HB Brands opened its first Canton restaurant in 1991 and has since witnessed rapid growth across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). For more than 30 years, the company has been operating and leading distinctive brands in the F&B industry like Sizzler House, Canton, Tako Hut, Roma Way, Shawirmarito, and Pasta Fiesta. The company also recently partnered with Coffee Planet, a leading specialty Arabica coffee roaster from UAE, to open 70 outlets across KSA.
Today, HB Brands welcomes guests in more than 120 stores across KSA. The company's mission is to provide every guest an exceptional dining experience when visiting their restaurants.
To serve an even larger segment of customers, HB Brands has started using their kitchen facilities to run multiple virtual brands, or restaurants that serve food for delivery orders only.
Before moving to LS Central, HB Brands used a previous version of the LS Retail software solution. As they expanded, the company began to experience some challenges in terms of data replication and costing. Sales postings were slower, and the management was not getting the results they wanted. “We also had limited control over levels of security and workflows,” says Syed Mudassir Ahmed, Group IT Director at Hospitality Board Holding Co. The company realized they needed to upgrade to a newer version of the software.
They compared the portfolios of several partners from KSA, UAE, and India, but none understood the specificities of today’s hospitality industry like Novasoft did. This gave HB Brands the confidence that they had found the right partner to help their company continue to scale. “Novasoft guided us in the right direction and demonstrated a depth of understanding that we didn’t find with other partners,” says Mr. Syed.
HB Brands moved to LS Central for restaurants, based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. In just a few months, and despite complex customizations, Novasoft managed to migrate successfully to LS Central in all locations. “HB Brands took time to evaluate the right partner, but after that they fully trusted us,” says Amit Sobti, Sales and Strategy Director at Novasoft. “Their vision and engagement kept the whole project going,” adds Vishwanath Ramachandraiah, Consulting Director at Novasoft.
Some of the functionality HB Brands is using includes:
- Mobile ordering – The mobile POS functionality enables HB Brands to give their guests fast and effective table service. The waiters can send the orders to the kitchen and monitor the status of each order from there.
- Planning and replenishment – HB Brands have defined reorder levels for every branch. At the end of the day, every store can see which products are running low on stock and let the system suggest what they need for the next three days. “Instead of entering 50 items manually, they only have to run 5 to 10 iterations, and that's it,” says Mr. Syed. “They save the requisition worksheet, and the very next day, the warehouse will have access to the same worksheet and convert it into a transfer order in one click.”
- Table management – HB Brands can easily track the number of guests and orders for each table, and handle bill-splitting in their casual dining restaurants.
- Offers and promotions – HB Brands generates coupons for banks, financial institutions, and government institutions, that they can distribute to their customers. “The coupons get immediately redeemed online through API call,” says Mr. Syed. HB Brands also uses the system to run multi-buy offers.
- Kitchen Display System (KDS) – The KDS has given the staff at HB Brands great visibility: each section can see when each process is finished. It enables the company to prioritize orders, thus making sure the food is always served at the right time. “It is amazing how it has increased our service time and overall operational efficiencies,” says Mr. Syed.
HB Brands began enjoying the benefits of their new solution immediately, including:
- Fast and effective customer service. Information flows smoothly and efficiently within the restaurants.
- Effective inventory and recipe management across locations.
- Improved processes and increased efficiency. The company can now post sales faster and replicate data on time. “We were able to close our Profit and Loss statement in record time,” says Mr. Syed. “Now sales replication happens consistently every three hours without any human interface.”
- Powerful reporting and analyzing tools. Before the company moved to LS Central, the team at HB Brands used to complain about lack of visibility. “I feel more confident now than before,” says Mr. Syed. “All data is in Power BI, it’s easy for operations and for the top management to deep dive into the data and take action.”
- Better decision making. In the past, the company used to have thousands of cancelled or failed orders, which represented around 3% of their business. “By getting insights on a daily basis, we can now identify problems that branches are facing in terms of failed orders,” says Mr. Syed. “We managed to reduce this number significantly.”
HB Brands and Novasoft are already working on the next step, which is to launch their mobile app and integrate LS Central with the different delivery service providers (DSPs), or aggregators. When we talked to Mr. Syed, he shared with us that 30 to 40% of the orders in KSA are coming through DSPs like Hunger Station, Jahez or ToYou. It has become equally important for food businesses to run their own app and integrate with these platforms.
HB Brands also looks forward to implementing the customer-facing display, to let customers know when their order is ready for pick up. “There is always room for improvement, but I feel that HB Brands has the right platform to try new things, do more integrations, implement some new displays or a mobile app,” says Amit Sobti, Director at Novasoft. “This is the key deliverable of the project.”