How Quick Service Restaurants can remix menu flavors to maximize fun & profit

Editorial Team

5 min read
Variety of donuts

“When you eat a doughnut, you really want to be happy,” says founder and ownerpreneur of Sublime Doughnuts Kamal Grant. And that’s what Sublime does every day in Atlanta: serve up doughy happiness with creamy fillings and sweet toppings.

Thanks to Kamal’s creative vision and travels, Sublime “present[s] flavors and textures from around the world on a doughnut canvas.”

The Sublime brand depends on a fun, continuous remix of doughnut flavors—a mix helped along by a keen sense of customer and accurate inventory tracking. And it’s a brand that offers four sweet lessons for quick service restaurants (QSRs).

1. Know Your Customer

You’ve heard the retail maxim “The customer’s always right.” Whether every customer is right 100% of the time or not, one thing’s for sure—the more you connect with your customers, the better you can serve them. The better you serve them, the more repeat business you’re likely to have. And that’s especially true for QSRs. Those small, repeat transactions add up to a major payback over a year. Check out The Parable of the $5.35 Guy as an example.

For Sublime, a big part of knowing customers is understanding that they like to see what they’re ordering as they order it.

“We have two [Clover] Stations and two customer facing Minis. And that’s really good for us because [customers] can see the doughnuts as we put them in,” Kamal explains.

Among its many features, Clover Mini lets customers view their orders as they place them and helps QSRs reduce inventory waste from order mixups.

2. Track Inventory

What does Kamal consider one of toughest parts of running a doughnut shop? “How much to make.”

Many QSRs struggle to figure out how much inventory to keep on-hand, how much product to make, and when to make it.

Kamal stays on top of his inventory and bottom line with Clover Insights. A tracking and inventory app, Insights helps him “get the history and data on which doughnuts sold” to which VIP customers and when. What’s more, Insights is the only tool that offers a view into the competition, how much they’re making, and how many clients they’re serving. It also compares a QSR’s performance against the industry with actionable information, forecasts, and data—data most QSRs don’t have the time or resources to gather. Even better, the Service Plan is free, and Insights Standard is a mere $9.99 a month.

For even more analytics information, take a look these apps:

  • Analytics by Qualia tracks order and payment details, stock values, date and hour trends, payments per employee, customers, tender, categories, items and more, all while generating multi-dimensional analyses. Access this browser-based app on any device, at any time.
  • TruAnalysis provides real-time data about top customers, top-selling products, stock, and more. And it links directly to your POS hardware.
  • Dashboard Business Analytics by Infuse offers metrics to manage your QSR from anywhere on any device with its simple real-time sales reports, insights, and performance analytics. The cost? Only $4.95 per month.

Designed specifically for restaurants, these apps help manage perishables:

  • MarketMan is a cloud-based inventory management and purchasing tool that streamlines procurement, delivery, and accounting for all kinds of food and beverage businesses.
  • Recipe Keeper tracks on-hand stock for various dishes or recipes. Download the app and map your recipes to ingredients. As you sell your goods, the app tracks your stock.
  • Bottle Keeper is perfect for bars, restaurants, salons, or liquor stores. Bottle Keepers helps you determine exactly how much liquid stock you have on-hand.
  • One Click Reorder is ideal for food shops, this app offers a popup order history display that’s handy for upselling and learning your VIP customers’ preferences.

3. Plan for Expenses

Nothing’s worse than getting blindsided by a fridge on the fritz or a surprise tax bill. Restaurateur David Joseph created three apps designed specifically to help restaurants plan for expenses:

  • DAVO Sales Tax automatically collects daily sales tax, holds it securely, files it, and pays it in full on time.
  • Savings Club, an annual savings tool, automatically collects funds each day and returns them to you mid-December for year-end expenses.
  • Sweep and Save pulls a percentage of daily sales out for monthly expenses and gives it back to you on the first day of the next month.

4. Concentrate on Your Core

“We make fun, whimsical, silly doughnuts,” says Kamal. “This is what we always gotta remember first when we’re doing anything: ‘Are we making delicious doughnuts?’ And then everything else follows.”

A common challenge of small businesses, actually all businesses, is not understanding what products bring in the most money. But with the right analytics tools and a little sage advice, QSR owners can know their top sellers, their best customers, and their peak sales times.

“Clover helps us save money and produce less waste,” Kamal says. And that means more time for the important stuff–“creating the next doughnut of your dreams.”

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