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Compacted Trash Costs

BY Connie Gentry

Until a recent change in operations, Jack in the Box had a veritable recipe for disaster cooking in its waste-management department. The San Diego-based fast-casual, quick-serve restaurant (QSR) operator was burning money every month on excessive charges and late fees incurred for waste-management at its more than 1,400 corporate locations. In addition to more than 1,300 stores in its namesake hamburger chain, Jack in the Box owns more than 100 restaurants operating under its Qdoba Mexican Grill banner.

The problems arose because Jack in the Box’s corporate accounts payable office, through which all bill processing and payment were centralized, had no visibility into the actual services performed or the contracts established with local vendors. At one time, the corporate office was trying to reconcile 1,372 accounts, but it was impossible to audit all the bills and process payments in a timely manner.

“Since we have more than 1,000 restaurants to manage, it complicated the matter to an unfathomable degree,” explained Rebecca Aoun, energy project manager for Jack in the Box. “Right-sizing your trash program can be a difficult task if you lack the necessary tools to analyze your data.”

Jack in the Box decided to outsource management of the payment processing and audits to Advantage IQ, Spokane, Wash., which already handled cost management for the food retailer’s energy and utility services.

Bills are sent directly to Advantage IQ, where they are evaluated for accuracy and paid in a timely manner. Detailed, line-item data is entered into the system, where Jack in the Box employees view in-depth reports of services and charges.

The partnership has successfully achieved the objectives identified by Jack in the Box, including data collection to support strategic decision-making; identification and resolution of billing errors in a timely manner; a reduction in late fees; and a more environmentally responsible waste-removal program throughout the portfolio.

Jack in the Box has already recorded a number of quantifiable benefits, such as eliminating both service interruptions to its trash removal and late fees. There have also been instances when costly issues were identified at specific locations.

In one case, Jack in the Box was able to recover $560 per month at a single location by replacing an expensive industrial-size 12-yard trash bin with the more economical three-yard bin traditionally used by stores.

Additionally, Jack in the Box stores have optimized waste pick-up services, waiting for trash bins to reach maximum capacity, which allows them to reduce the number of store visits by garbage trucks. The transportation efficiencies not only cut expenses, but also have a positive environmental impact.

Aoun estimated that the company has already saved more than $400,000.

“Our department has become a central resource of information for other groups across the organization,” she stated. “When senior management wants to put in new equipment, build a new location or sell an existing location to a franchisee, they turn to us for information about the [cost] impacts of waste, energy and utilities. Our analysis plays an important role in making the right decisions.”

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Kohl’s, Forever 21 win bid for 46 former Mervyn’s stores

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. Kohl’s and Forever 21 won a joint bid for the leaseholds of 46 former Mervyn’s locations valued at approximately $6.25 million.

Kohl’s will assume 31 of the locations while Forever 21 will assume 15, pending approval by the court overseeing Mervyns bankruptcy proceedings.

“We are pleased with the results of the auction,” said Kevin Mansell, president and ceo for Kohl’s Department Stores. “With over 1,000 stores from coast to coast, these locations provide increased presence in under penetrated markets. We will continue to be opportunistic and prudent in our discussions with the owners of select Mervyns real estate as we continue to position Kohl’s to grow market share.”

In fiscal 2009, the Kohl’s said it continues to expect to open approximately 50 stores, including the majority of the 31 former Mervyns’ locations.

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Bazaarvoice appoints new CFO

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Bazaarvoice, which provides social commerce applications that drive sales, announced that Ken Saunders has joined the company as CFO. Saunders has over 25 years of experience as a senior financial executive at companies including Open Solutions, Peregrine Systems, Fair Isaac Corp. and Arthur Andersen. In his new role at Bazaarvoice, Saunders will guide all aspects of the company’s financial operations, as well as lead the team responsible for day-to-day finance, IT and human operations.

“Bazaarvoice is not only the most innovative social commerce company in the industry, it’s the fastest growing, serving hundreds of major brands worldwide and adding more at a very rapid clip,” said Saunders. “As CFO, I look forward to working with Bazaarvoice’s executive team to drive the company’s growth now and into the future, as they continue to transform the way people interact and shop online.”

“Ken has a wealth of world-class financial experience at both private and public companies, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the executive team as Bazaarvoice continues to cement its market leadership in the social commerce space,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “As more and more retailers worldwide embrace the customer voice as a key brand and marketing tool, Bazaarvoice is poised for rapid growth – and Ken is the perfect person to lead our company’s financial strategy.”

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