Josh Boshard, the COO for Savory, leads the Operations & Technology teams for their 10-brand portfolio. Since their first location in 2008, Josh + Savory have amassed a wealth of best practices that he shares openly in this episode.
Josh is a born and bred entrepreneur who was tapped at an early age as a leader by Savory co-founder Andrew Smith. From DevOps, APIs, and HR Tech to building a winning culture for employees – Josh delivers all the goods, and more!
Josh shares some of their “secret sauce” learned through scaling dozens of brands from single to double-digit sites. In the process, Savory developed a Growth Playbook that extends across all functions — prioritizing brand, culture, and business objectives to set up the entire system for long-term success.
Josh expands on the importance of APIs and data ownership, the infrastructure they built in-house, and what they look for in tech partners (spoiler alert: data must be shared).
Companies need to become more data-focused
“That doesn’t mean data is the goal; it is a means and a tool you can use to take operations to the next level. After all, centralized data allows you to detect trends and keep track of the behavior, preferences, needs, and wants of customers and employees. … using technology and partnering with data experts (or bringing them into your team) is a must for the restaurant industry.”
Savory’s Growth Formula: Make Decisions Based on Employee Experience + Owners’ Goals & Values
”When you read the P&L and make decisions based on it, you’re going to make the wrong choices. The thing we did to get to the next level was make decisions based on the culture, the foundation of the brand, what it stood for, and what we were trying to accomplish versus sticking to the prime cost.
Importance of Enterprise Technology Platforms & APIs
“We started applying best-of-breed technology into our platform and making sure the APIs worked and communicated with each other. And when we started doing that, we started seeing so much improvement at the store level, which is the most important level.”
KPIs & How Savory Uses Playbooks to Level Up Different Aspects of the Business
”Our playbooks are made up of benchmarks. So if you start looking at the things that matter most, you start dialing in on the playbook’s risk mitigation and how you can improve your EBITDA. A lot of those benchmarks are built on culture improvement.”
Restaurants Must Stay on Top of Innovations Like AI
”I look at innovation like, ‘What technologies are being used outside the restaurant industry that you could pull into a restaurant?’ And you look at — the most wild thing right now is ChatGPT. Everyone’s talking about this open AI and how it works…. If restaurants aren’t using AI in that way, you may be missing the boat.”
State-of-the-art technology has no value without the right people
Proving that a successful business stands on three pillars: tools, people, and processes.
Stick-to-it-iveness makes things happen
This is the word that Savory uses to describe its brand ethos and culture.