“You’ll see the return on investment sooner rather than later.”
Several years ago, Toronto-based St. Louis Bar & Grill was conducting site visits in a decidedly low-tech way: on pen and paper, later entered into Excel spreadsheets. With plans to continue growing across Canada, the restaurant brand eventually concluded that it needed a better way to oversee store-to-store compliance across an ever-expanding footprint.
So Tim Crowe, director of operations at St. Louis Bar & Grill—which has now grown to 72 stores, and counting—and his team began exploring solutions that would help uphold brand consistency. They wanted a digital platform that would help streamline the site-visit process and any associated follow up.
They ended up selecting AuditApp, a digital platform created by MeazureUp, and they’ve been pleased with the results. When a problem is identified during a site visit, those who need to know are quickly informed via email. When the problem is successfully addressed, c-suite executives are also notified.
“Instead of taking your pen and paper and going home and tallying things—you gotta carry the one!—we have real results that are emailed to the location,” Crowe says. “The follow up and turnaround time is night-and-day compared to what it used to be. And if there’s any area of concern, obviously you want to make sure it gets flagged immediately, you don’t want three days to go by before that item may get addressed.”
The criteria in the AuditApp are customized by each brand that uses it, often on an annual basis. For Crowe and St. Louis Bar & Grill, they’ve built out a checklist based on specific areas that seem to be slipping through the cracks brand-wide. If they see something failing multiple times after it’s been added to the checklist, they know they’ll have to figure out a new strategy to remedy it.
While site visits are the lifeblood of operations and creating brand consistency, they are also time consuming when they are done without a solution like AuditApp. That can take brand leaders away from other critical tasks—AuditApp is a saner way of doing it, Crowe says. “For my role specifically, it’s all about time,” Crowe says. “AuditApp allows us more time to focus on different things. Obviously, things in the restaurant business change in the blink of an eye. So if you’re tangled up in paperwork, then you’re not using your time as efficiently as possible.”
AuditApp is specifically designed to make sure that site visits are not only efficient, but that they are impactful, too. Notes and further feedback can quickly be added in, but one feature enjoyed by many auditors—including Crowe—is the feature that allows photos to be uploaded into the app to exhibit a specific area of concern. Similarly, brands can create an action item that requires a photo be uploaded in order to prove a specific area has been addressed.
“I mean, pictures are worth a thousand words,” Crowe says. “You can take a picture of a specific item… and there’s little argument beyond that. Say there’s some temperature abuse or something along those lines—AuditApp will allow you to [cite] that immediately, where you can set an action plan to be followed up on within 24 hours.”
Crowe and his team have enjoyed AuditApp so much that they have begun implementing MeazureUp’s companion product, DailyChex, at the store level. MeazureUp COO Ray Abramson says that is a natural progression that many brands take—DailyChex helps store management take accountability for day-to-day operations, helping to create a cycle of accountability. Both platforms, Crowe says, have been a success story for his brand, thanks in part to the collaborative relationship St. Louis Bar & Grill holds with MeazureUp.
“The team and the support I’ve gotten from them is unparalleled,” Crowe says. “The training we’ve received in order to create your own checklist on the back end has been fantastic. If you’re a brand that is thinking about it, I would say it’s well worth the investment. You’ll see the return on your vinestement sooner rather than later.”
For more on MeazureUp’s solutions, visit the company’s website.