Outback Steakhouse2018-10-08T17:28:20+00:00

Retail
CMS, CRM
Thorofare, NJ

Est. 1990

Outback Steakhouse

“Outback Steakhouse International’s Intranet and server update has been a huge success.

Arke designed a fabulous site. We’ve had nothing but good comments from our franchisees.”

Becky Hranek, Controller
Outback Steakhouse International

Goal

Gain a clearer and more immediate picture of actual performance, allowing Outback to make better business decisions.

Outback Steakhouse is an Australian themed steakhouse restaurant, specializing in beef and steak items, while also offering a variety of chicken, seafood and pasta dishes. Outback strives to differentiate themselves by emphasizing consistently high-quality food and service, generous portions at moderate prices, and a casual atmosphere suggestive of the Australian Outback.

Outback Steakhouse International is the global operation of the business, managing restaurants in twenty countries around the globe. Outback has financial transactions occurring in more than a dozen different currencies, and conversion rates for each can change daily.

Challenge

For years, Outback had been using a ColdFusion website and a SQL2000 back end to manage their data. The system required them to manually enter all financial information and corporate communications.

As the business expanded, however, the manual process was proving to be extremely time consuming and laborious for their employees, and gathering financial data from franchisees was very cumbersome and inefficient for corporate.

Reports were built as static sets of data that resulted from processing over 250 SQL stored procedures, so it took over an hour to run each report. Additionally, since the SQL 2000 server was out of date, it was hard to find developers to maintain it for them, resulting in a very poorly maintained system.

Arke was charged with designing a solution to handle financial reporting, ordering, distribution of marketing materials and other administrative work.

Per Outback’s request, the solution had to include:

  • A common interface that would be easy for franchisees to navigate, regardless of their level of computer expertise.
  • Dynamic financial analysis and reporting tools that could deal with numerous time zones, currencies and frequently changing conversion rates.
  • A security hierarchy to protect data from outside interference and regulate internal access.
  • Applications that could handle extremely large files without data corruption or significant delays.
  • The ability for Outback corporate to change content and upload new materials for marketing promotions and other events.

Solution: CRM

Arke recommended the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 system, a web-based application that would integrate with the company’s financial and reporting software to allow international franchise locations to upload and interact with data.

Their server was upgraded to Microsoft SQL 2008 R2 and Arke was able to use all the best functionality of the SQL 2008R2 and Arke was able to use all the best functionality of the SQL 2008 business intelligence (BI) stack. Additionally, Arke implemented Forms Based Authentication (FBA), which allowed Outback to manage their 500 users, without having to manually load them into their headquarters’ Active Directory.

Outback has become much more efficient since Arke helped them launch their new SharePoint 2010 Intranet and SQL 2008 R2 server. Outback was able to move their data reporting from having 250 stored report procedures, to having one data warehouse database, with five analysis cubes for each major reporting category.

With the use of the analysis cubes, which are precalculated data structures in the SQL server that facilitate high performance reporting, Outback can now process a full report in under 1 minute, versus the previous reporting time of 1 hour. It equates to a 6000% reduction in the time it takes to process a report. In terms of maintenance, the systems take less than 4 hours per month to maintain, which they consider a considerable reduction.

Arke’s design team worked to web-enable the existing data warehouse, keeping as much of the familiar structure as possible, while improving the interface and reorganizing the underlying applications.

The solution included:

  • Simpler menu structures to allow easy navigation.
  • Options determined by user ID to avoid unnecessary steps.
  • Ability to update the site in-house with easy-to-use administrative tools.
  • Faster, more efficient means of distributing and exchanging critical business information.
  • More timely and comprehensive reporting on profit and performance.
  • Enhanced security for internal data distribution and for the system as a whole.
  • A security hierarchy to protect data from outside interference and regulate internal access.
  • Applications that could handle extremely large files without data corruption or significant delays.
  • The ability for Outback corporate to change content and upload new materials for marketing promotions and other events

Results

Outback’s financial reporting was revolutionized with their new system, which was built to handle the many currencies that their transactions were occurring in. It was also able to do monetary conversions to US Dollars, which had been a manual process before.

Outback is now able to receive a full Profit and Loss Chart of Accounts (CoA), which allows all data to be in a positive form and rolled as a negative, when applicable. Since Outback is a franchisor, they rely on reports from all of their many locations.

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Franchisees across the world are now enabled to submit monthly and weekly data to corporate, either via direct input or a spreadsheet upload.

Geographical regions can also submit financial spreadsheets with data, which is very effective, as the regions have the ability to populate the spreadsheets directly from their POS (Point of Sale solution), and other internal systems.

The SharePoint site also handles all of Outback’s document management, serving as the main repository for all of their training documents, manuals, training videos, official product.