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Compliance checks are a necessary part of any business operation, but they can be costly and time-consuming. From scheduling visits to traveling to different locations, the process can quickly become overwhelming - especially for businesses with multiple locations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, as it became complicated for businesses to physically visit their locations for compliance checks. This has left many companies scrambling to find new ways to ensure their operations are up to par.
Making store visits really count and avoiding visits for tasks that can be achieved in other ways is one way to cut down on time and costs. At the same time, franchisees hated auditors showing up unannounced and often during busy times to conduct audits - they saw this as unfair. The Cheesecake Shop, a popular dessert chain in Australia and New Zealand, was struggling with these very issues.
An established brand for over thirty years, The Cheesecake Shop aims to be a brand that's driven by consistent product quality and presentation standards. Constant rejuvenation and innovation makes this even more challenging. But this becomes difficult when compliance checks become a costly bottleneck.
The Cheesecake Shop partnered with Op Central in order to manage their compliance tasks more efficiently. By using Op Central's platform, they've been able to schedule and confirm visits with ease, as well as track progress and compliance across all their locations. This has helped them to improve their business operations and better achieve their long-term vision.
Providers like Op Central are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a more efficient and effective way to manage compliance tasks. For businesses like The Cheesecake Shop, this is essential in order to remain competitive and keep up with the demands of the market.
Ken Rosebery, managing director of The Cheesecake Shop said that Op Central's auditing module and application has revolutionised the way The Cheesecake Shop's compliance team operates, improving consistency of audits, franchisee satisfaction and significantly reducing field team labour costs.
Using Op Central, it's now possible for The Cheesecake Shop to conduct a 'desktop audit' of their sites without having to physically visit them. For example, they use Op Central to conduct remote audits of their stores, where franchisees upload photos of up to ten items within the store and are provided with examples of what these photos should look like. The Cheesecake Shop launches each audit every Monday, giving the store until Thursday to complete it. They run a 5-week round of audits, with each audit within the 5-week round being different.
"For example, the first week’s audit might be focused on front-of-house, the second week might be on a specific product or category, the third week would focus on back-of-house cleanliness and refrigeration and so on. We generally repeat the 5-week set again but will swap out one audit from time to time for a ‘wild-card’ audit," he said.
A wild-card audit can be anything from a customer service audit to a specific product or category audit. "Last month our franchisees had to show us a refrigeration service report to demonstrate they had completed their 6-monthly servicing," said Rosebery.
Rosebery went on to say that, “We agreed with our franchisees, that the best people to do an audit is the franchisee themselves and that’s exactly what we have done with the Op Central auditing application. It’s a game changer.”
Using a traffic light system, the Op Central app allows The Cheesecake Shop to quickly and easily identify which stores need improvement. Stores that score a red are given a chance to improve in the next round of audits, but if they fail twice with two consecutive reds, they face a surprise face-to-face compliance audit.
"The app has given us visibility on a much broader range of issues and helped us to improve compliance auditing. There is now a rich history of compliance auditing, beautifully stored, searchable, and able to be graphically presented, now available to us," he added.
The Cheesecake Shop recently developed a widget for their intranet dashboard that links through to the Op Central API. This allows them to display the traffic lights on the franchisee's dashboard, making it easy for franchisees to see which areas they need to improve on.
"Our franchisees are satisfied and see the system as being fair, predictable and reasonable. When we see ‘green’ audit results – we can see that our franchisees know how to comply. We have reduced the number of store visits and saved money and can now focus the store visits that we do undertake on genuine areas of needs," Rosebery said.
"I believe that the right compliance tools, used in the right way can go a long way to assist in driving and maintaining culture within an organisation. The compliance function is often seen as the ‘police’ but I see it more as being the ‘coach’. We are here to help our franchisees run great stores that our customers love to visit," Rosebery concluded.
To learn more about how Op Central can help you with your business operations, schedule a live demo today.