James Watt and Martin Dickie founded BrewDog back in 2007, at the start of a mission to make people passionate about craft beer. Eight incredibly busy years later BrewDog has become top dog in the craft beer revolution. With 40 international bar and restaurant locations, as far apart as Japan to Brazil and all across the UK, BrewDog serves a full range of beers, an awesome selection of food and kickass artisan coffee. Recently, the company started construction on its first American brewery in Ohio.
SynergySuite started working with BrewDog in 2012. At the time they were operating 10 locations, and faced the challenge of wanting to add another 10 locations with a year. Director of Operations, Martin Dempster said, “at the time everything was managed on paper and one of our main goals was to protect ourselves from growing pains, we needed a back office system that could handle larger food and beverage businesses.”
BrewDog needed to keep gross margins steady, especially in the early and unpredictable months, as they expanded and added international locations. Mr. Dempster said “it was incredibly important that our head office had better analysis on food & beverage costs, labor costs and what customers are purchasing. Also, the Supply Chain team wanted to implement a Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory strategy between our breweries and store locations to increase efficiency and decrease waste.” This method required store managers and regional managers to forecast demand accurately.
BrewDog implemented 3 SynergySuite products: Inventory Management and Purchasing, Sales Analysis, and Cash Management.
SynergySuite integrates with Aloha, BrewDog’s point-of-sale, to pull sales transaction data and bring it to the cloud. BrewDog then imported its food and drink menu and supplier information into SynergySuite and synced it to all its locations. Store Managers conduct stock counts and view inventory depletion in real-time. They submit orders to the nearest brewery or to third-party suppliers all from a single, unified application. Mr. Dempster said, “very quickly, our stores decreased the inventory on hand and breweries started delivering drinks as needed.”
BrewDog used Approval Workflows, an integral part of the Ordering and Inventory module, to implement financial controls and automatically route third-party invoices to regional managers for approval and accounts payable for payment.
SynergySuite’s sales analysis tools pull wages, orders and sales data from the POS, to provide store managers and the corporate office with a daily analysis of gross profit. Mr. Dempster said, “the platform highlights underperforming locations, and allows my team to drill down for greater insight. Having access to cost reports such as actual vs. theoretical food cost analysis and hourly sales vs. wages meant we could understand our margins better.”
In addition, SynergySuite’s predictive sales analytics tools allowed BrewDog to forecast demand and manage production at its breweries. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. SynergySuite automated our forecasting and improved its accuracy. We have a huge variety of products, improving forecasting accuracy would never have been possible when working manually.”
SynergySuite’s Cash Management module is simple to use but vital. It tracks cash movement from each till to the safe and finally to the bank across all locations. Corporate management is immediately alerted to any major cash variances along the way.
In 2016, BrewDog was voted the UK’s 10th fastest growing private business by Fast Track, with a 3-year annual profit growth of 120%. Sales in the UK surged by 131%, making BrewDog the number one craft brewery in the UK.
On the impact SynergySuite has had on BrewDog, Mr. Dempster said, "in a global food & beverage business like ours that has a huge variety of rapidly changing products, the use of the right back office system is very important to our success. SynergySuite gives us the data we require, to continue to have a strong understanding of store-level operations and margins, which is extremely important as we rapidly expand the brand globally."