You've heard of Salsa-fy? It’s national, was started in Dallas, is used by 60,000 employees, and is used at more than 1,600 corporate locations. Salsa-fy helps businesses steer clear of trouble, offer the best value, and ensures profitability. You may interrupt me here and ask, “Jason, don’t you mean the software company Salesify?” No, I’m talking about the restaurant chain Chili’s and its approach to managing salsa, french fries, and its business.
The Wall St. Journal profiled Chili’s CEO, Kevin Hochman, and shared how he is streamlining operations, saving time, and thereby delivering value to customers and the company's stakeholders. Examples of Mr. Hochman's changes:
Cut the number of menu items from 92 to 73 (a 20% trim). Goodbye, pork nachos. (‘Nach-yo’ source of wasteful operations.)
Removed a breaded chicken option and saved the kitchen staff 10% of their day.
Saved the staff from counting out shrimp.
Removed washable wire baskets for fries—saving staff from washing 40 million baskets per year.
A software company, like ours, is similar to a restaurant. We provide ‘food’ to ‘patrons,’ come up with new ‘recipes,’ and seek to expand the number of customers. When we operate more efficiently, we can put these savings into other new things that require time and money and deliver value. Efficiency raises our per-store revenue, allows us to avoid price increases for clients, and gives us more money to give raises to staff.
Let’s imagine Mr.Hochman joined your company for a week to look for ways to save time, save money, and increase efficiency. Let's ask:
What steps can you take to save time on your daily and weekly tasks?
Can you cut any ‘menu’ items? What things can you skip, do less frequently, or simply stop doing?
What things are repetitive and can be automated?
What things produce the least results per hour invested?
Do you have underperforming ‘locations’ or services that need to be reassessed or closed?
As a reference, here are some tweaks Bridge made to the Shop Local platform to save us time or speed up processes:
A new retailer automatically can add their own products to their Shop Local account (vs. needing to send us a request to do so).
We added a ticketing system to the platform to manage request reminders and let members communicate with each other (vs. having us be the go-between).
Our operations team just prepares the brand shipping report quarterly (vs. monthly). Instead of writing 12 reports, they just write four.
Let's use Chili's as inspiration to allocate our resources efficiently. When we do, we’ll provide a better meal to our customers and take home more tips for ourselves.
My dad worked at Xerox in the 1980s. (It’s hard to remember, but Xerox was a successful company then). My dad’s department had a contest to come up with solutions to make the business more efficient, and his idea, which was to stagger work schedules that required expensive equipment, was a finalist.
Let’s pick a page from Xerox’s contest book:
Come up with a thing (process, service, action, etc.) on which your company can save time and/or money. You could even suggest that it stop doing something.
Challenge your coworkers to this.
Offer a prize (e.g. dinner at Chili’s, cash, etc.) for the winning idea.