When the first Papa Murphy’s Canada location opened in Cloverdale, British Columbia in 2008, things were basic, or in the words of Milo Buckingham, Director of Field Operations, “Old school.” For many years, Cloverdale and several other locations used cash registers, pen, and paper to record sales.
Today, all 18 locations across Canada use SpeedLine point of sale systems in their operations, and the franchise company plans to install SpeedLine in all new stores.
Papa Murphy’s is the most widely recognized “take and bake” brand in the world.
“The customer watches you make the pizza in front of them,” Milo says, “And then they take it home and cook on special paper tray—no dishes, no mess, and the guest is in control every step of the way.” The Papa Murphy’s “Love at 425 Degrees” slogan helps customers remember the correct baking temperature, so the pizza is hot and ready exactly when they want it.
Beyond the take and bake concept, quality and consistency set Papa Murphy’s apart. “We make the dough in-house,” says Milo, “and it’s a labor of love. It takes 24 hours before you can turn it into a pizza. Then we load it up with the best ingredients you can buy—including fresh mozzarella and butcher-quality meats.”
The Challenge: Managing Consistency, Cost, and Quality
A franchise concept, Papa Murphy’s Canada has a vested interest in ensuring that it delivers on its brand vision in every location.
In any franchise operation, managing consistency store to store is a key factor in quality and cost efficiency. Papa Murphy’s Canada was in search of a solution that would keep them in control of their point of sale configurations, menus, coupons, and the operational metrics of their stores. SpeedLine gave them that control.
A Master Menu
Papa Murphy’s Canada manages a single master SpeedLine menu file at head office, pushing changes to the stores—but individual store operators have some ability to customize the menu for their locations.
“SpeedLine gives us the flexibility to create custom coupons for entire markets, while at the same time allowing stores to create their own local offers,” explains Milo.
And he can easily manage limited time offers with SpeedLine. “I know all the stores are going to have the right offers at the right times, because I can specify when to turn offers on and off in the master menu. For instance, ‘$12 Tuesday’ is easy to forget at the store, but with SpeedLine, that offer is managed automatically, so it’s a non-issue.”
Milo comments, “SpeedLine has made managing the menu easier, and improved consistency in pricing, coupons, and menu screen layout. Managers and employees working multiple locations can walk into any store and know where the buttons are, because they’re all the same.”
Keeping It In-House
In 2015, Papa Murphy’s Canada decided to take advantage of the SpeedLine Certified Technician program, with Milo earning this certification.
The program allows restaurant companies to use their own certified staff to install the point of sale system, train staff, and if they choose, reduce support costs by providing first-level support to the stores.
When it comes to training, Milo comments, the obvious advantage is the in-depth knowledge of business processes an in-house trainer brings.
“I don’t just train on how to use SpeedLine; I can train specifically on how Papa Murphy’s uses SpeedLine—so training is tailored to our needs,” says Milo.
Beyond the ability to dovetail business and point of sale processes in training, Milo appreciates that the in-depth certification training equipped him to manage the corporate menu himself.
“We wanted the ability to manage the menu ourselves, because no one knows our business better than we do,” he comments, “And making changes to coupons, pricing, and offerings ourselves means that changes can happen fast, and nothing gets lost in translation to another party.”
Certification has helped Papa Murphy’s control installation and training costs, but the franchise company has seen other savings as well.
SpeedLine Inventory is a capability Papa Murphy’s has implemented relatively recently, but the first stores to take advantage of the program have already seen significant savings. Milo reports that stores are seeing anything from a 0.75% to 2.5% reduction in food cost.
And on the labor side, using SpeedLine for scheduling has reduced time and labor cost.
“An experienced manager who has scheduling set up in SpeedLine can build a fully costed schedule in as little as 15 minutes,” Milo reports, “and they’re not making schedules based on gut instinct, but on real forecasts based on sales history by the hour.”
“SpeedLine definitely helps with forecasting our labor needs,” Milo adds. “We have seen, on average, a 1.5% drop in overall labor cost for stores that are building the schedule based on the forecast.”
Papa Murphy’s Canada locations average 16 to 17% online orders, which Milo says is huge for the take and bake industry (the stores do not deliver).
SpeedLine has contributed to this growth.
“Since switching to SpeedLine and integrating with our new online ordering partner, we’ve seen more than a doubling of online sales in 8 months,” says Milo.
“We expect online orders to continue to grow. Our new stores tend to open with closer to 30% online sales. Online orders save us labor, because we don’t have to take the order or payment [in the store], so we can focus on having the pizza ready when the customer walks in—and generally they’re in and out within 30 seconds.”
To increase customer frequency, Papa Murphy’s Canada uses the free, built-in SpeedLine loyalty program for their “Take and Bake Club.” Guests earn points towards free pizzas with every purchase. The program is simple to administer, and as Milo explains, it really works.
“A lot of guests track and know when they are due [for a free pizza],” Milo says, “and this has really built frequency.”
Milo also leverages the automatic “lazy customer” and upsell messages in the POS: “If someone hasn’t been in the store in more than 60 days, SpeedLine automatically prompts our staff to let them know there will be a coupon at the bottom of their receipt to use in the next 30 days,” explains Milo.
He adds, “The value meal prompts make it easy to put promos and bundles together, and we have the system set up to prompt staff about upsells at the end of every transaction—which helps increase sales of side items.”
Of course, a technology solution is only of value when it’s up and running. For Milo, a big key to the company’s success with SpeedLine has been the support. As the franchise company’s trainer, it’s a resource he relies on when he has questions himself.
And, he notes, “the support network for franchisees takes the pressure off head office. The fact that I don’t hear anything means it’s going well.”
Milo shares this advice to other operators in the market for a POS:
“Make sure that you take the time to understand what your current and future needs are. Will the system support the needs you are growing into down the road? Will it work well with your marketing and online ordering efforts? Look at the scalability of the system—not only planning for today, but planning for tomorrow.”