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Success Story

How Royal Blue Grocery operationalized their data for better business decisions with Solink

November 27, 2023

Table of Contents

“Solink is like Google for your security cameras and POS. You save so much time because you can just type in something and find what you need. We get so much value out of Solink.”


  • Downtown locations require more responsive security.
  • Hard to find the data to make the right, or avoid the wrong, decisions.
  • Unmonitored wastage and discounting cut into profits.


  • Haley Cofield is saving hours per week investigating incidents while getting a better grasp on what is happening in her community.
  • Having a single dashboard that shows everything happening across Royal Blue Grocery’s nine downtown locations has helped improve decision making.
  • By pairing video with every transaction, uncovering potential discount abuse and tackling unnecessary wastage has become a major opportunity to improve profitability.

Table of Contents

The Client:
Royal Blue Grocery

Royal Blue Grocery operates unique dual-function downtown stores in Austin and San Antonio, Texas. While offering the downtown core the ability to buy essentials without driving to a grocery store in the suburbs, they also operate coffee shops that sell on the go and sit down breakfasts and lunches.

“We're in this weird market, where we're a coffee shop because we have a coffee bar, but then we also have groceries, and we have a big lunch crowd too. It's kind of a mixed coffee shop and retail business. It works because Austin didn’t really have anything downtown where you could just go pop in and grab essentials."

A store with a lot of different kinds of food.

The Challenge:
Keep employees safe and provide the business insights needed to gain operational control

Like many North American cities, Austin is experiencing an uptick in violence. Since most Royal Blue Grocery locations are within a mile of each other in the Austin downtown area, they have been the victim of some of these incidents. To deter criminal activity and prevent an event happening at one location spreading to others, they needed an upgraded security system.

"Unfortunately, we currently have a safety issue in downtown Austin right now and have for the last couple of years with violent people on the streets. We're right downtown, so sometimes someone coming into one of our stores will cause a disturbance. We then need to find the video and provide it to the police. To do that with our old system, it would take a long time to find the video, reformat it, and figure out how to share it with the police or whoever needs it. It took too long to allow for any effective real-time reaction to the incident.”

The overall safety of the stores was not the only thing being affected by the lack of a cloud-based video security system that allows remote monitoring of all stores in one platform. It was also making it harder to make the right business decisions, as well as avoid ones that might prove disastrous. 

“Our POS system is not great on the user end of things sometimes, and it doesn’t offer the ability to see all of your locations side by side. You have to flip through the stores. When I am trying to gather the data needed to make a decision, just flipping from location to location would add hours to the job."

A laptop displaying a dashboard with several graphs.

Grocery stores and coffee shops provide perishable food items. When these business models are combined, the risk for uncontrolled operational shrink is very high. Royal Blue Grocery wasn’t able to effectively track discounting in their POS system, making it hard to discern just how much wastage was occurring, how to manage it, or even if the issue was wastage or discount abuse. 

“We didn’t have a waste program before Solink as I wasn’t able to get a clear picture of what was actually going on. Was food being discounted to sell before the expiration date? Was it employee discount abuse? Even what types of items, whether premade sandwiches or dry goods, were being discounted wasn’t visible. If I logged into the POS and saw our daily discount total jump by $2000 dollars out of nowhere, I couldn’t find the cause. It left me with questions not answers.”


  • Operating in downtown Austin and San Antonio leaves Royal Blue Grocery vulnerable to local crime. With locations so close together, a violent incident at one location could be followed by a second at another. Without a way to monitor video from all locations together, Royal Blue Grocery had difficulty making other stores aware of these situations in a timely manner.
  • Sometimes a fast decision or one based on a gut instinct leads to unforeseen consequences. What seems like an obvious action to halt one issue could lead to a bigger one if it isn’t based on solid data.
  • Heavy discounting, whether abuse or due to excessive wastage, is costing the company >$20,000 per month. This is a massive opportunity to reduce costs and increase revenues.

Haley Cofield stumbled upon Solink when considering a new POS system. She wanted a multi-location business intelligence system to centralize transaction and other data together in one platform.

"'I’m the Director of Operations, but it’s a small company so I also act as our IT Department. I was looking into a new POS platform and I always check what integrations they work with. I saw Solink on their website. It was just a little snippet of what you guys do, and I was like oh my gosh, this is like the coolest thing ever! I wasn't even searching for cloud video security. I didn’t know anything like this existed. After looking at your site, I knew we needed to see a demo. I’m a big believer in automations and apps, but the owners are a bit more skeptical. The other day one of them said ‘Solink is a good one.’ I’m just so happy we found Solink."

A store with a sign that says food blue.

While Royal Blue Grocery saw the potential in Solink right away, the current economic environment necessitates thinking about the ROI. With a potential downturn, most businesses are nervous about big initial outlays. Solink can work with most cameras on the market today, including all the cameras installed at Royal Blue Grocery locations. 

"We already had camera systems installed at all of our stores. Solink was able to use our existing security cameras, which played into our decision. We're going through a difficult economic time right now, so we've really been digging into what we're spending money on. With seven locations on Solink and each location having six to eight cameras, the upfront cost of having to replace all of them would have been a hard pill to swallow."

With the help of Solink, Haley Cofield has found that she is sometimes saving an hour or more on a single investigation. She recalls one recent phone call from a bank worried about a potential gift card fraud.

“I can't even put into words how great Solink has been. Just the other day, we had the bank call us about something. They asked us to look into potentially fraudulent charges. It was about multiple back-to-back gift card activations. I hopped onto Solink, typed in ‘gift card,’ and it pulled up that video in seconds. This lady had bought about 30 gift cards one right after another. It probably saved me an hour at least of searching through the point of sale alone. Before that, I would have needed to figure out which store it was. Then after, I need to call up the store and ask every employee if they remembered this customer and what exactly happened. The whole thing would have taken way longer. Solink is awesome."

A laptop with a screen showing a number of images.

Speeding up investigations means that Royal Blue Grocery can react in real time to incidents. When something happens in or around one of their stores, they can save the video, add comments to the event, and then email it to all of their store managers. That way, the other locations are prepared for anything that may be coming. 

“We are using Solink to better react to incidents. I can quickly find a clip, add notes, and then email it to everyone who needs to see it in a couple minutes. Because all of our locations in Austin are within a one-mile bubble in downtown, a person who causes a disturbance at one location might walk away in the direction of another. I can now let them know what happens and send the video so they can keep an eye out for the person. It helps keep our people safe. It also stays stored in the cloud, which means we can review those videos weeks or months later as well. They don’t get lost in an email account or Google Drive. They are still right there and easy to find. We had a situation recently where a person threw a stool at the front window of one of our locations. It was really scary, so I quickly found the clip and sent it to all the other store managers as a heads up."

Royal Blue Grocery was having some cash handling problems. When no easy fix seemed possible, they considered removing the option to pay in cash. By going cashless, the cash handling problems would stop. However, they had no way of seeing at an aggregate level just how many cash transactions were coming in. 

By compiling transaction data from all of their locations, Solink showed that about 9000 cash transactions were happening per month. That’s about 30 transactions per day per location. Seeing this information prevented a short-sighted decision that would have solved one problem by creating a new, potentially bigger one.

"There were some cash handling issues that were causing headaches, so I wanted to go cashless. With Solink, I saw that just in October we had nearly 9000 cash transactions. If we had pulled cash, it would have caused chaos. Just knowing things like that is super helpful. Solink helped me understand the potential impact of that decision."

Wastage and discounting is costing Royal Blue Grocery a lot of money. Some of this is to be expected for a business selling perishable goods. However, the sheer amount provides a major opportunity for revenue growth and cost savings. Before Solink, it was hard to track any of this. 

"We use an inventory management system, which is effective for what it does. However, it didn’t provide all the charts and graphs to see how waste and discounting changes day to day or store to store. It also didn’t allow us to really see why something was discounted. Even if we knew it was discounted to sell before the expiration date, we might not know why it hadn’t sold before. It could be rotation, ordering, or something else. Before Solink, we never properly tracked waste. I implemented a special waste discount button on the POS. Now we can see what we're throwing away. Is it stuff that we make in house, or are we over buying dry goods? I knew it was a lot, but seeing it on Solink I was surprised by just how much waste there is. That is just a huge opportunity, right? Now that Solink has shown us the issue, we can start to fix it."

The entrance to a building with a blue door.

Once they saw the opportunity provided by waste reduction, Royal Blue Grocery was looking for other ways to turn their security cameras into a profit center. Discount abuse, employee retraining, and customer service are all being tackled next. 

Before Solink, each store used a single POS login when processing transactions. However, this is no longer adequate. With the ability to monitor all transactions across all locations on Solink, the opportunity to delve deeper into individual employee data was too great to pass up. Haley Cofield is now rolling out individual logins for each employee so she can monitor for potential discount abuse, discrepancies in the number of sales per hour by employee, and anything else that might come to light with this new level of visibility.

"All of our employees were sharing one pin to the POS. We're about to make everybody have their own pin and login so we can better see what's happening, for example who's giving out the most discounts or making the most sales or getting the biggest tips. That's going to be a game changer. I’m nervous to see what it’s going to tell me, but we need to know. We’ll really be able to identify retraining needs or be able to evaluate the abilities of our managers and their teams. Once we can see who is doing what, I expect to get a whole new level of value out of Solink."

The Result:
More informed decisions with less time searching for needed data

While Royal Blue Grocery has partnered with the City of Austin Police Department for a long time, Solink is making it easier and faster to maintain this relationship. 

"We've been partnered with the police for years. I recently showed the owners how to save and share video in the Solink platform. Solink has made our side of this important relationship a lot easier."

Solink allows unlimited users, each with customizable dashboards and permissions so everyone can see what they need to while keeping confidential information private. Haley Cofield was the first user of the Solink platform, but since then the owners have been set up with accounts. Soon, her store managers will also have access to Solink so they can monitor their locations. In the meantime, one store manager is helping to lead the fight against food waste. As such, he’s also been given access to every store’s data. 

"I'm working with a store manager to tackle waste. I made him a Solink account because, even though he doesn’t need access to all of the security cameras, he needs to be able to see the data from every store and make custom widgets to understand what the data is telling us. Solink is more than just a security system. It really puts all of your data in one place so you can make better decisions."

Bringing on a new retail tool can be daunting. Even when there is value to be found, if you don’t have experience with that type of software, finding it on your own isn’t easy. While Solink is designed to be user friendly and intuitive so new users can dive right into the platform, the real benefit is gained by working with a dedicated success manager who has experience in your industry and knows what you should be tracking and where to find the information.

"I've been working with Solink’s Customer Success Team, and they’ve been absolutely wonderful. Honestly, you’ve made it so easy to transition all of our locations over to Solink. You answer all of my questions and you’re doing things that I didn't even know needed to be set up. You understand what to look for, what's important, and what needs to be visible. The fact that Solink pairs you with a rep with experience in a similar industry is such a great business model, and I wish more tech companies did that, as most customer service people at software companies don’t know anything about our business."

In Royal Blue Grocery’s words

"I'm so overwhelmed with all the things that I can do with Solink. It's opened up a whole new world that we didn't even know existed. We didn't even know that we needed this and now can’t live without it."

"Solink just gets it done. I’ll bring a list of 10,000 things I want to a meeting, and you just get them all done in the background while we are chatting.

“From past experiences, something that has been missing with other retail tools is the follow through. They set you up with their product, and once it’s implemented there is no follow up. Solink is not like that. They are so reliable. They follow through with training for you and your team. They keep a dialog going to make sure you have everything you need and keep trying to find new ways to help. Solink provides a teamwork atmosphere, which is great."

"I save at least five hours a week"

“Solink provides so much business intelligence. It gives us eyes on parts of the business we never had before. We can see everything now.”

Royal Blue Grocery’s three favorite features

Solink is bringing data-driven processes to Royal Blue Grocery, and it shows in their favorite features. Beyond security, it is the retail business intelligence that proves most valuable.

The Dashboard

The dashboard shows you all of the data you need to see. The Customer Success Team sets it up with the specific graphs and feeds you find important. It is fully customizable to fit the needs of each customer.


Real-Time Sales Widget

Solink gives you the ability to create widgets to track whatever you want. For Royal Blue Grocery, they created one that’s like their own personal “New York Stock Exchange Ticker.” There is a real-time scroll at the bottom of the Dashboard that shows every transaction as they happen across all their locations.

Events-Based Search gives you the ability to quickly find events matching your search criteria and then review the paired video. Whether it is access control entries or POS transactions, easily find the events you need to review. Solink pairs video with transaction data from your POS and then overlays the receipt without a text inserter box. Discount abuse, void reports, and other high-risk transactions can be reviewed in minutes to track down theft in your business.

Tim Ware headshot

Timothy Ware |  linked in icon email icon

Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.