Big Data Boost to US Barbecue Restaurant Chain

Published Feb-04-19

A custom-developed advanced business intelligence service that maximizes big data to improve operational efficiency and sales of a US nationwide restaurant chain.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit, United States

The Story:

Big Data Boost to US Barbecue Restaurant Chain Dickey's Barbecue Pit is a network of hundreds of barbecue restaurants across the USA serving slow-cooked barbecue offerings. Aware of the importance of mining and leveraging big data it adopted a store-by-store reporting tool to combine data from all its restaurants and provide company-wide information that can be acted upon.

However, with the business growing it wasn't up to the job, so Dickey's worked with business intelligence and data warehouse solutions provider iOLAP Inc to develop a proprietary system called Smoke Stack. The purpose was to use the data to gain deeper operational insights, to increase sales and to stay ahead in a highly competitive industry.

Acting on Fresh Data

The Smoke Stack solution crunches data from point-of-sale systems, marketing promotions, customer surveys, loyalty programs and inventory systems to provide near real-time feedback on sales, daily business operations and other key performance indicators.

In a 2015 interview not long after Smoke Stack was put into operational use CIO Laura Rea Dickey the granddaughter-in-law of the chain's founder elaborated on how big data was being used by the company.

She explained it was examined during a daily morning briefing at corporate HQ and every 20 minutes to allow for immediate decisions to be made. Action can be taken on the fly to respond to what the data is saying. For example, if the system reports that a stock of ribs has been unused in a restaurant, a special marketing offer on ribs can be created and published on social media channels and/or sent to loyalty program members.

This represented a radical shift to how things were done before. If a region or store is below a particular KPI no matter what it is, Dickey’s can now respond and make course correction changes within a few hours as opposed to the end of the business day or in response to data that is months old.

“Smoke Stack has made data-driven business insights quick and easy to attain, allowing us to focus our efforts on using our data instead of manually analyzing it,” said Laura Rea Dickey.

“This significant improvement to our reporting and analytics environment translates into more dollars saved and earned. In addition, the ease-of-use has allowed us to seamlessly integrate the data technology into our everyday operations, introducing it to non-technical business users, all without painfully changing business processes.”

Incredible Operational and Business Advantages

The Smoke Stack big data solution also helps with the selection of items for the menu. Candidates are evaluated against five metrics - sales, simplicity of preparation, profitability, quality and brand. If they make the grade, they become permanent fixtures.

With its big data solution in place, Dickey's can easily understand and act on all key performance indicators such as inventory costs, labor, customer satisfaction and sales.

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