Case Study

Church’s Chicken saves 2% on food, and gains hours back with comprehensive reporting

About Church's Chicken

Bringin’ that Down Home Flavor® to more locations across the United States.

The Problem

Ampler Chicken is the largest Church’s Chicken franchisee at 93 locations and growing across the southern United States. By “bringin’ that down-home flavor” that Church’s Chicken is known for, Ampler has grown quickly in the four years since they joined the brand. Headed by experienced restaurant operators, Ampler prioritized optimizing operations when bringing on new locations, and this was the case again when they acquired 18 locations in December 2020. These locations were on an antiquated back-of-house system and were still using manual processes for many tasks, including inventory and scheduling.

The acquisition was well-timed with the introduction of SynergySuite as Church’s Chicken’s new back-of-house system, and Ampler chose to implement SynergySuite in the new locations, as well as a few existing locations that were piloting the system. Working with SynergySuite, Church’s Chicken defined a core suite of tools to enable success at all locations – reporting and business intelligence, purchasing, inventory, operations, labor and scheduling, HRM, and cash management. Ampler President Mike Collins knew getting food and labor costs better managed was a top priority. They were also looking forward to implementing SynergySuite and QuPOS in more locations, as part of their rollout plan to get all locations on the same system by early 2022.

“It’s More Effective Daily Control”

“The SynergySuite team listens… as opposed to a company that says, “That’s just the way it is.” I like the dynamic approach to making changes,” Collins said.

“We have much more effective daily control of food costs and labor. You can look at labor live, on the fly.” – Roger Menchaca

The Solution

A Cohesive, Accessible System

As Ampler began implementation, they focused on empowering and training employees on the new system. Employees at the newly acquired locations had previously been using spreadsheets for inventory and paper schedules, so Ampler leadership knew they would see immediate results from a more defined, consistent process. Collins said he was also glad to find a tech vendor who listens and collaborates to best meet Ampler’s needs. 

Using the suite of modules available from SynergySuite, Ampler reduced the amount of time spent on reporting, made more effective use of labor, saved money on food, and gave managers more visibility and control through a mobile app. Key benefits Ampler gained include:

  1. An easy-to-use platform that is accessible on a mobile app. On-the-go access allows regional and general managers to make quick, proactive decisions based on live data.
  2. Accessible reports that give key information at a glance, and are easy to drill down into for added detail. Ampler also takes advantage of scheduled reporting, which emails specific reports to defined stakeholders on a pre-determined cadence.
  3. Improved food costs as a result of having a consistent, well-built inventory system, and more accurate prep production tools.
  4. Predictive scheduling helps deploy employees more effectively so peak times are always covered.
  5. Integrations with their other technology vendors cut down on human error and time spent entering data.
  6. Quicker, more responsive tech support, with better follow-up to ensure tickets are resolved has been “much stronger” than other systems.

The Outcome

With SynergySuite implemented in their recently acquired locations, Ampler is saving money on food, time on reporting, and optimizing labor. Even in their other locations that were on a more up-to-date system, Collins said they have seen added benefits from robust reporting, mobile access, and smoother invoicing.

“Once we got the system, we immediately started training on how to fully use the inventory portion as well as the labor scheduling and we continue to use that today. In those [more recently acquired] restaurants, we’ve improved food costs from when we purchased them by over 2%,” Collins said.

Roger Menchaca, Ampler senior director of operations, added that the scheduling system has allowed Ampler to deploy labor more effectively. At a corporate level, Menchaca said scheduled reports have allowed them to have better visibility into their locations. Stakeholders can get specific reports emailed on whatever cadence they prefer, and consolidated reports bring visibility into multiple locations.

Roger said he has also heard from other franchisees who appreciate being able to keep an eye on real-time numbers, knowing that once they hit a specific number in daily sales, they can rest easier. At the location level, mobile access is changing the game for general managers. Whether or not they’re in the store on any given day, managers can keep an eye on numbers throughout the day. Ricky Mata, Ampler corporate trainer, said when he was a regional general manager, he appreciated how the live data allowed him to provide on-the-spot coaching, which was more effective, rather than following up a day or two later, when it was less relevant.

“We have more capability of looking into the details on this system than we did with Blue Yonder or NBO. Your ability to look at things on a daily basis is much more intense. Whether it’s food costs, labor, end of day, cash reconciliation, all those daily reports, and weekly reports, you’re able to deep dive quicker and, as long as you set up the reports and follow up on them, we’re able to react much quicker,” Menchaca said.

By The Numbers

  • 2% saved on food
  • Hours saved on reporting
  • More efficient use of labor

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