Customer Success - LuLu's
Updated: Feb 26
Lucy Anne Buffett, also known by her childhood nickname LuLu, and the official “Crazy Sista” of the Buffett clan, is a self-proclaimed gypsy rebel, having come from a long line of sailors, salesmen, storytellers, and generation after generation of staunch, Southern matriarchs who were stellar cooks.
LuLu’s operates three family-focused restaurants in Gulf Shores Alabama, Destin, Florida, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The restaurants are large (about 500 seats). Live music is provided every night. The food is always good, the service is exceptional, the hospitality feels like home, and the fun is always present.
In December 2019, LuLu’s began the implementation of "COGS+", COGS-Well’s inventory control and menu management system. The restaurants were already utilizing Aloha for point of sale, Plate IQ for invoice automation, and Sage Intacct for accounting.
Gerald Tipton, President of Lulu’s, and his team looked for a new inventory control and menu management system to replace their Compeat system. The replacement system needed to interface with their existing systems. They only needed inventory control and menu management and did not want to pay for added functionality they wouldn't use.
“We were looking for a software vendor that was focused on what they do best like APS for payroll and HotSchedules for scheduling. We wanted a system that would compliment our new financial system (Sage Intacct).” Gerald Tipton, LuLu's President.
“There were too many ways to do the same thing in our old system. In some cases, there were 5 different reports on the same information and they didn’t always agree.” Samuel Stanczak, LuLu’s Corporate Inventory and Prep Manager.
At the recommendation of Plate IQ, LuLu’s 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 Aloha’s POS to import sales mix. Via the elimination of manual data entry, COGS-Well simplified inventory control for their team at LuLu's.
COGS-Well’s support team set up the initial database for LuLu's (as they do for all new customers). The vendors, inventory items, and general ledger accounts are imported from Plate IQ. Then COGS-Well’s proprietary vendor packaging catalog automatically assigns pack sizes, count units, and recipe units to each inventory item.
LuLu’s inventory database was installed in a few days. All of their menu items were imported from Aloha. New invoices and the sales mix were immediately flowing into COGS+. As a result, the restaurants were able to start doing inventory control right away.
“If COGS-Well’s mission is to make inventory control faster to implement and easier to use, then it is mission accomplished for COGS-Well.” Gerald Tipton, LuLu’s President.
The Return on Investment:
Samuel Stanczack, LuLu’s Corporate Inventory and Prep Manager, has implemented COGS+ in all three restaurants. The restaurants currently utilize it for inventory counts, ordering, and receiving. They are using COGS+ to control food inventory and are now implementing the beverage items.
Samuel oversees the system administration of COGS-Well. Each restaurant has an inventory supervisor that uses the system daily. Sam is considering adopting tablets for the supervisors to utilize to increase accuracy over counting on worksheets.
“COGS-Well is definitely faster to install and easier to maintain than our old system. It works great.” Samuel Stanczak.
The next step for LuLu’s is to finish building recipes for their food and beverage items. They intend to take advantage of the COGS+ features for monitoring their recipe costs and their menu item pricing. They also want to utilize the menu analytics features which combine sales mix with menu item costs and pricing for menu engineering.
Samuel is also planning to implement the new COGS+ feature for Receiving Variance which is a comparison of what was ordered to what was received to isolate variances. He also is looking at the new Cost Alerts feature which captures inventory item cost changes based on a user-defined change percentage.
Gerald mentioned, “our job at LuLu’s is to help you forget about life for a while”. COGS-Well’s mission is to help LuLu’s forget about the challenges of inventory control.