Why RPA for Restaurants is Essential in 2023
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation and has been around for nearly 10 years. However, it started getting especially popular around 2019. With the rise of companies like UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism in the restaurant industry, RPA surprisingly hasn't been fully embraced yet.
RPA has been popular in banking, financial services, insurance, and healthcare, but has been lacking representation in the restaurant industry so far. Recently, Stealth Scaling has rolled out an RPA service for restaurants which will automate manual repetitive processes such as sales reporting, invoice processing, inventory auditing, labor reports, and revenue reconciliation for franchise chains and franchisees.
The reason why it's important in 2023 is because of a significant increase in labor cost. It’s becoming very expensive, and any sort of administrative or manual work that restaurants are doing is eating into their profit margins. Leveraging RPA technology (a bot) would enable a company to complete the same repetitive work that a human would do; for example, clicking, copying and pasting, opening up different systems, or plugging in information, except it can accomplish this up to 10 times faster than a person would.
Leveraging software also comes with significant labor savings. One of the new offerings that Stealth Scaling is rolling out is its own RPA-as-a-service business for restaurants. Stealth Scaling specializes in the restaurant industry, has worked with some of the largest restaurant chains in the country, and has already been embedded into franchise operations such as centralizing phone orders, catering orders, and handling customer service functions. So, with the rollout of the new service, restaurant chains won't have to pay for expensive RPA licenses or implementation costs. They would only pay a per-transaction fee that will be far less costly than hiring an actual human employee. This opportunity is massive for restaurants aiming to lower FTE counts, increasing overall profitability and operational leverage as they go into the new recession.
Some of the most popular RPA use cases in the restaurant industry are within the finance department, administrative department, and inventory management department. Daily reports can be automated by extracting financial data from different ERP applications. For example, Primanti Brothers recently embraced RPA in a situation where they would traditionally use eight regional managers, each spending 45 minutes a day pulling sales data from their 5 locations. Sometimes, they would have to prepare reports for weekends and holidays as well.
Now, they leverage RPA bots that produce daily sales and labor reports in under 3 minutes – not 45 – and it has helped them save 2,000 hours annually on manual labor resulting in roughly $84,000 in savings. An additional benefit of automating these daily reports is that they're free of manual errors. They're done within a specific time range and basically allow managers to do more strategic tasks and functions, such as making sure their guests inside the restaurant are satisfied.
Another use case for RPA in restaurants is revenue reconciliation. Revenue reconciliation helps them figure out what products are selling and how to better manage inventory. This is a process that could very well be automated. A restaurant called Paradise, an Asian restaurant, works with four digital food platforms such as Uber Eats and has over 6,000 daily transactions across the board. Prior to automation, it took them five days to reconcile. Due to manual processing, it took a lot of time and 4 FTE's to complete. Now, they use RPA to extract data from their system to flag exceptions, inform a human-in-the-loop about them, and are able to reconcile the transactions in under 4 hours instead of 5 business days.
Stealth Scaling not only has the RPA software that can automate and speed up all of these processes, but also has access to hundreds of humans-in-the-loop that can be trained to handle any sort of exceptions if the automation process encounters any errors. This way, we can truly help restaurants save money on FTE count, as well as increase profitability and productivity in restaurants.