Hungry Lion is a quick service restaurant brand that has found an ideal footing for expansion over the coming years, owing to optimised operations and serving customers with passion. Having opened its first restaurant in South Africa in 1997, the business today operates a network constituting over 300 stores across South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Angola, with over 5 000 employees.
In a space where most businesses in the fast food industry are franchised and owner-managed, Hungry Lion is unique in the African landscape, with almost all stores being fully-owned and managed from their Head Office.
However, managing a business across borders and over vast distances resulted in challenges with scheduling jobs to match the exact times when required, as well as paying for hours worked according to those schedules. In addition, the business lacked the ability to schedule employees, in particular cashiers, in a way that optimises business performance. Rather, random scheduling of cashiers was the norm.
This is where automated systems and use of technology comes to the forefront in managing a business over vast distances and across borders. Hungry Lion now benefits from artificial intelligence, automated system checks, cloud computing and live dashboards – technologies which serve multiple purposes in the way of driving the business forward. Hungry Lion partnered with Altron to implement and integrate UKG Dimensions (formerly known as Workforce Dimensions from Kronos), a workforce management solution, as well as Servios Cashier Scorecard, which helps restaurants use data to improve profitability of their operations.
Dimensions enabled Hungry Lion to transform from an organisation that relied on manual scheduling, clocking and payment system, to a business that is empowered by an integrated system that matches store and hour-specific sales needs with labour. Previously, employees were paid according to hours worked, whether these hours were spent optimally or not. For example, employees could have worked at times when they were not required, while there might be times when employees are needed but not available, resulting in lower customer satisfaction.
“The hours scheduled and clocked used to be checked manually for compliance, and this is now an automated process with auto-scheduling being done at store level and at a 15-minute granularity, saving management four hours per week, per store. This also means that labour efficiency can now be managed at an enterprise level without complex data restructuring, saving time and effort for analysts at the head office and improving productivity,” says Gideon Jacobs, Head of Productivity at Hungry Lion.
“Dimensions enables more effective workforce management by making data available in real-time. Company operations can review what is scheduled and clocked on the go, preventing inefficient rework. Data can be aggregated easily at a regional or country level and over any chosen timeframe. This was not possible without Kronos Workforce Dimensions,” adds Bertus Weyers, Head of Operations at Hungry Lion.
Meanwhile, the deployment of Servios enables Hungry Lion stores to rank their frontline staff based on performance, identify high-volume periods and optimise in-store scheduling. This, combined with Dimension’s auto-scheduling functions means a more profitable cashier schedule can be implemented by simply scheduling the best cashiers at the busiest forecasted times, thereby enhancing sales through speed of service and upselling.
“Servios needs Dimensions for this to happen, and Dimensions needs Servios. Labour nudges are also now possible with this partnership, as regional and head office management can be informed immediately of store clocking mismanagement, and this helps them act on issues, such as late coming or no-shows, quickly and effectively,” says Marc Van Olst, Chief Executive Officer at Servios.
It also makes workforce management simpler for Store Managers, who can now quickly see who is on leave and who is available, as well as whether the set schedules match with sales requirements. Beyond that, schedules can be saved with employees being able to easily view their individual schedules. Employees, for their part, are empowered via a mobile-first platform that provides them with relevant information, such as features to punch in and out, swap shifts, view long-term work schedules for flexible work-life balance, create leave requests and receive important notifications – all in a single screen view, reducing manual, time-consuming administrative tasks so they can focus on value-added activities.
“Employees now have the ability to clock in with ease, while the company benefits from reliable and accurate data. System integration into various other systems used also ensures that clocking and labour data adds value into other areas of the business. In addition, providing our users with self-service options reduces stores’ reliance on the head office and thus lowers the number of calls to the support desk,” says Shalendra Singh, Head of Information Technology at Hungry Lion.
“As a truly innovative and people-first organisation, Hungry Lion will derive immense value from UKG Dimensions. Streamlining everyday tasks for its people and digitally transforming its systems to adapt to the new future of work will keep Hungry Lion among the leading organisations in the South African region,” concludes Martin Bligaunt, Workforce Management Practice Lead at Altron.
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