When it comes to finding someone qualified to assess Quick Service Restaurant back-of house solutions, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better candidate than Toronto’s Jon MacDonald. Before he opened his first McDonald’s franchise in Etobicoke, Ontario in 2009, Jon worked for telecommunications giants Rogers and Bell.
He first worked for Rogers in the mid to late 1990s in Product Management, Internet Services before serving as the Director, Service & Operations Strategy for Bell about a decade later.
Not long after that, looking to own his own business, MacDonald started looking at different franchising opportunities and decided to open his very first McDonald’s location. In 2012, MacDonald joined the technology leadership board at McDonald’s and where he has been helping to guide the organization in the area of technology adoption.
We spoke with Jon MacDonald about his experiences with CLEARVIEW from the perspective of a franchise owner and how it has shaped the way they conduct business.
How did it come about that you were introduced to the CLEARVIEW system?
We launched one of the modules as a sort of trial balloon around five or six years ago and it was quite well received by the operating group. Around 18 months after that we deployed the broader solution that we have today, and it has been quite successful for us.
What did your operating group find that the product could do for them?
Topping the list was simply the convenience it provided. It brought us out of the Dark Ages with the old system that was being used in the store. We found CLEARVIEW has quite versatile reporting capabilities so there is a lot of flexibility in terms of how we can pool and report information. Being internet-based, it gives us the ability to access it remotely from anywhere which is a huge convenience. Those are kind of table stakes these days but back when we first launched this, it was desperately needed and got us out of the Dark Ages.
Tell me a little bit about these dark ages, what were some of the pain points that CLEARVIEW addressed?
I think the Dark Ages were where you had to be more or less right in the store to access the information on a single computer. You had a very limited set of information that you could access, and you had to do a lot of number crunching if you wanted to gain additional insights from the data.
With CLEARVIEW, we have been able to automatically generate reports that give us insights and information in real-time as opposed to having to do the calculations on our own.
What are the most significant aspects of having access to the width and breadth of information these reports can provide?
It lets you make better decisions more quickly in all aspects of the business whether it’s controlling costs, manage inventory, or identifying sales opportunities. The bottom line is having the right information helps you manage those better.
And today’s younger generation just expects it. They are used to a lot more real-time and accessible information. I know that it saves us time and I know that it provides better insights into their performance and their respective stores, but we don’t really talk about it because it’s expected in today’s day and age.
From your experience, how does CLEARVIEW help you save money?
We use it to help manage labor and inventory. I think the fact that CLEARVIEW can communicate with other systems and import and export data, ultimately provides the ability to analyze it more easily and identify where your opportunities for cost efficiencies are.
The schedule optimization and labor cost summaries help to identify where we appropriately schedule labor. The inventory cost worksheets help us identify where we might have opportunities with food.
What advice would you give another franchise owner who is considering adopting the CLEARVIEW system?
I would say CLEARVIEW is a versatile reporting system that helps me to better manage my top-line sales and bottom-line costs to help improve the profitability of my business.