Mongolian Concepts is more than the standard bearer for three iconic, beloved brands. As of 2023, it is also the sister of CEO, and former Jimmy John’s CEO, Gregg Majewski’s newly launched Craveworthy Brands, which will launch a variety of concepts throughout a nationwide network of ghost kitchens. At the same time, Mongolian — which includes Dallas-based Genghis grill with locations in nearly a dozen states, BD’s Mongolian Grill with 22 locations, and Chicago-based Flat Top Grill — continues to provide guests with composed and build-your-own-bowl options from a staggering 80-plus ingredient list cooked live on huge, circular griddles.
Vice President of Technology Jason Levinson sits at the heart of it all and ensures the functionality and integration of a vast, varied tech stack with Restaurant365 at the hub.
Yet actually getting the two companies’ many brands to that point was no easy feat. Restaurant365, Levinson said, distills its operational and financial complexity into accurate, actionable reports that are a foundation for growth.
“Restaurant365 has made administration, for me, much, much simpler than it’s ever been,” Levinson said. “The web-based, real-time efficiencies make it possible to cover and manage as many stores as we need to.”
A Focus on Smart Growth
That wasn’t always the case, and, as Levinson said, there’s still more work to be done. However, before implementing R365, Mongolian faced three key challenges: A struggle to unify all of its businesses and the systems they use, a lack of reporting to ensure profitability matches topline sales, and a system that store-level leaders embrace and use to bolster margins.
The Same Page
At the moment, Levinson, Mongolian, and Craveworthy are finalizing which point of sale (POS) systems will help drive its many locations.
“I’m midstream right now replacing our POS in some locations and spending a lot of time remapping sales in Restaurant365, which will ultimately result in helping us clean up a lot of our old legacy systems, bring it all to the cloud, and start to effectively manage the business in real-time,” Levinson said.
The Right Reports
At the end of each day, the primary goal is to ensure leaders at all levels of the business have the information they need to make intelligent decisions that drive better guest experiences and rising profits. Given the unique needs and complexity of the restaurant industry, controlling and monitoring inventory is more complex than usual.
“We don’t just take in ingredients in the morning and kick it out by midday,” Levinson said. “We have to prep and often hold food.”
By implementing R365’s inventory and platform, Mongolian’s concepts and dozens of store-level managers can conduct accurate, regular counts that provide reliable insights into Cost of Goods Sold (CoGS). Those counts and reports, combined with resources like Restaurant365’s daily sales summary (DSS), provide Levinson and the team an even more granular picture, in real-time, of what’s going well and insight into areas where margins are being squeezed and need attention.
“With older systems, we often had to wait for reports, and their structure, and especially the user interface, made understanding them difficult,” Levinson said. “When I first saw (Restaurant365’s) DSS it was unlike anything I’d ever seen. As I’ve become accustomed to it and understand it, it is the cleanest way to produce all your accounts in one view to understand everything that’s happening in your restaurant down to the specific chart of accounts and that, to me, is something that makes Restaurant365 invaluable.”
Ultimately, all of that information comes together in the hands of Mongolian’s store-level managers. Levinson said the intuitive nature of Restaurant365, its dashboards, and various reports makes getting manager buy-in and use of the platform simpler than any system he’s worked with. That usability is most important in the actual versus theoretical (AvT) report, which is invaluable for the business and a critical part of training new managers. While the report ultimately illustrates how much of each product a location is supposed to use based on historical forecasts and preset recipes, and the difference between that and what was used, it’s also a critical tool to arm managers with to ensure they hit the ground running and are successful early in their tenure.
“If a manager isn’t performing and we make a call to replace them, it costs us roughly $10,000 in training to make that change,” Levinson said. “If we pay that money and they leave within six weeks because they didn’t have the tools they needed to succeed, that’s a huge loss, and it multiplies. We’ve seen managers leave in the past because of technology.”
Levinson noted that he and colleagues are constantly encouraging managers to fully leverage Restaurant365, the simplicity and effectiveness of the platform often do the job.
“You can bring the horse to water, but you can’t force them to drink, right?” he added. “With Restaurant365, all of the metrics are right there for them, and they can easily see the issues they need to look at and solve. Now they’re kings of the castle, and they can start really managing the business.”
With all that’s happened for Mongolian Concepts and the broader restaurant industry in recent years, the company is undergoing a significant evolution in pursuit of sizable opportunities. As it scales legacy brands and launches a variety of new ones under the Craveworthy banner, Levinson said the challenges of recent years pushed he and other leaders to focus on creativity and efficiency. With Restaurant365, the plan is to level up both.
“Cash flow is good,” he noted, “and we’re continuing to build and grow with Restaurant365 as an important part of that.”