Developing custom POS reports to support innovation: Amaka x Cobb & Co. Case study

Cobb & Co. is a New Zealand’s original family restaurant. 10 years ago, the brand’s look-and-feel was modernised and the operational systems were overhauled to become world-class and set people up for a career in hospitality. The digital transformation didn’t end there, though. Amaka helped to introduce custom POS reports.

The restaurant chain has also developed its own innovative bonus system, which is based on real-time sales data. In order to make it all work, though, there was a need for a custom reporting system that would extract sales results from their POS, display them in Google Sheets, and keep the data updated at all times.

Such an innovative system wasn’t easy to implement – but, since custom POS reporting is one of our specialities, Amaka was able to help Cobb & Co. to fully use a data-driven approach to lead the business.

Staying ahead of the competition in the hospitality industry

“The experience of dining with friends has been a human pastime since the dawn of time, because it has always brought people and communities closer together.”– says Alex Gower from Tech & Innovation Department at Cobb & Co.

In fact, bringing people together is the most important role that the hospitality industry has to play for the modern city landscape.

As customer expectations grow, though, it becomes more and more difficult to meet them. That’s precisely why modern restaurants have to keep evolving. Cobb & Co., as an example, send their team members to various trade shows, food festivals and events which they can draw inspiration from. This also applies to POS and other systems they can take advantage of to stay ahead of the competition.

Leveraging innovative software & system integration

Still, staying ahead of the competition is not the only reason behind the use of tech-advanced tools.

According to Alex, a traditional restaurant model resembles the following: 30% Wages – 30% Food & Beverages – 30% Overheads – 10% Profit, which basically means 60% of the business model is made up of variable costs which are innately difficult to control.

To actually have any control at all, every single store owner needs to be highly involved with the operations of the business, and use at least three tools:

  • Excellent Point of Sale (POS) software for sales.
  • Basic Rostering software for controlling wages/labour.
  • Basic Inventory software for controlling cogs.
  • There’s no doubt that every hospitality business needs an excellent POS. At the very least, it combines all individual purchases into total daily sales and then larger weekly or monthly revenues. This, in turn, lets you access reliable sales data that should drive your concept & menu strategy, among other things.

    For some reason, though, the ever-present owner is often pretty poor at intuitively identifying best sellers and promotion effectiveness.

    As Alex points out: “Gut-feeling is often misleading or just straight up wrong with sales insight, however, it does work for labour and inventory. Basically, it’s easy to tell when you’re over/understaffed and when you’re wasting too much food or beverages”. As a result, the owner requires only the most basic of inventory & rostering systems for the purpose of measurement, rather than control.

    For a multi-location store operator, it’s much harder. “You need excellent rostering and inventory systems that allow you to flick between and compare establishments remotely,” says Alex. Without it, even the best managers struggle to keep abreast of the various issues affecting stores.

    Therefore, once the organisation grows in size, the next tier of systems the owner should start looking at are:

  • Social review monitoring and responses (e.g. ReviewTracker).
  • Executive teamwork management software (e.g. Asana).
  • Bonus system.
  • Speaking of bonus systems – getting staff to become more productive should be a top priority from the very beginning. As already mentioned, they control 60% of the business model – and multi-unit owners are not there to motivate and engage the team every day. The only issue with bonus systems, though, is that there are not that many ready-made solutions that could be tailored to one’s needs. That’s why Cobb & Co. decided to build such software themselves.

    Using an innovative bonus system

    Needless to say, the team at Cobb & Co. uses a lot of other software as well. Consequently, they have an excellent range of data available from various systems, which are then used to measure KPI’s that they bonus on. In this case, taking advantage of custom POS reporting and relevant data automated into Google Sheets has become a real game-changer.

    To start with, there are different KPIs and targets that all team members can hit, depending on their job position:

    • Labour (kitchen | front of house | overall targets ~30%).
    • Wastage (Food | Bev | Consumables targets ~30%).
    • Reviews (target = Average 4+).
    • Average Wait time (food | Bev targets ~ 25|5mins).
    • Compliance Reporting (target = 100%).
    • Balance the till (target = $0 missing cash).
    • Drinks/Guest (target = more than 1.2 drinks per guest).

    Then, there are two screens that the team at Cobb & Co. has set up in-store: Cobb Ladder, which updates weekly, and Scoreboard – being updated on an hourly basis. This is where the magic happens: the sales results are basically displayed in real-time, which makes it clear for the whole team where they stand in terms of bonuses.

    bonus system Cobb

    How is this possible? Thanks to the integration developed by Amaka, the data is seamlessly retrieved from the POS system, exported to Google Sheets automatically, and then updated every hour. The integration syncs sales data, such as total product sales (split between gross and net sales), discounts, surcharges, refunds, and payment types, just to name a few. Additionally, Amaka synchronises product data based on their SKUs: quantity and amount. All that to deliver comprehensive data and serve a modern, data-driven business.

    Thanks to such an innovative bonus scheme, the management at Cobb & Co. displays relevant, live data to staff to prompt an ongoing conversation at all levels of the business. They have even created a game based on true indicators of sustainable business profits, which the staff are involved in to earn up to +$8/hr on shifts.

    The result? A motivated and productive staff that has a real impact on the business, and a brand new digital strategy that takes operations & reporting to the next level. All thanks to the custom POS reporting and Google Sheets integration delivered by Amaka.

    Taking reporting to the next level

    Bonus system used by Cobb & Co is only one example of the results that can be achieved with custom POS reports. Since every POS is collecting plenty of valuable information, it can help a hospitality business owner immensely – not only to evaluate the performance of the employees but also keep track of inventory and budget. For some reason, though, POS data is still overlooked.

    Don’t make the same mistake – analyse the available POS data to improve your operations. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, an accountant or a bookkeeper: custom POS reporting can be very flexible, and valuable for everyone involved in the hospitality industry. In fact, if you want your business to stay competitive, sooner or later the data-driven approach is going to be necessary.

    Choose innovation yourself

    Staying ahead of the competition in the hospitality industry can be challenging. With the right tools and expertise, however, it gets much easier. Start keeping an eye on the overall performance of your business with POS reporting, analyse available data, and make informed, data-driven decisions whenever you see any areas for improvement. If you’re looking for the best way to connect your systems, synchronise all your data and create custom reports, though, let us help you.