Since its founding in 1988 as a single restaurant in Richmond, Virginia, HOUSEpitality Family has grown to eight locations and three distinct restaurant concepts. At any of the four locations of The Boathouse, you’ll enjoy one of the finest culinary dining experiences the area has to offer, with authentic, locally sourced food, such as famous crab cakes perfected over three decades. The two locations of Casa del Barco offer the same commitment to fresh ingredients and exceptional service, but with Mexican cuisine, like honey-habanero moonshine shrimp, taco and fajita party platters, margaritas, and tequila flights. Finally, the Island Shrimp Company offers a virtual visit to tropical port cities around the world, with options like conch fritters (a staple of the Bahamas), Caribbean rice and peas, and authentic mojitos hand-muddled with fresh lime and mint. No matter which concept or location you choose, you’ll quickly understand why HOUSEpitality Family’s mission is to “celebrate life one bite at a time.”
Multiple Restaurant Locations
Like many restaurant businesses, HOUSEpitality Family started out using generic accounting software and Excel spreadsheets. But by the time the chain had grown to five locations, CFO Colin Healy was more than ready for a better approach. “We were using an accounting system called Peachtree, and it was so obvious that it wasn’t made for the restaurant industry — even customizing the reports so that food costs were related to food sales was impossible,” he recalled. “Plus, we had to log in using about seven different usernames and logins for each individual entity. It was becoming a tremendous headache.”
Moreover, the process required a huge amount of manual work. “Each manager would compile all of that week’s paperwork — it was a stack three inches tall of invoices and receipts and sales summaries,” Mr. Healy explained. “Every restaurant would have a courier bring that pile to accounting, ending up with a foot-tall stack of paperwork that they’d have to plow through, manually inputting all of the invoice data. It just became really apparent that it was not a scalable approach. We knew there had to be a better way.”
Mr. Healy was eager to find a cloud-based solution designed specifically for the restaurant industry. “We wanted to be able to see all of our entities side by side, and not to have to constantly export documents and then log out and log back into some other tool,” he added. “In addition, it was important that the solution be able to integrate smoothly with our POS system, Toast.”
Mr. Healy soon discovered Restaurant365, an all-in-one, cloud-based platform built to help restaurant operators run their businesses more efficiently and profitably. The solution offers not just accounting but inventory management and scheduling as well. Plus, it is fully integrated with POS systems, payroll providers, food and beverage vendors, and banks.
“It would be hard to overstate how much value we have gotten from Restaurant365,” said Mr. Healy. Indeed, since implementing the platform, HOUSEpitality Family has been able to grow from five locations to eight — while eliminating the need for third-party accounting services and saving 1% on food costs.
Multiple factors contribute to these impressive savings. First of all, the platform automates and streamlines a wide range of tasks. “I can’t stress enough how much time and energy R365 saves us,” said Mr. Healy. “We can run one report and see exactly what’s going on at all of our locations in one place. Imagine doing that eight times; it would take eight times as long.”
He quickly provided other examples. “Bank reconciliations are also a breeze,” he explained. “I’ve done them before using other methods, and Restaurant365 just blows me away every time. I upload the bank data, go to the reconciliation, and everything’s already matched — there’s zero difference between the amount the bank says went out and what we said went out. I approve it and move on. It’s almost fun because I know that it’s going to get done so quickly and easily.”
The benefit of streamlining operations like these was easy for Mr. Healy to quantify. “We would need to at least hire another full-time employee in order to be doing what we’re doing with Restaurant365,” he said. “We went from using an outsourced accounting firm to having one in-house accountant, so we’re saving a lot of money and getting far more personal attention.”
But as Mr. Healy stressed, Restaurant365 isn’t just faster and easier than other approaches — it’s also far better. “With Restaurant365 automating data entry, we’re no longer sending stacks of paper across town by courier,” he noted. “But just as important, we’re getting far more detail in the data. Before, even after hours of work manually compiling and processing paperwork, we would just get total CoGS. Now, we’re getting line-item detail, like crab prices and the cost of lettuce. Everything is being captured, and we use that data every day to run the business more efficiently.”
In fact, R365 has helped HOUSEpitality Family cut its food costs by 1%. “With eight restaurant locations, 1% is huge,” Mr. Healy noted. “Before, we were sometimes blindsided by prices increasing on key items like crab. If crab goes up by a quarter, then our CoGS are way off. One time, crab prices increased under our nose and we didn’t realize it until a couple of months later. We switched vendors at that point, but if we’d had Restaurant365 at the time, we would have been checking our price variances, so we would have saved a lot of money. Over the course of the year, the solution enables us to save tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.”
R365 also enables HOUSEpitality Family to spot deviations from contract pricing and save additional money. “We can easily see whether different locations are getting the same item for the same price,” Mr. Healy explained. “If we’ve negotiated the same price for all restaurants but some locations are getting charged more, we can go back to the vendor and get them to honor the contract pricing. Before, it was almost impossible to spot issues like that, but with R365, it’s right at our fingertips.”
The detailed information that Restaurant365 delivers also enables HOUSEpitality Family to price its menu items more accurately. “Before, recipe costing was pretty much a guessing game,” said Mr. Healy. “Now, everything in Restaurant365 speaks to everything else, so when we import an invoice with the price of crab, our menu item for crab cakes is impacted accordingly — when we run a menu item price analysis, our crab cake price is automatically adjusted according to the new crab price. Before, we would have had to manually reference pricing sheets and update each ingredient, which just wasn’t feasible, so we had to resort to guessing. When you have accurate information shared throughout the system, you can make much smarter and more informed decisions on your menu prices.”
HOUSEpitality Family also relies on the P&L reports from Restaurant365. “We run the P&L every day and also create a summary report every Monday with our key metrics,” noted Mr. Healy. “We pay very close attention to those numbers. For example, if food costs are high, we work with our chefs to make sure that they’re ordering properly and using the inventory module to check what items they have on hand. Before, to discover and investigate issues, we would have to go to all of our different vendors, print off a master list of the items and prices, and then reference the Excel spreadsheet with our inventory, which was a huge hassle. With R365, we can get the information we need in just a couple of clicks.”
In addition, Restaurant365 is so easy to use that HOUSEpitality Family now has more people keeping tabs on costs. “R365 has helped us increase our efficiency by giving as much transparency to as many people as we want,” noted Mr. Healy. “Any of our chefs can go in and run a P&L report to see their prime costs, so there’s a lot less of us creating reporting and sending them to people and a lot more of people going in and finding out what they need to know on their own. As a result, we’ve found that there’s more engagement from our managers and chefs on food costs, which make up 60% of our expenses. For instance, one of our chefs might note on an invoice that there should be a credit or that there is a duplicate entry that should not be paid. We just have more eyes on the key metrics than ever before.”
Another huge benefit of Restaurant365 is its scalability. “R365 makes it easy to scale for growth by providing plug-and-play for new restaurants,” Mr. Healy reported. “I added two new restaurants last month, and in just 10 minutes, everything was set up and ready to go. I can’t imagine doing two restaurants in one month, let alone 10 minutes, the old way. The old pain points are now simply irrelevant.”
Because of the impressive savings HOUSEpitality Family has achieved, Mr. Healy is happy to recommend Restaurant365. “If you run a restaurant, get Restaurant365,” he said. “If you’re comfortable being hands off and not really knowing your food costs and other key metrics, then maybe it’s not for you. But if you want to take control of your costs and your accounting, then Restaurant365 is the right solution for you.”
If you’d like to achieve the types of results that HOUSEpitality Family has enjoyed since switching to Restaurant365, schedule a demo.