We all know how running a business looks like constant chaos, but what if we could give it the structure it sometimes lacks?
If I stepped into the shoes of a manager on a typical working day; he/she would probably be surrounded by innumerable messages, calls, and escalations to douse. A customer-facing business has even more responsibility to maintain a certain standard that matches the one they launched the brand with.
So, when I got the chance to meet Rahul Singh, the founder, and CEO of India's first alco-beverage brand, Beer Cafe, I had an exciting proposition.
I was introduced to him by one of our F&B advisors. As for Rahul, he'd always had a solid tech outlook on how he wanted to run his business. They were already using a next-generation POS system that integrated splendidly for every store's payments, billing, orders, and more. In fact, before our meeting, I remember him saying that he might have already used what we had to offer.
We still had that meeting.
Cut to today, we have built one of the finest connected workflows in an F&B's operational setup.
It's true that Beer Cafe was and still is very well equipped with its technical capabilities. Back then, Rahul talked of his existing frontline operations, mostly on paper, spreadsheets, emails, or WhatsApp groups. Here's what we saw in front of us:
- Multiple siloed platforms
- Unlimited files and documents to locate and manage
- An unorganized and lengthy data-sharing process from the stores to the head office
- A million emails that reduced productivity
- Countless excel files
He had already identified this block that slowed down operations and wanted to bring all functioning data onto a single platform. Something that would integrate the staff with the legal, finance, and head office, while also being easy to initiate internally.
Automating our way through the Beery Raj 🍺
In Delhi alone, one has to procure around 12 licenses from the nearest police station, the State Pollution Control Board, MCD, the local fire department, and many more organizations, to open an outlet.
In fact, there are even more licenses if your outlet serves alcohol, which means a constant chain of compliance and paperwork.
We knew what we needed to begin with.
Managing Beer Cafe's Licenses on Grid 📃
Before we set up Beer Cafe on Grid, all of the licenses were collated in Excel which had to be monitored manually. Also, the system of licensing and regulation differed in every state, which only complicated managing them. The problem we were trying to solve was to collect everything in one place, with the aim to save time and resources.
I remember one of the first workflows we set up for Beer Cafe was License Management. This is how we planned it.
STEP 1: We created a master database of Beer Cafe's compliances on Grid.
STEP 2: We then set custom reminders (mostly 10-15 days before the expiration date) for timely renewals.
STEP 3: This could then be monitored by both legal and store teams on the Grid dashboard.
This helped the required stakeholders get a single-shot view of each and every license across the 33 outlets.
Creating a Connected Workforce with Workflows 🎳
Soon enough, we extended this to other facets of Beer Cafe's business. We've in fact made a detailed infographic that can be downloaded here.
Standardizing Beer Cafe's Offline Brand Presence
Another aspect that's on the mind of every customer-facing business is maintaining a consistent voice, both online and 'offline'. While employee training, management, and set agendas have served as key brand-building points for brick-and-mortar businesses, we began the process of entering everything on Grid.
Something as regular as locking the balcony door is now updated on Grid.
If you visit a cafe today, you might notice cleaning checklists inside bathrooms or a bunch of paperwork hidden in drawers or on the manager's desk.
Even today, the ground staff at many eateries enter the day's data on paper or in Excel which is then shared with the main office.
While this system works, it's also prone to errors, which drains efficiency and time.
To standardize Beer Cafe's offline presence, we transferred all the opening and closing checklists onto Grid - while also coming up with set agendas that must be followed across all stores at the opening and closing hours.
STEP 1: We created one admin login for every store on Grid.
STEP 2: Apart from ticking off an activity, one could also upload a picture for proof.
STEP 3: All the opening and closing actions could now be stored and monitored in real time.
Unlike in the past, when managers had to do routine checks and report back to the main office, everyone can now see what they need to do in one place.
One View For All Expenses 💰
One of the best outputs of building these connected workflows was the ability to track all expenses in one place. While we created one specifically for repairs and maintenance, we built a separate one for the large bills.
One place to collate, approve, book, and audit expenses.
Before, one person from each store was assigned to collect and organize all major expenses at the end of the week with a visit to the headquarters; only after this meeting could the accounts team go ahead and book these bills. The process was long and cumbersome and often welcomed errors.
It's actually a nightmare for stores to send documents and invoices from far away. We got everything on Grid which ensured clear visibility for every department.
- Every bill was labeled under a category (food, non-food, liquor, mall) and the supplier's name.
- Each of these entries was supported by a scanned bill upload. Today, there is an organized repository where everything is recorded digitally and follows a duly set process listed in this infographic. The entire billing cycle is now closed faster, benefiting the teams immensely.
How long did it take us to build a Connected Workforce on Grid?
We took about 7 days to create our first workflow, which was license management. Grid, being a no-code platform is super easy to implement, iterate and re-iterate. Unlike a fixed-coded platform, the ease of use of Grid's no-code software enabled Beer Cafe to expand from 5 to 15 workflows with no additional development time.
In fact, our support and training team took Beer Cafe through the entire process and built the workflows with them - which made the transition smoother than butter.
How data organization scaled Beer Cafe 📈
Beer Cafe sells around 50 different beer brands. Their draught beer is their USP. While the availability of certain brands rests on the State, having an organized place to manage stocks and availability is crucial for a great customer experience.
Apart from the flows that I've covered in detail, we have many more that track:
- The exact running stock at every outlet - be it for beer or raw materials like mixers, masalas, etc.
- We also have a very important pest control tracking system that helps the stores maintain their hygiene standards.
- All repairs and maintenance are listed on Grid, along with scanned copies of bills and the exact nature of complaints. Beer Cafe also logs employee attendance, information, and designations on Grid.
Most importantly, all relevant stakeholders can view the daily sales revenue by payment type, the average price per customer meal, coupons used, point of sales, and much more on a customizable dashboard on Grid.
As of today, this seamless and robust set-up offers Beer Cafe:
- Real-time insights, which can be as detailed as the highest-performing outlet to the most-used payment type.
- It also improves their operational standards as everything is stored digitally, which reduces mishaps.
- The internal reporting structure is flawlessly organized and everyone has 100% visibility into running operations.
- All in all, this promises higher efficiency and a great customer experience!
With a connected workforce like this, everything is now collated and studied on Grid. In fact, Rahul recently shared that he doesn't get any emails since he moved to Grid and has been a strong advocate. Here's congratulating him and his team for the Bira 91 merger. I'm sure Beer Cafe will continue to lead as a beer tech brand, and we'll continue to be their partner in the long run!
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