For Ghent-based Bavet – which currently has a collection of 17 spaghetti restaurants and will soon open its 18th location in Oostende – the sky is the limit when it comes to growth. But in a controlled way, please. And it was that desire that caused Bavet to partner up with BrightAnalytics in late 2019.
“We want to gain insights into how all our restaurants are performing,” starts Finance Manager Céline De Paepe. “It’s really important for us to know which are our top locations, and which locations are performing a little less, so we can intervene quickly where necessary. We want to put the various locations side by side, to compare the financial figures. Our accounting package Exact Online didn’t allow us to do that. It shows me one big pile of data, and I have to run tables, select data and so on before I can come to a conclusion. As long as we had a limited number of locations, this worked: we made downloads from the accounting program and prepared an Excel manually via the cost centre. But once you have 17 sites, that’s no longer manageable.”
Bavet was in search of a tool that would no longer require them to operate statically. “We were looking for a solution that could update new info from the accounting software on a daily basis,” says Céline. “The speed of delivery also played a role for us. BrightAnalytics not only proved to be able to connect perfectly with Exact Online, they also managed to deliver within the month.”
Since then, the numbers from our accounting software have been updated every night in BrightAnalytics. Having real-time insight into the numbers, is a huge step forward according to Céline. “On top of that, I can click a button to do a manual transfer of data during the day. For example, when I have just made one or more large or important bookings. Then I immediately see the effect in the reporting. Today, it has become very easy to detect pain points and take super-fast actions.”
Moreover, the fact that an automatic e-mail is sent every evening if a certain mapping is not running correctly, gives her peace of mind that she can rely on the figures. “We are in full growth and are opening a lot of new locations,” she says. “It sometimes happens that we suddenly add an account to our accounting system, but I forget to file it in BrightAnalytics. That email in the evening is an extra security for me.”
The way in which the dashboards are presented and built up is fully personalised according to the needs of the spaghetti specialist. “We were able to fully adapt the structure to our needs. We see several lines with e.g. the food or beverage costand the image is not disrupted by lines that do not apply to us but may apply to other companies. That makes it very easy to work with BrightAnalytics. Because there are only a limited number of filters – company, cost centre, month… – the system works very intuitively.”
The figures are reviewed monthly with the operational management, which has also been given access to BrightAnalytics. Based on that, operations also conducts performance interviews with the restaurants. “From my position, it is convenient that I can follow-up on our junior accountant,” says Céline. “Has she booked the rent or gas and electricity for all locations? That way I can quickly check – for a VAT audit, for example – that the figures are correct and that everything has actually been recorded. I select my location as the cost centre, indicate a particular month, and then all the locations are presented side by side with the various revenues and costs. Or I compare the performance of one location over several months, e.g. to gain insight into maintenance costs.”
Since recently, Céline also uses the possibility of inserting comments in the reporting. “Whenever I go through the figures and see that, for example, the maintenance costs for a certain location are higher than usual, I can find out why and explain that figure in a comment. That way operations can immediately see where the figure comes from. That avoids duplication of research and questions.”
Finally, thanks to BrightAnalytics, Bavet does not have to wait until the month is closed to have an idea of the expected P&L for that month, Céline adds. “Not all invoices are booked at the beginning of a new month, but by combining the booked data in BrightAnalytics with payroll data, for example, we can predict the approximate monthly figures shortly after the end of the month. This allows us to be proactive and very short on the ball.“
Ghent-based Bavet has been around for about six years and in the meantime has built up a collection of 17 spaghetti restaurants in Flanders, Brussels and Liège. Here you can enjoy a so-called “fast casual” of different kinds of spaghetti, all kinds of toppings and unique spaghetti combinations. In times of lockdown, take-out and delivery, Bavet achieved a turnover of no less than 11 million euros, and in 2022 they hope to add a hefty spice to that. They are confident that BrightAnalytics will support them in this full-scale growth.