At this point, I know it’s cliche to say 2020 was an unprecedented year, but it doesn’t make it less true. SynergySuite, along with restaurants across the world, had plans for the year that were abruptly shifted when the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear in March.
Some of our plans, like a migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS) continued forward. Others were put on hold to put time toward developing things like our COVID-19 mitigation and wellness tools.
Here’s a look back at the major improvements and new features added to SynergySuite in 2020. Scroll to the bottom for a sneak peak of what’s ahead for 2021.
- AWS Migration
Over the course of several months in 2020, we migrated all of our services away from a dedicated datacenter to AWS. This not only helped provide support for a more global presence, but also improved the overall speed and performance of the application by almost 50%.
- Revamped Movement Report
We completely re-wrote our inventory movement report from the ground up, and your valuable feedback played a major role in how the new report looks and works. We are glad to say this report not only performs better, but is also easier to understand for a novice user
“The updates made to the inventory movement report made it easier for our team to identify areas where we needed to focus our attention.” Megan Sanders, Tropical Smoothie Cafe
- Clocking App
Our dedicated clocking app launched mid year to help streamline the in-store clocking process. It also had an improved user interface, optional branding, displayed weather information, and no setup required.
- Wellness Checks
This set of tools was created to help customers respond to the need for COVID-19 mitigation and compliance. The wellness checks allow managers to audit staff before clocking in, take temperatures if needed and use pre-built sanitation checklists.
- Checklist Manager
We completely re-wrote our checklist functionality, and threw in a few new features along the way, including a brand new editor tool where managers can create checklists and edit locations where they are available.
- Notification Banners
Admins can set a notification banner on any of our applications. Display alerts, warnings or reminders to all employees, or set it to show only for specific roles.
- Security Manager
The new security manager tool helps unravel the complexity of permissions by explaining the hundreds of permissions available and splitting them out into actions and pages which are easier to understand. Roles now include hierarchies so users can issue logins for those below them in the hierarchy, reducing admin burden.
- Break Management
With the need for stricter controls on labor, we introduced a new break feature in scheduling allowing admins to define a list of break rules and types, as well as auto assigning breaks so managers can save time by tweaking the legally mandated number and frequency of breaks.
“Church’s Chicken needed a solution to manage and schedule breaks more efficiently at the restaurants. This was particularly true with providing a solution for our franchisees in California where complex labor law and auditing exists. SynergySuite delivered a solid solution to assist with managing these challenges not only in California, but also where we need better labor management across our system. It works great!” Kerry Leo, Church’s Chicken
2021 Feature Highlights
Our product team has a full roadmap for 2021, packed with improvements and innovations we know you’ll love. For now, we’ll give you a sneak peak at a few of our favorites that will make it easier for you to see, understand and distribute the information you need to run your restaurant. Plus a brand new Manager app, built with the latest technology and improved UI, so your team gets a faster, easier-to-use experience.
- Report Scheduler and Custom Report Creations
Managers will soon be able to schedule specific reports to be emailed to the appropriate stakeholders on a regular cadence. You will also get access to new custom report templates, where users will be able to customize the variables and save this view as a custom report to easily re-run.
- Manager App
Our new Manager app will have all the features you love in a fast, intuitive app built with the latest technology. Manager will focus on the day-to-day tools managers use within SynergySuite, making your employees’ jobs easier than ever.
- Advanced Forecasting
Sales forecasting will be spun out into its own feature which will include drill down capabilities, weather influence and events as part of the forecast. This means labor forecasting will also get updated with new and more intuitive screens.
- Cold and Hot Prep
This addition to existing prep planner functionality will use the more advanced forecasting function to better predict prep needs, based on cold and hot prep.
- Advancing Data Metrics
New integrations will be available with our existing POS partners that support Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) to capture speed of service in QSRs, and with some leading drive-thru timer systems to capture turn-around times
Lessons Learned and Moving Forward
This year has thrown everyone in the restaurant industry for a loop. While I never would have wished the last 9 months on anyone, we can take some positives away. It has made us more nimble, more thoughtful, more responsive. We had to think carefully about where resources could be best allocated, and what planned ideas could be delayed in service of more needed updates.
As a global team with offices in 4 countries, we were already good at working across Slack and Zoom, straddling time zones to stay up late or get up early for a needed conversation. But our communication with each other and with customers is stronger than ever. We look forward to bringing these connections into the new year.
“We are so grateful for being able to play a part in supporting our customers throughout the pandemic. This has not been easy on the restaurant industry and we are driven to provide the solutions that help restaurants stay safe and profitable.” Greg Staley, SynergySuite
We have big things planned for 2021 that we’re excited to show you. Thank you for being a part of what makes SynergySuite amazing.