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Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill Cooks Up Improved Enterprise Performance with Business Objects

  • July 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWER: Paul Nishiyama, director of IT for Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill.

BACKGROUND: Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill is the flavor leader in the high-quality, fast-casual Mexican grill restaurant segment. Bold, distinctive, savory Baja-inspired seasonings are the hallmark of the Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill palette. Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, Rubio's operates, licenses or franchises 150 restaurants in California, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

PLATFORMS: Compaq DL380, Dual 1 GHz, 1GB RAM, RAID 5.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to implementing BusinessObjects, our executives had to depend heavily on the IT department for analytical reports and data files. Remote managers had no efficient channel for sharing information. Our reporting framework was unable to support complex analysis or scale to handle growing data volumes. Though our restaurant managers received reports with information on sales, purchasing and operational performance, all the reports were based on data from the prior week's activities.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Rubio's needs to access information from multiple enterprise systems for better insight and analysis. We combine transactional data from our Radiant Systems back-office solution, which handles point-of-sale (POS) data among other food service operations, with financial and budgeting data from our Great Plains packaged application (now part of Microsoft Business Solutions). All this information is loaded into our data warehouse. BusinessObjects Enterprise 6 provides the access we need to the standard relational data for reporting. We also use the OLAP analysis capabilities of BusinessObjects to analyze information from Microsoft Analysis Services, which enables us to perform more sophisticated analyses. Enterprise 6 provides us instant access to Web-based financial and operational reports. The reports are always available online, and the data is updated every 24 hours in Rubio's data warehouse. Enterprise 6 enables us to more closely monitor and control the costs that impact profitability, and we are able to track, understand and manage our enterprise-wide business performance based on these key cost metrics. We can assess the effectiveness of menu changes and the impact of various restaurant promotions on new patrons as well as regular guests. By detecting trends even earlier, our managers in the accounting, finance, marketing and operations departments can make changes to improve customer satisfaction, sales and margins. Restaurant managers can view summary data and then drill down for specific insights pertaining to their restaurant. If they are spreadsheet power users, they can even export richly formatted BusinessObjects reports to Excel.

STRENGTHS: The greatest strength of BusinessObjects is the ease with which we can present executives and managers with a company-wide view of business performance on a daily basis. BusinessObjects has eliminated static reports and offers Web access to drill-down capabilities, facilitating much smarter business decisions.

WEAKNESSES: Though much improved over previous versions, the report scheduling engine is not as advanced as we would like. We would like to see more customizable scheduling capabilities and the ability to push information to our users.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Business Objects was selected over a number of other competing BI vendors, including Cognos, MicroStrategy and Hyperion. Business Objects was selected because of its ease of use and ability to give executives one version of the truth.

DELIVERABLES: BusinessObjects Enterprise 6 provides instant access to Web-based financial and operational reports. Through a user-friendly interface, executives and managers are able to view summary data and drill down for specific insights pertaining to company-wide performance or specific restaurants. The OLAP analysis capabilities of BusinessObjects have enabled us to create more sophisticated reports leading to smarter business decisions.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Business Objects and CBH Consultants understood our requirements. They brought the right blend of technical innovation, business acumen and project management skills to help us create a great BI solution.

DOCUMENTATION: Business Objects provided us with a great deal of documentation packed with in-depth technical information, business examples and advice on troubleshooting and best practices. We were able to sort through the information to find solutions to concrete business problems and get the most out of our business intelligence investment. The documentation was easy to understand and access. We could go online, have a CD shipped or access online help systems or multimedia. We can successfully run our product using the documentation provided by Business Objects.

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