Andiamo! in Santa Fe, New Mexico, andiamosantafe.com; and 68 Degrees Kitchen in Austin, Texas, 68degrees.com; are two scratch kitchen restaurants owned and operated by seasoned restaurateur Joan Gillcrist.
In their 26th and 4th years of operation, Andiamo! and 68 Degrees Kitchen are neighborhood restaurants with a mission to provide high quality, affordable fare using the freshest ingredients. The restaurants offer an approachable, collective experience for people who love food. "Good food for everyone" is one of Joan's guiding principles.
In February 2020, Andiamo! and 68 Degrees Kitchen began implementing "COGS+", COGS-Well’s inventory control and recipe management system. The restaurants already utilized Toast for Point of Sale, Plate IQ for invoice processing, and QuickBooks for accounting.
Gillcrist was looking for a system to replace the current inventory ‘system,’ which primarily consisted of Excel spreadsheets. She wanted a solution that provided more in-depth inventory control, recipe management, and food & beverage cost analysis. The new system had to be easy to learn and use, and interface to the POS, invoice automation, and accounting systems.
Will Strong, the restaurants’ Senior Advisor, thoroughly tested six different inventory systems before deciding to use COGS-Well. Will did not want a system that required him to replace his accounting system. He also desired a system that could be implemented quickly and would be easier to use than the other inventory systems he had evaluated.
“I was looking for a system that interfaced with Toast, Plate IQ, and QuickBooks, and that could provide cloud-based analytics. I also wanted a system which could enable us to derive value right away and make the whole inventory process much easier.” Will Strong – Senior Advisor, Andiamo! and 68 Degrees Kitchen.
“As an owner, you are pulled in many directions. One needs to pull themselves out of the restaurant but still be able to monitor key metrics. As food and beverage costs are one of the largest components of the cost structure, it is imperative to have accurate, real-time analytics to monitor how things are going. The data tells a story – using a system that can help me interpret that story is invaluable.” Joan Gillcrist, Owner.
At the recommendation of Plate IQ, Will looked at COGS-Well’s COGS+ product. COGS+ seamlessly integrates with Plate IQ’s invoice automation system to capture vendor and inventory item detail from every invoice. COGS+ also deeply integrates with Toast’s POS to import sales mix and the financial totals. Via the elimination of manual data entry, COGS-Well can automate and ease all the processes related to inventory control.
COGS-Well’s support team sets up the initial database for a new customer. The vendors, inventory items, and general ledger accounts are imported from Plate IQ. A proprietary vendor packaging catalog automatically assigns pack sizes, count units, and recipe units to each item.
The databases were installed in a few days. All new invoice and sales detail was already automatically flowing into COGS+ from Plate IQ and Toast, respectively, so the restaurants were able to implement full inventory control right away.
“Of the six systems I tested, COGS-Well is by far the best at simplifying a vendor's inventory items. It all starts with invoice management (in our case, Plate IQ) because digitizing invoice data saves a significant amount of time and substantially lowers the error rate relative to manual tracking of invoices. COGS-Well leverages that data and allows us to use it to make decisions". Will Strong.
COGS+ automatically imported the menu item databases for each restaurant via the interface with Toast POS. Will started with the beverage menu and created recipes for these items. The restaurants were quickly able to report on sales, evaluate pricing and menu performance, and calculate theoretical inventory on-hand for beverages.
The Return on Investment:
Joan and Will believe that an inventory control system should be simultaneously highly effective and simple to maintain and that any system that would require a substantial number of staff member hours to populate and verify would not be worth the time or investment.
“COGS-Well makes inventory SO much easier. The folks there are thinking about the problem from the restaurant owner’s point of view rather than just as a process problem. That way of thinking translates through to a big return on investment for us.” Will Strong.
Management at Andiamo! and 68 Degrees are now able to analyze wine list and menu pricing better to make sure they are pricing to meet their target profit levels. If costs change, then there is immediate feedback as to required pricing adjustments.
The time they previously spent on inputting information into the Excel system is now used to make profitable decisions. For example, Joan and Will now can now answer questions for which they previously did not have the information using tools such as the COGS+ menu analytics, which combines pricing, margins, and sales mix to determine the “stars” and “dogs” on the menu.
“COGS-Well helps us shave 2-3% off of our cost of goods sold each month”. Will Strong.
68 Degrees Kitchen and Andiamo! are about to start building their food item recipes to take advantage of the same inventory control, recipe costing, and menu sales analysis features they have implemented for their beverages.
The two restaurants utilize the theoretical inventory on-hand calculation in COGS+ to assist them in reordering and in making menu changes. Their next step is to look at implementing the suggested ordering features which utilize theoretical inventory on-hand and par levels to automatically suggest reorder quantities.
Andiamo means “let's go” in Italian. COGS-Well can’t wait to go even farther with Andiamo! and 68 Degrees Kitchen towards automating all of their inventory control and recipe management requirements.