Brandi Peter operates her own franchise location of juice and smoothie chain Inta Juice and also works at the franchisor level with her mother.
This gives her insight at all levels into the challenges of the quick-service restaurant business and the value of making the most of technology.
“We preach to franchisees that their time is essential and where they spend it is valuable,” Brandi said. “Sitting in front of a screen in the office is not valuable – being out on the floor involved in your business is valuable.”
Challenge: Poor value from a system too cumbersome to use
But an outdated video surveillance system had her doing that very thing – spending too much time in front of a screen to review footage … at least in theory. In truth, an unreliable app and lack of point of sale integration meant that suspect transactions often required more time than Brandi could spare to properly investigate them.
Early in 2020, Brandi deployed Solink at her location and replaced her old camera network. She turned to Solink because of its partnership with her POS and restaurant management system of choice, Toast.
“A camera system that makes it too time-consuming to review or search footage isn’t valuable if you can’t spare the time to use it,” she said. “With Solink, I can use the system to its full potential and true value.”
Solution: Cloud-based video intelligence seamlessly integrates with POS
Solink’s cloud-based intelligent video surveillance platform provides time and date stamp correlation between every transaction through Toast and the corresponding video clip. Solink also provides full data analytics to quickly search and review footage. In addition, exception-based reporting and motion capture can deliver real-time alerts. The system even alerts Brandi when a camera is down.
All of this is available through a user-friendly dashboard that can be accessed with a smartphone or other connected device. Brandi can log in from anywhere at any time, to switch between camera views or bring up any refunds, voids or discounts for review. This integration is possible through Solink with a number of third-party POS systems, as well as the majority of cameras on the market.
But it’s not just about the technology.
“I can’t speak enough about Solink’s customer service, from set up, to answering questions, or getting anything fixed,” she said.
In fact, Solink’s team provided a complimentary audit early in Brandi’s deployment that immediately raised a red flag over the behaviour of two employees. Video footage and transaction records revealed thefts from petty cash that added up to at least $600 over a few months, as well as other issues with contactless payment.
“I had my suspicions that something was wrong but looking at video and POS separately with my old system made it hard to put two and two together,” Brandi said.
Outcome: Theft caught, labor costs cut, efficiencies gained
Catching outright theft in the act is one thing. Solink also helps Brandi run her operation more efficiently day to day when other obligations leave her with little time to be on site.
In this business, sales volumes are highly weather-dependent. Keeping labor costs in line is crucial. With Solink, Brandi can easily monitor the lobby to tell if it’s going to be a slow day and staff should go home early. She estimates this has saved her three to four percent a month in labor costs to date, or about $1,500 to $1,600 a month.
And again, there are those time savings.
“Solink’s Toast integration cuts about 90 percent of the time I would take to find something in my receipts,” Brandi said. “The more information I can get out my receipts, the better, and Solink is always working with Toast to make that data more accessible.”
This combination of video and data-driven insight is improving operations in many other ways. Customer complaints can be addressed faster and more effective training opportunities created, to improve service and product quality and reduce waste. To support productivity, Brandi requires that staff members deposit their phones in a box in the office before the start of a shift. Solink’s motion search feature with real-time alerts makes it easy to see if anyone is going into the office for their phone when they shouldn’t be.
“Solink is just peace of mind,” Brandi said. “It’s like having in my back pocket this extra loss prevention person, somebody who never sleeps managing my operational efficiency, looking out for me when I am busy elsewhere.”