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R365’s Jessikah Hart Discusses Resourcefulness Inside & Outside the Kitchen

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Shane Houston
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From being a food lover to a self-taught software implementation specialist, Restaurant365’s Jessikah Hart has always had a passion for the restaurant industry. She spent the majority of her career with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and, teaching herself the skills needed to succeed along the way, she skyrocketed the store growth before continuing up the ladder. With an analytical eye and a knack for drilling down costs to the cent, her skillset continues to be invaluable inside and outside the kitchen. 

It goes without saying that Jessikah understands the recipe for a successful restaurant. Now, as an accounting implementation manager, she focuses on helping restaurants grow on the back end by fully embracing streamlined, automated restaurant-specific accounting software. We sat down with Jessikah to learn about her extensive industry experience, the opportunities her resourcefulness created, her words of wisdom for fellow industry workers, and the relationships she built along the way.  

Get to Know Jess

What’s your favorite food? 

Definitely chips and salsa (spicy green tomatillo salsa to be exact). Throw in a good Tex-Mex queso and I’m set! For a proper meal, I could eat Thai food every day and be very content. 


What’s your favorite restaurant? 

Loro in Austin, Texas is a staple for me. It’s a casual Asian/BBQ fusion collab restaurant between Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ & Tyson Cole of Uchi. Everything on the menu hits the spot, including their boozy slushies! 


How long have you been with Restaurant365?  

Just hit my 4-year mark in March! 

It Starts with Hart

Tell us about your time working in a restaurant.   

I grew up in Los Angeles and started off as a barista working for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the age of 18. By 21, I moved my way up to become the youngest general manager in the company, and this is where I spent the better part of my adult life. Over the years, I won several awards including General Manager of the Year for Outstanding Performance with an emphasis on cost control and year-over-year sales increase. When I took over my store, it was making $800,000 in annual sales, which I was able to increase over the years to $1.5 million.  

I later moved to the corporate office as an operations project manager and, to this day, I believe that my experience working in the restaurant industry shaped who I am. It taught me how to be a great leader and mentor to my employees and peers and gave me incredible insight on how to run a successful business.  

Another valuable lesson I learned was the importance of adaptability. The restaurant industry is fast-paced and constantly changing, so it’s important to be able to adapt quickly to new situations. I learned to think on my feet and find creative solutions to problems. 

Overall, my experiences as a general manager shaped me into a more effective communicator, adaptable problem-solver, and skilled leader. These skills not only helped me in my career but also in my personal life, making me a more well-rounded and capable person. 


How did your career path lead you to Restaurant365?  

While working for The Coffee Bean, we used a back-office competitor solution. We transitioned to this platform for inventory management after outgrowing Microsoft Excel and our “implementation” was handled in a single training session. Needless to say, the term “learning curve” was an understatement.  

Being fairly operations and technology savvy, I ended up learning the software quickly on my own out of necessity and dove deeply into my store’s financials. Because of the speedy uptake on my end, I was given the opportunity to teach this new solution to other general managers around multiple districts. Little did I know at the time that this responsibility was an actual role within software companies! 

In 2019, my husband and I made the huge life decision to move to Austin, Texas on a whim. I started exploring the job market and found an Implementation role open at Restaurant365 – this is when a lightbulb went off in my head. I never knew that I could take my skillset, combined with my love and passion for the restaurant industry, and turn it into an actual career outside of the restaurant world. I applied immediately and, after four interviews across two states over the span of a month, I finally got the call that catapulted me into my new career.  


What do you like most about working for Restaurant365?  

Hands down, my favorite part is the people that I work with —especially my immediate team.  It is so impactful working with a team of folks who care about your day-to-day well-being inside and outside of work. I’ve met lifelong friends here – one of which was even the “flower babe” in my wedding. Also, the joy that I experience when a familiar restaurant I enjoy signs up for R365 and I just know their entire business is about to change for the better with our powerful tools. 

Say "AHA"

How does your daily work impact our business and the industry?  

As someone who previously worked in the restaurant industry, my experience and knowledge can be incredibly valuable in helping our restaurant operators understand the implementation of new software. My understanding of the day-to-day operations and challenges that restaurants face can help identify pain points that the software can address and opportunities to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability. 

My experience in the industry resonates with restaurant operators and helps them to understand the benefits of the software and the process in which we implement them. By helping restaurants to adopt new technologies and improve their operations, I can contribute to the growth and development of the industry, while also helping individual businesses thrive. 


What impact can restaurant technology have on the operation of a successful restaurant? 

Personally, one of the biggest impacts I experienced with new technology was feeling like I had the tools to manage and scale a successful business. Giving restaurant operators the ability to understand their restaurant financials down to the penny allows them to turn that into actionable goals to increase their margins.   

Each month, I would analyze every line item on my P&L and share both successes and areas of opportunity for the month with my team. As an example, if we had a larger than normal paper goods cost that month, I would break down how much each individual paper cup cost us and how much was being used for personal use by our staff each day/week. Since I had always encouraged them to bring a reusable cup, I would get creative by showing them how those costs added up throughout the month and present it in a digestible way from a business perspective: If we reduced the number of cups used by X amount per day/week/month, it would equate to extra flexibility in budget for weekly team lunches. And since everyone loves a free lunch, it was always a great example to use. 

Simple “aha” moments like these ultimately result in an overall better way of all employees thinking about the business as a whole and how they can personally contribute.  


What advice do you have for current restaurant industry workers looking to grow their careers?  

Step outside of your comfort zone and always be in the mindset of, “What more can I do?” or, “What more can I learn?”  

Also, it’s important to take ownership of your personal growth and development. It can be as simple as watching YouTube videos on topics to advance your Excel skills or, “How to read a P&L.” That is exactly what got me here today. It’s very easy to feel like we are limited within the four walls of the restaurant. By putting yourself out there and sharing your knowledge and skillset with others, you naturally put yourself in a position to always be learning and growing both personally and professionally.