Client: Schiff's Restaurant Service
For over 40 years, Schiff’s Restaurant Service, Inc., also trading as Schiff’s Cash and Carry (Schiff’s) has been serving restaurants, hotels, and educational institutions in northeastern
“We offer the best of both worlds—a convenient cash and carry store plus a large wholesale operation,” explains Harry Jadick, controller at Schiff’s. “We deliver orders for our larger customers, but if they need something right away, they can come directly to our store.”
Food Decision Software Inc. developed a powerful integrated food distribution software solution, WinFDS, entirely in ProvideX. Today Schiff’s relies on WinFDS to manage all aspects of its business operations—but things weren’t always so easy.
Separate Software Led to Problems
Schiff’s diverse business model required two completely separate business software systems: a point-of-sale system for the store, and a traditional accounting and distribution system for the warehouse. Problems arose when wholesale customers wanted to pick something up from the store and charge it to their account. “We didn’t have automated access to credit limit or customer pricing information from their wholesale accounts. We just weren’t able to present a cohesive image to our customers,” recalls Jadick.
Producing monthly financial statements required staff to re-key posted entries from the point-of-sale software into the accounting software. The separate systems also led to difficulties managing the company’s inventory. “We never knew exactly what we had on hand, since both retail and wholesale orders were filled from the same warehouse,” says Jadick. “We had to perform daily spot counts, and frequent physical counts which was expensive and time consuming.”
WinFDS and ProvideX Are the Right Solutions
Schiff’s management team knew they needed an integrated solution, capable of providing real-time inventory availability, integrated point-of-sale capabilities, and comprehensive distribution functionality. An independent consultant was hired, and after researching available options, recommended the firm of Food Decision Software Inc., and their product WinFDS.
“Food Decision Software specializes in solutions for our industry, and after analyzing our operations, they assured us that they could tailor their software to meet our exact needs,” says Jadick. “ProvideX is our development tool of choice,” says Victor Attard, President for Food Decision Software. “It’s flexible enough to allow us to meet most customers’ needs through configuration and added controls, rather than writing custom code. As a result, development costs are kept low and upgrades to new versions are straightforward and painless.” Attard says another attribute of ProvideX, its native database, lowers the overall cost of ownership for the firm’s clients.
Food Decision Software implemented its WinFDS solution for Schiff’s, configuring the system as a true end-to-end business management solution for the company. Food Decision Software worked directly with Schiff’s point-of-sale software provider to transfer the data seamlessly between the two systems.
Boost Customer Service
The integration of retail and wholesale operations is delivering big rewards for Schiff’s. “When a customer calls, we know exactly what we’ve got in stock and don’t overpromise,” says William Carson, wholesale food service manager at Schiff’s. “And when a wholesale customer visits our store, we’re able to provide them with the same great experience—and pricing—they receive from our wholesale department.”
The tight integration between WinFDS and the point-of-sale software also means that register staff is warned when a customer is over their credit limit or on credit hold.
Make Better Buying Decisions
In addition to improved customer service, the tight inventory control provided by WinFDS gives Schiff’s better visibility into its purchasing process. “We’re now able to track how much we’re buying of each item from each supplier,” explains Jadick. “And that information allows us to negotiate better deals. We simply didn’t have this data before.”
Jadick says the company’s buyers are able to make more informed and strategic buying decisions based on the information WinFDS provides. With space at a premium, buyers are able to ensure adequate supplies of top sellers without overstocking.
Earn Fans Company Wide
Schiff’s customer service staff loves WinFDS for its timesaving features. Based on past purchase history, a suggested order is assembled and faxed to customers who can simply fill in the blanks and fax the order back. “Customers appreciate that we remember what they usually order, and they’re less likely to forget an important item,” adds
WinFDS produces a master picking ticket for each truck, combining like items from all the orders being processed. “That bit of efficiency saves us between five and ten labor hours every week,” notes Jadick.
With access to margin analysis reports by department, Management can evaluate how the meat department is doing in comparison to the bakery, for example, and make strategic decisions regarding the business.
“I’d make the same choice again without hesitation,” concludes Mark Reese, president of Schiff’s. “ProvideX and Food Decision Software made this project a success.