Technology has sparked debate about machines replacing restaurant crew members and eliminating gads of jobs. At FSTEC, the discussion shifted to the effect on headquarters hiring. The topic applies to c-stores as well. There are a multitude of analysis tools c-store operators can use to track their store’s performance, but is it necessary to hire someone whose primary responsibility is tracking said data?
“Before, you couldn’t afford an analyst,” said Jim Balis, CEO of the Norms Restaurants chain. “Now you can’t afford not to have an analyst.”
Not every speaker agreed. Gala Capital Partners, a company that operates franchised and proprietary restaurant brands, hired a college intern to boil data into insights for 20 hours per week, said Managing Partner Anand Gala.
He contended that the right dashboard and analytical component of data-generating software should provide easy-to-absorb intelligence if it’s done right.
“Not everyone has an analyst, not everyone can afford an analyst, not everyone needs an analyst,” Gala said. “If you can have a solution that pulls in the data and analyzes it in a KPI (key performance indicator) dashboard, that’s it.”
The need to manage legacy systems while adopting new technology may require companies to expand their teams initially, said Maureen Cushing, vice president of technology and systems for Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). But “if we do technology right and move forward, you probably will end up with less people to support it,” she said.