POS on a Roll: Charleys Case Study


How does a casual dining brand guarantee a great guest experience consistently, while maintaining a growth rate to establish 1000 units? 

In 2015, Charleys had the hallmarks of an organization that had organically grown from a single unit to several hundred units over the course of 30 years. Charleys’ technology was a bit out of date with disjointed systems across its ecosystem. They lacked online ordering, mobile ordering, digital consumer engagement, and enterprise back of house systems. They used an Excel sheet for back of house solutions and multiple POS systems, which all lacked enterprise features and functionality.

“POS is the lynchpin of a restaurant systems technology,” said Matthew Son, Charley’s VP of Information Systems. “We vetted dozens of the best of breed, as well as up and coming systems. We developed a requirements matrix to methodically evaluate our POS options and narrowed our list to three vendors.”

The selection committee did not elect PAR Brink POS Software as the first choice. In performing due diligence and prototyping the first choice, the Charleys team quickly discovered that the other vendor could not deliver many of the promised features. They lacked the stability and strength Charleys required.

Delighted to find that Brink could implement the menu of a sister brand in under 2 weeks and at less than 5% of the implementation cost of the first choice vendor, Charleys methodically rolled out the PAR Brink implementation.

They refined the POS flows and screens, and discovered a 60% performance improvement over the existing POS. (To test robustness, Charleys had multiple users of varying experience enter the same set of 25 orders of varying complexity on Brink and on the previous POS and timed to the nearest second).

Charleys prototyped the Brink solution in a single corporate store before proceeding to all corporate stores. They refined installation and support processes with Brink to support the, occasionally, technically challenged ecosystem. Finally, they implemented the Brink solution with their best franchisees to refine the processes.

According to Son, an analysis of a multi-unit franchisee who had similar stores in the same region, revealed a 60% theoretical throughput translated into 10-15% increase in comp sales under real world conditions. They attributed this benefit to the conversational ordering, refined screens, and streamlined order process co-developed with Brink, yielding higher throughput during the busiest times. They did not experience this benefit at locations where there were exceptional operational issues or market conditions.

In observing the increase in throughput in converted stores versus non-converted stores, Charleys mandated the conversion to Brink across the whole system.

“There are currently over 200 Charleys locations using Brink and the brand will be fully deployed by the end of 2019.” Son added, “The adoption of Brink has also allowed us to standardize the technology in our stores, as well as start our path to profitable online ordering, mobile ordering, digital consumer engagement, and back of house enterprise systems.”

Son says Brink has been an outstanding partner in helping Charleys modernize:
• Supporting their sister brand, Bibibop, which has a completely different order flow than Charleys.
• Significantly improving throughput in Bibibop and Charleys stores.
• Managing the complex auto-comboing and overall menu.
• Incredibly cooperative executive leadership and support in helping the Charleys and Bibibop brands succeed.

“Charleys is well on its way to 1000 units,” said Son, “and Brink has been an exceptional partner in helping us achieve our goals.”

About Charleys

CEO Charley Shin opened his first opened his first restaurant near The Ohio State University campus in 1986. With the support of his mother, Charleys Steakery became an instant hit with college students. In 1991, Charleys started franchising with like-minded partners to share the Philly Cheesesteak love.
In 2002, Charley’s Steakery became Charley’s Grilled Subs, putting emphasis on our “grilled-fresh-in-frontof-you” transparency. In 2012, all domestic locations became branded as Charleys Philly Steaks.
With nearly 600 locations in 46 states and in 17 countries, Charleys can be found in retail shopping centers, airports, strip centers, and Army & Air Force bases worldwide.

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