Summary: As a result of working with Tahola, NWTC is now able to:
- Track performance across their entire chain with reports structured around NWTC’s unique offering on the UK High Street
- Automate reports for every department – saving at least 1 x FTE day equivalent per week
- Easily integrate new tech vendors into NWTC’s single point of truth
- Enabled NWTC to make informed decisions about their business
- Scale up their business without adding crazy overhead to the Analytics or Finance teams
New World Trading Company (NWTC) is a leading restaurant chain with a portfolio of 35 restaurants and bars under eight different brands across the UK. In recent years, NWTC has experienced rapid growth. This growth has put a strain on their existing data systems, making it difficult to track performance and make informed business decisions.
NWTC’s strategic choice – scaling-up with a platform for restaurant analytics
Before working with Tahola, NWTC faced a number of challenges with their data. Their existing systems were siloed, making it difficult to get a single view of their performance. NWTC’s efforts to date had allowed some insight by comparing data from cloud based EPoS and restaurant workforce planning systems – but it was a major challenge to add sales data from other parts of the tech stack, even those parts with huge impact on revenue or costs (e.g. customer review data, inventory management, maintenance data).
As a GM, there were always a lot of conflicting different bits of data, not really one source of truth. One system might tell you one number, a different system might tell you another, it might take a long time for you to figure out which is the right one or actually get the right piece of information in a timely manner. – Martyn Hobbs, Business Analyst and former General Manager, NWTC
NWTC also lacked the tools to analysze their data effectively. This made it difficult to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions about their business.
The main issue was time. It was time consuming and cumbersome to pull various reports from five or six different platforms just to provide a weekly trading snapshot. And as soon as you came to monthly reporting, quarterly reporting, or even annual reporting, it became a really kind of long winded process… As for our stakeholders, we were having to set quite strong expectations of how long this work was going to take. – Jon Townsend, Head of FP&A and Systems, NWTC
NWTC’s previous analytics tool was put in many years ago, and it was very good at key top line measures. But it didn’t enable NWTC’s analysts to model that data in any kind of granularity. Big patterns were visible – but NWTC wasn’t able to really dig into the reasons behind those key measures.
Worse, NWTC found that creating, editing and updating reports in the previous system was cumbersome. This meant that the Management Information and Reporting system had become quite stale and stagnant.
In a competitive, fast-moving High Street, operators need to move fast. But NWTC’s team of analysts and department heads were held back by slow, tedious and often manual processes of producing reports.
NWTC have serious growth ambitions. But with the analytics and finance teams relying on manually wrangling data from systems owned by an array of operational department teams, it was clear that data would be the bottleneck that could choke NWTC’s growth plans.
We are at the precipice of this huge growth journey, and we need to be able to provide mission-critical information quicker to the business, to make some quite tough and some quite quick decisions.
The previous process didn’t allow us to do that. It was taking upwards of two, three weeks to produce these reports, for example, and was just not something that we could continue with at scale. So we needed to make that change. It was really kind of now or never. – Jon Townsend
Choosing a partner: NWTC chose Tahola, the UK’s leading restaurant data analytics provider, to build their platform for data-driven decision making – here’s why.
NWTC chose Tahola because of Tahola’s deep understanding of the hospitality industry, as well as Tahola’s technical experience with integrating NWTC’s hospitality tech stack (including Zonal, Fourth Labour, DesignMyNight, Yumpingo) and with Management Information platforms. Tahola were able to provide NWTC with a comprehensive restaurant analytics solution including a single view of their data, and it also includes a number of powerful analytics tools. This allows NWTC to track performance at a granular level and identify areas for improvement.
Tahola understands hospitality. They understood the measures that we already use. – and what other operators were doing with the data we started to measure. Tahola were able to guide some of that journey for us as well. And Tahola were also excited to come on this journey with us. It wasn’t just an off the shelf solution. They actually understood what were hoping to achieve, which was really kind of a cultural shift within the business of how we make decisions. – Jon Townsend
Scoping the project – ‘we knew what we wanted, Tahola knew what else we needed’
Tahola worked with NWTC to integrate all the NWTC tech-stack into one single point-of-truth. A few of the integrations were new to Tahola, but Tahola had managed NWTC’s expectation on the time and effort of integrating new data sources and NWTC were able to communicate to internal stakeholders when these reports would come online.
Tahola are an agnostic, vendor-neutral company. This means they were able to help NWTC identify the best data and MI reporting systems on the market for NWTC’s specific needs. NWTC selected Qlik, and Tahola built NWTC’s new Qlik environment and provided training to ensure that NWTC’s tech team, analyst team and departmental teams were all skilled-up in using the new environment.
The results: a platform for success
NWTC wanted to deliver a step change in their Analytics team’s abilityteam’s’ ability to create meaningful management reports. But NWTC also wanted to create a culture change across their entire organisation, becoming a more data-centric, data-informed business. Was it a success?
The beauty of the system we’ve got now is that through the training we’ve received from Tahola and Qlik. We can create reports on the go as and when we need and we can publish them within minutes. – Jon Townsend
Creating a single point of truth was a process that delivered quick returns – but also took time to get right. Some immediate quick wins emerged from being able to compare data from the most important parts of the tech stack. But other integrations took time to get right.
Meanwhile, Tahola were providing training to the NWTC analytics team, and then across the operational divisions and general management teams. Training was not just in how to use the new system for faster, more accurate, more informative reports. But also in how to use data to tell stories of opportunities for revenue wins, cost cutting, waiting times, or better customer satisfaction.
NWTC have a new company culture built around a healthy embrace of management reports, confidence in creating new measures and metrics, and a passionate curiosity for finding new ways of reporting on the business.
Reporting now is structured to accurately reflect NWTC’s unique offering on the UK High Street – with reports now sophisticated enough to compare sales taken at the bar vs. sales taken from the restaurant, site to site, region to region.
Across the board, NWTC’s people now understand the difference between data ‘just for the sake of knowing it’ versus data that imparts important and actionable information. From HQ, through to general managers, head chefs and front-of-house staff all now know how to use the new NWTC/Tahola platform to get relevant insight and to drive actionable results at site.
We’ve reinvented the labour model that we use for our budgets and our benchmark process. In the past, we’ve only had a “one size fits all” for all sites based on just the total sales volume. Now, when we look at the data, we see that the food side of the business (kitchen) is more labour-intensive than it is in the bar. So, we can now change how we distribute our labour depending on which sites and teams need more, based on their food/wet split. This has allowed us to build a more accurate labour costs benchmarking and budgeting figure. It’s a model that the sites can work to, and understand, and know the reasons behind it. – Martyn Hobbs
As for the culture change, NWTC have seen a total mindset shift in favour of data-led insights and data-informed decisioning.
As we answer one question, we find the answer then poses 20 more. And previously, that would have been a worry, because we wouldn’t have been able to answer those questions in a timely manner, what we’re now able to do is to dive deeper into the data and answer those questions. Sometimes within minutes – Jon Townsend.
NWTC says: ‘We’re recommend Tahola – they are a class apart’’
NWTC is very happy with the results they have achieved by working with Tahola. They believe that Tahola is the UK expert at using data to transform the ability of a high growth restaurant chain to compete and scale-up. They would highly recommend Tahola to other restaurant chains or hospitality providers.
Tahola have been instrumental in this whole process from project management, to leading integrations across the tech stack, to providing training and then being on support as and when issues arose.
A project of this size is never going to be plain sailing – but NWTC have been impressed with how Tahola have responded to issues or problems, showing determination, creativity and good humour until a solution is found.
I’d recommend working with Tahola to friends and colleagues within the industry, because of Tahola’s commitment to providing you with the support you need for this process. And Tahola’s understanding of the hospitality industry sets them apart. – Jon
Tahola’s restaurant analytics platform has helped NWTC to improve their business in a number of ways. They have been able to increase sales, reduce costs, and scale up their operations. They are very happy with the results they have achieved and would highly recommend Tahola to other restaurant chains or hospitality providers.