Saving Time and Money Through Automation with Matthew Hardoon

SPEAKERS

Matthew Hardoon, Zack Oates

Matthew Hardoon (preview)

So that’s what I’ve seen as successful lately menu optimization through consolidation, but through careful analysis, it means that you’re able to hold less inventory, it means that you’re able to prep less products. And it means that you’re able to remove the dogs from your menu.

Zack Oates

(Intro) What’s up? Zack Oates here – author, entrepreneur and customer relationship guru. Welcome to Give an Ovation: growth strategies for restaurants and retailers, where we find industry leaders to share their secrets to grow your business. This podcast is sponsored by Ovation, the actionable guest feedback tool that works on or off premise, and is easy, real-time, and actually drives revenue. Learn more at Ovationup.com.

Welcome to another edition of Give an Ovation! I am joined today by Matt Hardoon, the VP of Sales of MarketMan, he was the Principal and Marketing Manager of Promenade Bar and Grill based in New York City with a career spanning ambulances to restaurants. This guy knows how to triage just about any situation. Matt, thank you for joining us on Give an Ovation.

Matthew Hardoon

Perfect. Thanks so much for having me today, Zack, I really appreciate it. Looking forward to it.

Zack Oates

Now wait, before we jump into anything else. Tell me I just want to hear real quick about the ambulances. Because when I saw that, I was like, am I reading his LinkedIn profile wrong?

Matthew Hardoon

No, you know what it was kind of a non traditional start to my career. It was a family business believe it or not. My father was involved in emergency medical transportation, private ambulance service, working with hospitals, kind of an old school business, nothing to do with hospitality or restaurants or restaurant software.

Zack Oates

Are you kidding me, Matt? That is the original delivery service is your right bringing bodies to hospitals. It’s a different type of hospitality, I guess you could say. But still, speed is important. You need the product to still be warm.

Matthew Hardoon

It’s all about it’s all about efficiency. And yes, you definitely want the product to still be warm.

Zack Oates

This is a really gruesome, weird way to start off. I’m sorry. But I was just such a curious little tidbit as I was going through your LinkedIn. So anyway, had to ask about that. So first of all, tell me a little bit about MarketMan.

Matthew Hardoon

Sure, of course, MarketMan is a SaaS platform for restaurant operators. We’re back office automation system focused on providing inventory management, purchase ordering, recipe control, and advanced analytics designed to help restaurant operators save time and money.

Zack Oates

Got it. So if I am like, if I’m a restaurant, I’ve got one location, or I’m a restaurant, I’ve got, you know, 1000 locations, who do you typically work with?

Matthew Hardoon

Great question about 50% of our client base are those high volume independent mom and pop shops single use single unit businesses onesy twoseys. That being said, we do span up to about 150, 200 locations for our largest restaurant customers. But that meaty middle part is really where we’re focused on, five to 25 locations, the growing multi unit brands.

Zack Oates

Yeah. Now, how do you guys help at all with like labor efficiency? Is one of the benefits of working with you the fact that, you know, do I not have to hire as many people? Is it easier for them to like, get their stuff done? Is it easier just for management to keep track of things?

Matthew Hardoon

Absolutely. All the above. In fact, MarketMan is about saving time, and saving money. And we do that through automation. So all the manual tasks that you’d have to do on a day to day that you might have been doing on a spreadsheet, or in a Google form, or on pen and paper or through a clipboard, like most restaurant operators, you’re gonna be able to do that through the MarketMan mobile app, or on the tablet. So things like walking into your storage units and taking physical inventory accounts, things like submitting purchase orders to your vendors. Gone are the days of having to call one rep on the phone and send another rep a text, go on a website to submit a purchase order you have a one stop shop consolidated in one place, and MarketMan is going to tell you what to order. So it’s all about saving time, saving effort, keeping control and having total transparency over who’s doing what, when and how.

Zack Oates

So like your your favorite customer. What would they how would they explain it to like their spouse of like, Oh, I love market man because of this. Like what’s like your superpower?

Matthew Hardoon

Superpower is spending less time in the back of the house. I won’t sit here and preach to you that inventory is glamorous. Nobody wants to be in their walk in freezer, counting cherry tomatoes.

Zack Oates

Well, maybe maybe at this time of year. You know, in Arizona people would love to be in ther freezer counting cherry tomatoes.

Matthew Hardoon

That’s true. You know what I’m in New York, and it’s an especially humid summer day here. And I wouldn’t mind spending a couple of minutes in the refrigerator if I’m being honest. But why did everyone get into the restaurant business? To have a guest experience to be in the front of house and MarketMan automating your back office tests allows you to do the things that you got into the restaurant business for namely, in the front of the house.

Zack Oates

Yeah, right. It’s, it’s so hard when, you know, you can get a manager, who you have the managers that are really, really good with the guests, the managers that are really, really good with the employees and the managers that are really, really good with the back office. And in my mind, if you are going to automate, and you’re going to have technology, augment, and make sure that they’re not that they’re spending less time in one of those three sectors, man, put that back of the house, right? You don’t want a manger who’s sitting in the back office all day, you want a manager who’s out with the people, right and making sure that that’s working.

Matthew Hardoon

100%! And that’s what you enjoy doing. That’s what people get into the restaurant business for. And not everybody is a numbers person, not everybody wants to be crunching data and an Excel spreadsheet. You want those reports to be automated. You want them at your fingertips, you want to be able to access them from home, and you want to unify previously separate information from your supply chain, through your POS, through your recipe reports, through what you’re counting in your walk in coolers.

Zack Oates

Yeah, so with the the recipe reports, it’s really interesting. So you, you actually are going to enable a restaurant to go through and I’m guessing you’re integrated with point of sales and stuff like that. And that way, I see the menu items that have been ordered. And all of a sudden, it’ll tell me, Hey, you need to order this much food and order less of this to reduce the waste, I’m guessing there’s a lot of that business stuff that you guys are taking care of.

Matthew Hardoon

That’s exactly right. Think of MarketMan as the natural complement and extension of point of sale, we have about 40 different point of sale integrations across the globe. Because we have a footprint of 55 different countries at this point. Platform’s translated in nine different languages, which is great, because we have so many different restaurants. But as it relates to your point about recipe control, all of the menu items that are for sale in the POS come into MarketMan. So let’s say we have a hamburger for sale, it’s $10. Anytime you sell that through the point of sale MarketMan knows what’s in that recipe. So you sell the burger, we’re gonna deplete six ounces of ground beef, two slices of American cheese, 50 grams of lettuce, whatever your proprietary spice blend is. So we’ll constantly be notifying you about what you’re running low on when it’s time to place a new order. And when it’s time, you can go ahead and submit the purchase order right through MarketMan. We’re connected to your vendors. So the delivery will arrive it will replenish what you have in stock. And that’s what a perpetual inventory system is. It’s just the never ending cycle of inventory, depleting what you have in stock based on sales, replenishing what you have in stock based on reordering, and really connecting the front of the house for the POS all the way through the supply chain.

Zack Oates

Yeah, love that. And now obviously, there’s a lot of stuff that I’m sure people can assume you guys do and look at it. But what’s something that maybe you’re working on that people may not know about?

Matthew Hardoon

No, that’s a it’s a really great question. And we’re working on a lot of stuff. There’s a laundry list of details that I can go through. But since we’re talking about this automation piece, and we’re touching on inventory and reordering, I’d like to specifically talk about the dynamic reordering and predictive analysis algorithm that we’re currently working on. Because what I just mentioned to you is a system of inputs and outputs. When that hamburger is sold, we know that you have six ounces less of ground beef and maybe one slice less of American cheese. And once you reach that minimum threshold, it can tell you what to reorder, right based on a par level. That’s your ideal level of inventory. However, you know, July 4 weekend, inventory levels need to be totally different than Christmas week inventory levels and Tuesdays in June, need to be totally different than Friday’s in October. So being able to have a predictive analysis based on historical sales information based on seasonality based on events, based off of what you currently have left in stock and what might be expiring. All of those contributing factors and inputs, is what’s currently being worked on to move from semi automation to full automation.

Zack Oates

I love that. So now you don’t even need to hire someone to do that. So in terms of like, you know, the thing that everyone’s talking about right now is the labor shortage. You know, this is saving your headcount. I think that’s brilliant.

Matthew Hardoon

Absolutely. So that’s really the the end result to be able to either save the headcount save the labor cost, or if you have an employee that’s simply overworked and doing too many things, they’re only 24 hours in a day, you can put them back in the front of the house because they don’t need to be, you know, in the back office, they don’t need to be sitting at a desk. They don’t need to be in that walk in cooler counting and the cherry tomatoes.

Zack Oates

Well and, especially with inventory management nowadays. I mean, I just went to a great conference down in Dallas, all about virtual kitchens and one of the things kept on coming up was chicken wings. Yeah, the fact that there’s a very large chicken wing franchise that ran out of chicken wings down there, there is the price of chicken wings has gone up $4. I was talking to a very large brand down there. And they were saying that they next week, Okay, you ready for this next week, they are starting their Super Bowl, chicken wing search because they need to start doing that now to stockpile and to get everything ready and to make sure they have the right inventory, and just start strategizing of what to do and contingencies. Because Super Bowl chicken wings is going to be outlandish this year.

Matthew Hardoon

So I’m sure I mean, everyone is has been waiting for the first major major event post COVID, and it very well might be Super Bowl Sunday right. So get your chicken wings in order. And you know, using a system like MarketMan, you’ll be able to track all those purchase orders from chicken wings from all the different vendors that you might have been purchasing at different prices on different dates and you want to organize those invoices and you know, MarketMan gives you the transparency and the ability to do that.

Zack Oates

By the way. I know you’re an East Coast guy. Have you ever eaten at Star Tavern in New Jersey?

Matthew Hardoon

I have not.

Zack Oates

They have great bar pizza. They’re like world famous for their bar pizza. But their buffalo wings are like phenomenal. So anyway, this is a total aside, but I –

Matthew Hardoon

Maybe maybe maybe we can go one day for lunch.

Zack Oates

Oh my gosh, I genuinely would fly out there just to have those chicken wings again. I thought they were so yummy. Anyway. Yeah, no, it’s on you, huh Matt?

Matthew Hardoon

100%. You got it? Without question.

Zack Oates

There we go. So one of the things is about, you know, you talked about the guest experience about making sure that your managers are out there the front of the house to have a great experience. And especially nowadays, the the front of house, it entails a lot of different things right? Front of house no longer is within your four walls, it’s within your digital footprint. But what do you think that what’s one of the most important things to remember about guest experience nowadays?

Matthew Hardoon

It’s an interesting question. And I’ll say consistency and uniformity. So the food, the quality, the service, the ingredients, not only does it need to be uniform and consistent across multiple restaurant locations of the same brand. But it needs to be a standard experience that one can come to expect week to week for your repeat customers, right? Especially now when people are returning to their favorite restaurants for the first time in maybe over a year. They have expectations. And those expectations are based on the nostalgia and the memory of the restaurant experiences that they had last year, right. And sometimes we know we tend to inflate our memories a bit. But that’s why having an efficient back of house is so important because back of house will affect front of house. And at the end of the day customer satisfaction. So when we’re talking about consistency and uniformity, there are a number of tools, MarketMan included, that will allow for you to have the same items, the same menus, consistent recipes standardized across all of your locations, and standardized across many weeks or months of the year.

Zack Oates

I think that’s that’s so important. Because I can think of two examples of restaurants I didn’t eat at for a long time. They were, you know, two of my favorite restaurants. And when I went back to both of them, both places had had watered down their, their, one of them watered down their soup, another one had watered down their sauce. And it was like a significant watering down. And anyway, I haven’t been back to either. Because it was like, at this point, there have been so many restaurants and virtual options opening up that I don’t have the time to go back there to see was it it? Was it the fluke or not because I don’t it just was such a bad experience based on something that I was used to that was so good. And again, I understand people taking off items, taking items off the menu. I don’t understand people cheapening the items on the menu, either do it and increase the price, or come on, take it off like,

Matthew Hardoon

Right. And you know, you never get a second chance at a first impression. And it sounds to me like you were at these restaurants before. And you know, you just don’t have a reason to go back even even if you were a customer of theirs for many years. Yeah, it’s really it’s sad to hear unfortunately.

Zack Oates

Yeah. And there’s other restaurants where you know, I had my first impression because there’s a lot more options out there nowadays. And it’s a lot easier. I’m not driving a mile, I’m I’m clicking a button. And so get a chance to try these amazing new restaurants. It’s like well, I rather go back to someplace as a known commodity because they’ve been consistent right. So speaking of which, what are some successful things that you have seen or tried lately?

Matthew Hardoon

So it actually perfectly piggybacks off the last statement that you made, which was about consolidating the menu, removing items, instead of watering down the soup, or watering down the beverage, whatever it might have been. So that’s what I’ve seen as successful lately, menu optimization, through consolidation. But through careful analysis, it means that you’re able to hold less inventory, it means that you’re able to prep less products. And it means that you’re able to remove the dogs from your menu. What do I mean by dogs, I mean, the items that were not selling well, and also not performing well, from a profitability standpoint. So what I’ve seen is, since we’ve transitioned to off premise dining, lots of dishes that were super popular, are no longer as popular, maybe because they don’t travel as well for delivery or maybe because it really, you know, you’re going to have a sit down meal at a restaurant, you want your steak fresh in your plate, you don’t want it in a styrofoam container, brought to you by some Uber Eats guy. But anyway, being able to evaluate reports, like a menu profitability report, or a menu item modify report to see how many of x item have I sold? What is the profitability relative to x item? And how has that fluctuated based on the rising cost of my inventory products? The end result is an educated decision based off of these business insights that helps you consolidate your menu not just based on cost, but based on what people are ordering, what’s performing well, and how you can be the most efficient and profitable.

Zack Oates

Yeah, I love that because there’s so many things. I just had Phyllis Williams-Strawder on the podcast and she was talking about how we can’t get so emotional about the menu items how we have to be logical, and we have to be able to attract the right people at the right times. And sometimes that means slimming down the menu. A lot of people did it during the pandemic and they are a better restaurant for it. Don’t be afraid to do that. I love that Matt. So lastly, who deserves an Ovation? Who should we have on the podcast?

Matthew Hardoon

Oh, gosh, you know who? Desi Saran from Sweetberry Bowls. Sweet Berry Bowls is a healthy, fast casual concept based out of New Jersey. Desi is their founder, MarketMan customer. He is the king of pivoting. In the midst of the pandemic, he made the biggest pivot I’ve seen in the restaurant industry. He partnered with one 800 flowers now, this is super creative. He essentially became a ghost kitchen for manufacturing and delivering flower delivery orders. Their sales were down unfortunately 50% just like everyone’s I guess. And the partnership to quote him added about another 50% on top of what they were able to do to make up for all the lost retail sales. And he is not afraid to take a step in a positive direction he tests and experiments with different technology. Whether it’s email promotions, texting promotions, online chat bots, QR codes before they were cool. So definitely get definitely get Desi on the podcast.

Zack Oates

Okay, Desi, we’re coming for you. So Matt, how do people find you follow you and also talk to us about your guys’s podcast.

Matthew Hardoon

The Resilient Restaurant podcast. You know, if you want to hear someone like Desi, I have a conversation with maybe someone like me. The resilient restaurant podcast focuses on those stories of restaurateurs and industry experts at they’re going to share these actionable tips, these insights, different inspirational stories and anecdotes from real world experiences that that they had in their restaurants. So certainly tune into the resilient restaurant podcast. Otherwise, you can find us online marketman.com. Feel free to request a product demonstration. More than happy to have a one on one consult with anybody that’s interested in lowering their food costs, figuring out how to automate their back office or really just want to have a chat about the industry.

Zack Oates

Awesome. Well, Matt for taking something like industry management, which is something oh so unsexy, and making it look oh, so good. Today’s Ovation goes to you. Thank you so much for joining us on Give an Ovation.

Matthew Hardoon

Thanks, Zack. Have a great day.

Zack Oates

(Outro) Glad you were with us today. And thank you! Thank you to the risk takers, the troublemakers, the crazies who are keeping this world clothed and fed. You’re the ones who deserve an Ovation. Again, this podcast was sponsored by Ovation! To see how we can help you grow your business, go to Ovationup.com. Don’t forget to subscribe, and as always, remember to give someone in your life an Ovation today!

Find out how automating back-of-house can give you more time with your customers from the VP of Sales at MarketMan, Matthew Hardoon.

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MarketMan is here to save the day! Matt Hardoon is the VP of Sales at MarketMan, a SaaS platform for restaurant operators that provides inventory management, purchase ordering, recipe control, and advanced analytics all as part of a back of house solution. Matt is also the former Principal and Market Manager of Promenade Bar and Grill in New York City.

Here’s our main takeaway from this episode and Matts’ answers to the questions Zack asks each guest:

Featured Takeaway: Spend More Time Doing What You Got Into The Business For

Many managers who get into the restaurant business don’t want to spend their time crunching numbers, counting cherry tomatoes in their freezer, and doing a myriad of other tasks with their clipboard or Excel spreadsheet each day. MarketMan automates all of this and more and allows managers to spend time in the front of house with customers – where they want to be.

1: What is the most important aspect of the guest experience today?

Consistency and uniformity. “Especially now when people are returning to their favorite restaurants for the first time in maybe over a year. They have expectations.”

2: What is something successful you have seen or tried lately?

Menu optimization and consolidation through careful analysis. “It means that you’re able to hold less inventory, it means that you’re able to prep less products, and it means that you’re able to remove the dogs from your menu. What do I mean by dogs? I mean the items that were not selling well, and also not performing well from a profitability standpoint.”

3: Who is someone in the restaurant industry that deserves an Ovation?

Desi Saran, founder of Sweetberry Bowls. “He is the king of pivoting. In the midst of the pandemic, he made the biggest pivot I’ve seen in the restaurant industry.”

For more from Matt you can visit marketman.com, or check out The Resilient Restaurant Podcast.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole episode, as well as other interviews with restaurant gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation: A Podcast For Restaurants” on ovationup.com/podcast or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.

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