Q&A with R365 and Andrew Laufer, CPA 

Nate Lozier
Nate Lozier
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Andrew Laufer, CPA

Managing Partner

Laufer LLP

Andrew Laufer started at Laufer, LLP (formerly Landau Arnold Laufer, LLP) in 1986 and became managing partner in 2004.  During his time with the firm, he has developed a deep expertise in the issues associated with franchise accounting and operations.  Clients throughout the United States – including Owner Operators of over 700 franchise businesses including quick service restaurants like McDonald’s and Dairy Queen as well as many other non-food related franchises – rely on Andrew’s expertise to build their businesses.  Andrew maintains a demanding travel schedule, frequently visiting clients and speaking at various conferences and events across the country.  He is also regularly called as an expert witness on business valuations. 

In addition to the usual professional organizations – the New York State Society of Certified Professional Accountants and the AICPA – Andrew is active in his community.  He regularly raises funds for local children’s charities and local hospitals.  Andrew has had a longstanding involvement with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island and became chair of its board in its 25th anniversary year. 

During his all-too-scarce free time, Andrew enjoys golfing (although he wishes his handicap were lower) and boating.  He also loves spending time with his beloved daughters, grandchildren and with his wife, Eileen, who has been part of his life since he was 17. 

Pinar Alptunaer

Partner Marketing Manager at Restaurant365

Pinar Alptunaer is Partner Marketing Manager at Restaurant365, managing relationships with accounting channel and strategic partners. Pinar also manages sponsorships for R365 events like the Restaurant Transformation Tour. With over 20 years of experience working in the hospitality industry, she continues to keep her finger on the pulse by working The Masters Golf Tournament for the past 11 years. A New Orleans native, Pinar grew up between the United States and Istanbul, engraining her love of all things food and hospitality.

Can you tell us the founding story of Laufer LLP?
Laufer LLP is the continuation of the firm I joined way back in 1986. Over the past 37+ years, I’ve had the good fortune of being mentored and coached by some great professionals - professionals who encouraged me to dream big and allowed me to invest in my dreams to build what is Laufer LLP today. I strive to follow in my mentors’ footsteps by doing the same for my team. As a result, we have built a first-class group of professionals who are encouraged to dream big, think outside of the box and quite simply, do whatever it takes to make it happen for our clients each and every day. I am truly blessed to say that my dreams have turned into my reality and that is what we try to do for our clients.
What sets Laufer LLP apart from other accounting firms in the industry?
First and foremost, our team of accountants and professionals is nothing short of amazing. I continue to be wowed every day by their dedication and commitment to our clients and am proud to lead what I consider to be the best team in the industry. One of the things that makes our team exceptional is our forward-looking approach to client service. While there are always monthly financials to prepare and proactive tax planning to tackle, the team at Laufer looks at the bigger picture to help clients overcome the variety of business challenges they face so they can build sustainable and very profitable organizations. Our understanding of restaurant and franchise owners, and they world in which they operate, has helped us not only proactively identify business solutions for them but also accomplish some amazing feats. We listened to our clients who were frustrated with the large payroll service providers and started a payroll company with partners who now excel at helping restaurants and franchisees. In our efforts to make sure restaurant owners keep the money they work so hard to earn, we proactively stay up to date on all the ways to minimize tax burdens such as Work Opportunity Tax Credits, Employee Retention Tax Credits, and Federal Location-Based Incentives to name a few. We started a tax credit company and have helped restaurateurs save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. As you know, a few years ago, we collaborated with Restaurant365 to customize the software platform with data integrations and other tools to help quick service restaurants, specifically McDonald’s Owner Operators, control food costs, optimize labor, and ultimately increase revenue. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were one of the only accounting firms to proactively work with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Small Business Administration to fully understand PPP loans and Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants so our clients could remain financially viable during their time of turmoil. And, most recently with the increased recruiting and retention difficulties as well as state-mandated retirement plans, we looked long and hard to partner with a retirement plan and employee benefit service providers to offer clients solutions that work for their specific business. Overall, I’m proud to say we offer the most comprehensive menu of services for restaurants, and it was all rooted in understanding our client’s needs and proactively finding solutions for them.
How does Laufer support and advise franchise owners, especially those in the restaurant industry?
Our clients tell us that our differentiating value is in the success we bring to their businesses whether it is through the reliable insights and guidance we provide that increases profitability, accomplishes their business and personal goals and ultimately makes their lives easier. We have been told that we have the “brain of a CPA but the passion of a restaurant owner” and that makes us smile. The other thing we hear a lot from our franchise clients is an appreciation for Laufer’s Owner Operator advocacy with the franchisor. We are told that we understand the quick-service restaurant system best, and that is what helps us take a dynamic approach to helping our clients run great businesses while achieving the hopes and dreams they have for the future.
Can you share the success story of a McDonald’s franchisee that Laufer has helped achieve financial security?
To be honest, we have thousands and I’m smiling from ear to ear right now because this is why we do what we do every day. While accounting is the industry my team and I work in, I feel like we are really in the business of creating success stories. I could share hundreds of stories about helping clients during difficult times, whether it, regaining financial viability, transitioning organizations from one generation to the next, investing in technology as a business solution etc. but the stories that fire me up the most are the ones when we helped to achieve tremendous organizational growth. For example, we have a client who started with us when he was a McDonald’s next gen candidate with four restaurants. In ten years, he now has 31 restaurants and I’m proud to say we have helped him every step of the way. This is when consulting and advisory services are critically important. From making decisions about infrastructure and acquisitions to assisting with lending and offering accounting services to help the organization scale rapidly, we are so proud to be the key business advisor to our clients. Similarly, we have another client who, 15 years ago, was a Corporate Senior Field Director who had the opportunity to buy 3 restaurants. Today, he owns over 30 locations and has a net worth in excess of $150 million. It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work alongside him and his organization to achieve this level of success.
How does Laufer LLP incorporate technology and innovation into its services to better serve clients?
The bottom line is we are always looking to make our client's lives easier and technology is one way in which we accomplish this. Whether it is through payroll solutions with the best data integrations, state-of-the-art client portal sharing, or the right software technology to run better restaurants, there is always one thing that sets our technology apart. Everything we do is created and built with our client’s needs in mind. We know how unique the restaurant industry is, so for technology and innovation to have the greatest impact, it requires customizations designed specifically for our clients.
Why did Laufer choose R365 to partner with?
The primary reason relates to what I just mentioned…Restaurant365 is a software platform designed specifically for restaurants and franchises so that is a huge advantage for our clients. The team at Restaurant365 was very agreeable to working with the Laufer team to take the platform a step further to customize it for quick service restaurants so we knew this would benefit our clients tremendously. To top it all off, the inter-store reporting capabilities offered with the R365 software platform is simply unmatched in comparison to the other software packages out there.
Why do clients choose R365??
Clients choose R365 when they are looking for a software platform specifically built for restaurants. By going cloud-based, they are able to access both their financial and operational information in one place without having to login to multiple applications. Because it’s designed exclusively for restaurants, we were able to customize it further, so clients benefit from seamless automation with industry-specific applications and custom reporting. Clients who utilize Restaurant365 tell us that implementing this software was one of the best business decisions they have ever made. They finally have a back-office restaurant software platform that helps them to control food costs, optimize labor and gauge their financials in real-time. They say that running their business operations has never been easier and that is our goal at Laufer LLP – to make our clients lives easier.
What is your favorite McDonald’s menu item?
The good old double cheeseburger is my go-to and I get it frequently!