
The software can spot trends and help you prepare for the day. For starters, your previous day’s sales will be waiting in your email inbox when you wake each day.
And, the software offers another form of automation that is also incredibly powerful: the power to accurately forecast what your juice bar will need on a given day. The technology platform tracks customer sales trends for each menu item, which allows you to anticipate how many customers will be in your store at any given time, and which items they are likely to order. The software can tell you what to prep and when, so you can stay ahead during crunch times. Accurate predictions allow you to serve customers quickly without over-preparing.
Most impressively, the software is flexible. It adjusts real-time with your input, to account for weather forecasts, and how weather can affect your business. It also allows franchisees or managers to input their own critical data. For instance, if your community is hosting a half-marathon on Saturday that starts or ends near your juice bar, you can increase projections and the software will adjust to account for the influx of runners eager for a healthy meal before or after the run.
Preparing for the week ahead
As a week comes to a close, you will immediately have data about how much inventory was consumed, how much you sold, your projected profit margin and how that compared to your actual profit margin, and data about which menu items gained more popularity, and when customers were coming to your I Love Juice Bar.
Armed with that data, you can now make a forecast for the following week that allows you to order appropriately (keeping inventory tight to maximize your money, and also staff appropriately (scheduling employees when they are needed, keeping labor costs down).
How long does it take to pull all that data together at the end of the week and make a smart business forecast?
Molly James says that before she became a franchisee of I Love Juice Bar and Taziki’s, she helped manage a barbecue restaurant that was part of Fresh. “Before we had these tools, we did everything manually on an Excel spreadsheet,” she says. “To get ready for the next week, there were hours of data analysis and data entry. With Fresh Tools, it can take 5 to 10 minutes.”