Kotipizza: For a chain of 300 restaurants, digital self-monitoring is a key piece of business intelligence
Kotipizza is the largest pizza restaurant chain in the Nordic area, consisting of approximately 300 independent franchises. The success of the chain and the entire business concept is founded on uncompromising quality and sustainability. What role does the Chefstein® digital self-monitoring solution play in all this?
Photos: Kotipizza Group
Kotipizza is an institution in the Finnish restaurant industry. Since its launch 35 years ago, the chain has spread across the whole country and now consists of more than 280 franchises.
Kotipizza has a menu of more than 20 pizzas, several of which come with a unique twist. The menu also includes a version of calzone called Kotzone as well as a selection of lattice-top pizzas, hand-stretched pizzas, and dips.
The menu changes at regular intervals, and there is always the option of creating your own Perfetta pizza. Kotipizza has a website where customers can place orders to be collected or delivered from their nearest restaurant, and loyalty points can be used in any Kotipizza restaurant anywhere in the country.
How does a chain this big ensure that every restaurant delivers the same customer experience and that the food is always of the same high standard? One key piece of this puzzle is Fredman’s Chefstein® app.
A strong brand and sophisticated business intelligence
Kotipizza is a strong brand, which makes it an attractive investment for aspiring franchisees. According to Kotipizza Group’s Chief Business Development Officer Janne Reimari, the company also invests heavily in franchisee training and teaches them everything from pizza making to running their business.
Kotipizza wants to be a frontrunner in widespread technological development, and has identified digital services and business intelligence as critical for the chain’s success in the future.
“Business intelligence has been at the top of our agenda for the past five years, and we are well on our way. What we really want is to consolidate all our intelligence and to use combined data to run the entire chain and produce information for our franchisees,” Reimari explains.
Taking the chain to the next level with digital self-monitoring data
All Kotipizza restaurants use the Chefstein® digital self-monitoring and kitchen management app. The chain also subscribed to Fredman’s previous digital self-monitoring system, and continuing the partnership of many years by upgrading to the new, more sophisticated version was a natural step for Kotipizza.
Chefstein® has been integrated into Kotipizza’s digital infrastructure where it contributes to collecting data for the company’s business intelligence repository. Kotipizza hopes to ultimately combine the data generated by the app with other sources of business intelligence and truly optimize the company’s decision-making and business development processes.
A knowledgeable partner like Fredman is indispensable to Kotipizza, and the close relationship between the two companies opens up possibilities for customizing Chefstein® to Kotipizza’s unique needs and specifications.
“Fredman has amassed a wealth of data [about professional kitchens] over the years. Our 300 Kotipizza restaurants are generating valuable intelligence all the time, and we want to get involved in the future development of Chefstein®,” Reimari explains.
Chefstein® guarantees food safety across the entire chain of Kotipizza restaurants
The successful deployment of the Chefstein® system, which initially focuses on digital, automated self-monitoring, was ensured through 1.5 months of comprehensive user training provided by Fredman. There has been little feedback from franchisees, which Reimari sees as proof of Chefstein®’s user-friendliness.
“Our number-one priority [in using Chefstein®] is to ensure food safety. We want to be a responsible business that gets all its ingredients from the same suppliers and produces food that tastes the same in every one of our restaurants. Having the food taste the same also means that it needs to be safe,” Reimari says.
An efficient and intelligent self-monitoring system tracks food safety throughout the food preparation process. Kotipizza uses Chefstein® to collect measurement data from coolers and various critical points of the operation.
Added efficiency from digital self-monitoring
All Kotipizza restaurants have an identical kitchen set-up. This maximizes Chefstein®’s potential in ensuring food safety and improving efficiency in general.
Franchisees can exchange experiences and share best practices for dealing with abnormal readings thanks to comparable data. Kotipizza encourages this kind of interaction between franchisees both regionally and nationally.
“Having a big picture of food safety across the whole of the Kotipizza chain is important. The challenges and problems that franchisees face can be very different. The ability to examine each situation from a wider perspective allows us to spot systemic issues. Problems are rarely caused by an individual restaurant doing something wrong; in most cases, the issue can be traced to something like an ingredient with a short shelf life or a fault in electricity supply in a certain area,” Reimari explains.
Kotipizza’s aim is to increase transparency and efficiency across the entire chain by having every restaurant take measurements in the same way and sharing experiences in order to find solutions that work for everyone. Ultimately the goal is to fix problems before they escalate.
Chefstein® facilitates decision-making and gives franchisees peace of mind
Reimari can see two reasons why Chefstein® is vital for a restaurant chain such as Kotipizza: Firstly, it gives individual franchisees accurate information about the level of food safety in their restaurants. Secondly, it allows regional Sales Managers to keep track of the restaurants in their area.
Sales Managers can use Chefstein® to view functions and tasks that are shared by all Kotipizza franchises. The app also collects information about readings that are outside the centrally set limit values and reports the number of alarms triggered in each restaurant. This makes it easier to get to the root of problems.
“All measurement data help with decision-making. The potential to pool, for example, temperature data from every cooler in every restaurant in the chain and analyze them in context promises to take our business intelligence to a completely new level,” Reimari says.
Sensory measurements will soon be history. “The days of panicking over abnormal readings and not knowing what to do are long gone,” he adds.
Chefstein® brings peace of mind.
Chefstein® automates processes and helps to prevent issues
Kotipizza is a firm believer in the digitalization of professional kitchens and restaurant chains. Although Kotipizza currently only uses Chefstein® for self-monitoring, Reimari is envisioning much wider use of the app in, for example, preventive maintenance of kitchen equipment.
“In an ideal world, our franchisees would know in advance when a kitchen appliance is about to malfunction. The system would notify them when it is time to book a service [for a specific appliance], and it would be up to the franchisee to either do so or ignore the prompt,” he explains.
In other words, Kotipizza hopes to eventually use the readings from appliances to anticipate problems with individual restaurants and across the chain. Automating as much of the measurement protocol and process as possible is also essential. Among other things, automation can help to increase kitchen staff’s work motivation.
“There are more important tasks in the working day than taking measurements and recording them in notebooks,” Reimari concludes.