Private equity can be a tough business. So is the restaurant industry. Imagine combining the two.
A private equity firm first and foremost must have wealth. And it must be adept at conserving and building that wealth. Those are the main criteria for success. As for running a restaurant, the margins can be thin. This is why, for any restaurant, among the most time-consuming activities (and greatest operational costs) are those associated with employing people effectively and compliantly. Scheduling is a big one here. Putting together employees’ hours is another. With non-exempt staff’s fluctuating hours and toggling between workweeks considered part-time and full-time under the law, benefits administration can be a big challenge, too.
At a restaurant, these operational costs have a way of easily getting out of hand, amplifying typical challenges for investors in this space. One of the main ways PE firms maximize the value of their investments is by keeping an eagle eye on the operational costs incurred to minimize them wherever possible as a way of showing and growing financial value.
When Harri Met Savory Fund
3Sixty Insights has spoken with many customers of Harri, provider of artificial intelligence–bolstered cloud software to manage the employment of front-line staff in industries where the challenges of doing so are especially intense (e.g., hotel and leisure, restaurants). Beyond their high level of satisfaction with the solution itself, many go out of their way to point out that Harri CEO Luke Fryer is hands-on, an exceptional direct advocate for the vendor. And it’s readily apparent that he plays the long game.
For example, take Savory Fund, a private equity firm. Josh Boshard, chief operating officer, met Fryer in 2017. In the intervening years, and since officially deploying Harri, he has worked directly with Fryer to influence Harri’s toolset to include the functions that Savory Fund needs for its restaurants. Boshard describes Luke and the Harri team as “hands-on and very engaging. They listen to understand what Harri’s current and potential customers want and need.”
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