D&D Management Enterprises is a Jimmy John’s restaurant franchisee group with 30 locations in Utah and South Carolina, and is adding new stores every year. Every location offers gourmet sandwiches made with fresh ingredients, including all-natural meats, ripe tomatoes, crisp shredded lettuce, and bread that’s made right on site. In addition to serving great food, D&D Management Enterprises makes it a priority to serve its community, viewing each day as a new opportunity to do good and make a difference.
By the time D&D Management Enterprises had grown to about 18 Jimmy John’s locations, CFO Robert Madsen had become quite concerned that continuing to use its old accounting solution, QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, was putting the business at significant risk. “We had one QuickBooks file for all the stores, and it was approaching a gigabyte in size,” recalls Mr. Madsen. “We were adding stores, so the file was only going to get bigger and bigger — which meant there was an increasing chance that it would become corrupted or unstable. If that happened, the company would be facing serious problems.”
Years of experience in the restaurant industry gave Mr. Madsen a clear idea of what D&D Management Enterprises needed in a new accounting system. “We wanted something that was cloud based, since that would give us the ability to scale easily and enable users to access the tool securely from remote locations,” he notes. “We also wanted a solution that was easy to customize to fit our company.”
As D&D Management Enterprises began looking at solutions, it became clear that generic accounting tools are simply not well-suited for restaurants — and that their claims about being cloud based are often overblown. “Restaurants are a unique industry, so using general accounting software is like trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. We wanted a solution that would do the job for us without a lot of work-arounds or add-ons,” says Mr. Madsen.
“The generic tools we looked at weren’t really modern. The vendors had basically taken their existing product, thrown it up on a server and started calling it cloud based. But it was really just the same old software from the 1990s.”
D&D Management Enterprises considered Restaurant365 to be the clear winner. “It checked all of our boxes. It is truly cloud based and modern. It is restaurant focused and it was easy to customize for our company. Beyond that, it had both a much lower startup cost and lower ongoing costs than the other accounting products. In particular, the other vendors would have charged us an additional fee for each user we added to their system, which would have gotten very expensive.”
Since implementation of Restaurant365 in 2017, the software has delivered all the benefits that D&D Management Enterprises had anticipated — and some unexpected ones as well. “In QuickBooks, everything is based around a monthly accounting cycle, so we were always having to remember to manually change the dates for reports and deal with other workarounds,” notes Mr. Madsen. “But it wasn’t until we switched to Restaurant365 that we really understood how much of a pain point that core limitation of QuickBooks actually was. With Restaurant365, we simply choose the 13 four-week accounting cycle, and we were off to the races. To get the information we need, we just click the period we want and it’s all right there. It’s so much faster, and we no longer have to worry about forgetting to take all the right steps each time to adjust around an accounting cycle that simply isn’t functional for restaurants.”
The bank reconciliation feature has also been invaluable for the franchisee group. “In QuickBooks, we spent a lot of time reconciling bank accounts because we had to manually match every transaction, even though nearly all of them are correct each time,” explains Mr. Madsen. “One of the things that we love about Restaurant365 is that it automatically reconciles the bulk of our transactions; all we have to spend time on are the exceptions, which the tool highlights for us. We’ve been able to cut the time we spend on bank reconciliation in half, at least. That’s been critical for us as we’ve grown, since each new restaurant means yet another bank account.”
“In fact, the bank reconciliation feature of Restaurant365 has enabled us to grow from 18 Jimmy John’s franchise locations to 30 — without having to increase headcount in the accounting area.”
On top of that, the Restaurant365’s AP Automation features have cut the time Mr. Madsen and his team have to spend reviewing and processing documents by 20%. “It’s a blend of saving on data entry and reviewing time. I used to literally get handed a stack of documents to approve. If the invoice was incorrectly entered into the system, we’d have to reprint the check, or worse yet, wouldn’t find the invoice error until we reviewed the P&L. But in Restaurant365, we can see the document as well as the journal entry. It’s immediate and I know it’s done correctly, so it saves me quite a bit of time.”
Restaurant365 also delivers clear reports that enable D&D Management Enterprises to quickly discover issues and make better business decisions. “With Restaurant365, we can give our operators access to live P&Ls that provide the transparency they need,” says Mr. Madsen. “They can drill down into the details they need to better manage expenses, without having to pick up the phone and call my office. They can easily compare their expenses to earlier periods at their own store, or to our other Jimmy John’s locations in their vicinity.”
Mr. Madsen offers two helpful examples: “Before we got Restaurant 365, if a store had an unusually high electric bill, they had no good way to dig into the cause and take action. Now, they can investigate right from the P&L. Maybe there was a mistake, such as bills for multiple locations being miscoded to their store, or perhaps the rate from the supplier went way up. Or they might see that the store really is using a lot more power, in which case they know to look into things like whether the lights or A/C are being left on after closing.”
Restaurant365 further empowers D&D Management Enterprises with reports on the trailing 12 months for each store, which helps managers spot important trends and take appropriate action. “We also utilize the balance sheet report and the general ledger detail report,” adds Mr. Madsen. “We have some custom reports within the general ledger details that we generate pretty frequently. And we just got access to the new customized reports, which we are super excited about; we think they will be a game changer for us because we’ll be able to track and report on non-financial information, such as turnover percentages and scores from audits by the corporate Jimmy John’s.”
Mr. Madsen endorses Restaurant365 wholeheartedly. “I would absolutely recommend Restaurant365; in fact, I’ve made that recommendation to other restaurants already. I tell them, it’s going to revolutionize the way you think about your accounting system and enable you to do things you’ve never been able to do before.’”