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Anatomy of an Award Winning Data Project Part 2: Firehouse Subs Station Pulse BI Dashboard

The concept of a data-driven organization has been discussed and proposed as an ideal for a while now, but how we define and identify those organizations is certainly still up for debate.

April 12, 2016

As we reported in our previous post, we are still beaming with pride, like proud parents at a little league game or a dance recital. Not one, but two of our customers won big fancy awards for the work we did together. The concept of a data-driven organization has been discussed and proposed as an ideal for a while now, but how we define and identify those organizations is certainly still up for debate. We’re pretty confident that these two customers in question - Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and Firehouse Subs - would be prime contenders. These awards highlight their commitment to go further than their industry counterparts to empower employees and franchisees to leverage data in new and exciting ways.

If you missed last week’s post with CSC’s Chris Marin, check it out here. Today, let’s learn more about Firehouse Subs award winning project. In case you don’t know much about Firehouse Subs, let me bring you up to speed. The sandwich chain started in 1994 and as of March 2016 has more than 960 locations in 44 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Firehouse Subs is no stranger to winning awards, either. In 2006, KPMG named them “Company of the Year” and they’ve been recognized for their commitment to community service and public safety as well through Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation®, created in 2005.

Now let’s hear from our project champion and our main ally at Firehouse Subs, Director of Reporting and Analytics, Danny Walsh.

Here are the stats:

Firehouse Subs “Station Pulse” Business Intelligence Dashboard

Purpose: Help Firehouse Subs’ franchisees to improve performance by measuring key metrics of their operations against regional and network-wide benchmarks

Delivery method: Dashboard embedded into the Franconnect platform used by the franchisees

Data sources: Daily sales, voice of customer platforms, social media, weather data

Project Lead (champion): Danny Walsh, Director of Reporting and Analytics, Firehouse Subs

Executive Sponsor: Vince Burchianti, CFO, Firehouse Subs

Solution Architect: Marcus Wong, Keboola

Award Details:

Keboola: What was the overall objective for the project?

Danny: We had access to many different data sources, but a multitude of logins made it challenging to create data correlations and paint the overall picture of a restaurant’s performance.

We needed a consolidated method to review data from multiple sources. Our Reporting & Analytics team created a scorecard based on 10 key metrics that measures sales and operational performance for each restaurant. This gives us an overall view of restaurant performance and clearly highlights areas of improvement.

How did you expect users would benefit and why would they “bother”?

Users benefit by seeing the overall picture of restaurant performance. Operational and sales metrics are pulled into one dashboard for user-friendly access.

Did the process lead you to make any changes to the vision along the way? How do you see those in retrospect?

It’s very easy to get wrapped up into a lot of data that can ultimately lead to clutter and noise on the dashboard.  Stick with the most important data that can lead to actionable insights.

What do you see as next steps, what are the learnings so far?

We always are looking to improve upon our dashboard and display the most important and relevant data to our franchisees in a user-friendly environment.

How did Keboola help you realize your vision and meet the project’s objectives?

Keboola was involved in the development and implementation of the dashboard from the very early stages. They were conferenced into our internal brainstorming sessions with key leadership team members and gave feedback and suggestions as we mapped out the design of the dashboard.  Also, they were instrumental with the roll-out process when the project was complete by conducting webinar training sessions for staff.

What did your Keboola Architect provide to the process?

Our architect, Marcus Wong, wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion and challenge us when we were developing a mock-up of the dashboard.  It was great to bounce ideas off of one another to create what became a Break-Through Award winner in the category of Enterprise Innovator for Hospitality Technology (HT) Magazine.

Following implementation, what has been the rate of adoption and support for ongoing usage and development?

The dashboard is used from the general manager level all the way to the C-Suite at Firehouse Subs Corporate Headquarters.

If you read last week’s post about CSC and their winning data project, you’ll see some similarities here. It’s clear that the right people make all the difference in ensuring the success of a business intelligence project. Next week we’ll dive deeper into the ideal conditions for creating a powerful data analytics experience. Stay tuned!

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