Paul Urbina, a franchise operator for PARS group and Northwest Foods (doing businesses as Jack in the Box) in the Seattle market, has seen a 1% savings in food and beverage costs since deploying Solink in his 64 Jack the Box locations. After a 60 day pilot in 3 locations, the ROI was clear and he immediately installed Solink in all 64 locations.
Solink is the future of video surveillance and so much more
After years of using a standard video surveillance system, Paul set out to find a system to meet the needs of his growing business.
Paul switched to Solink in 2020 and hasn’t looked back since. “We had our existing camera system – a 16 camera system,” he shared. “Solink came in and was able to not only install the Solink platform and use our existing cameras, but also gave us feedback to make sure the cameras were pointing in the right direction, helped us reduce blind spots, and made the integrated system the most effective possible.”
But what really sets Solink apart for Paul is how dramatically his food and beverage costs dropped.
“Solink has helped contribute about a one percent reduction in our food cost. Right now, with inflation, we're running about 23% - 23.5% on our food costs. I feel if things were running the way they were about a year and a half ago before we started using Solink, we'd probably be closer to 24.5% - 25%”.
Improving operational measurements
While Paul didn’t have a specific problem he was trying to address with the Solink system, his gut feeling was that the restaurants weren’t operating optimally.
“When we first started with Solink, we were about three percent of sales lower than the system average for Jack’s locations. We were definitely lagging the Jack in the Box brand. Right now we’re about six to seven percent positive versus the system. I feel like Solink has helped us just knock it out of the park,” he stated.
Solink did help identify some very tangible problems. “We weren’t tracking employee meals properly. We weren’t ringing up a lot of what we were supposed to be ringing up in the POS. In some cases, we had voids or significant refunds we couldn’t track down. Solink really helped us get our arms around it quickly.”
As a result, voids are down by probably 80 to 85 percent since Solink was installed in his locations.
“We’re tracking our employee meals a lot better. Our food cost has improved. That has all been because of Solink.”
Addressing labor market challenges
While Solink allows guests and staff to feel safer in the restaurant, Paul saw reduced labor costs as well. “There are a couple of peripheral advantages I’m seeing from Solink in this labor market. Things are tough out there — we’ve seen this massive exit of labor and people just aren’t returning. I’ve talked to operators that don’t have the same peace-of-mind that I do because they don’t know when employees are turning off the mobile ordering app or not available for customers. Solink helps improve accountability and has helped us deal with a labor shortage.”
Saving time to invest back into the business
Like most restaurant owners, Paul has the energy and the drive to roll up his sleeves and tackle his daily neverending list of tasks. But he acknowledges that he can’t do it all, and that one of the biggest benefits to Solink is the time he gets back to focus on what matters.
“We had systems in place -- but they were very manual. Our asset protection person had TV'S on the wall in the office and we would have to cross reference the daily reports from the Jack in the Box portal and then try to hunt for the video we needed by fast forwarding/rewinding. Solink took all the labor out of it and we're able to get our daily reports and search for videos related to incidents in a few minutes.”
District Managers have bought in
Paul has seven District Managers on his team with responsibility for about nine restaurants each. Getting their buy-in to the Solink system was critical to success.
“When we first started, Solink took the time to do one on one training with each of our District Managers. The Solink Customer Enablement team also spent a lot of time with me, my Director of Operations and our Risk Management group. Daily usage is ingrained in my team and they know how to get the most out of Solink. Our daily reports come to us from the Solink system but I also know that all our activity is being archived. So if there’s an issue that came up from three or four weeks ago, we can find it at the snap of a finger and can investigate it immediately.”
The return has been significant
Paul knows that all franchisees believe they’ve got a great handle on their operations. He’s more realistic. “People are people and you have to keep them accountable. It makes me feel a lot better knowing that Solink is helping me optimize my franchise operations.”
Solink more than makes up for the cost
When he looks at the overall cost of Solink, Paul sees payback every month. “We’ve definitely seen more of a return than we had anticipated. We knew that we had some issues and we knew Solink was going to help us with that. The return has been significantly larger than I anticipated.”