How Workday is helping P.F. Chang’s Value Chain

Workday, a leading enterprise organisational platform, has helped P.F. Chang's manages its most important assets and stay on top of its supply chains

First opened in 1993, P.F. Chang's, the China Bistro has 300 locations in 22 countries worldwide. The organisation has over the years identified and addressed a need to streamline its operational processes. In order to do this the restaurant chain has focused on two main strategies: investing in its people and leveraging technology.

How Workday has improved every day

By adopting Workday, a cloud-based solution, P.F. Chang's has been able to unify data across various departments and empower employees with mobile self-service options. This has led to:

Key facts
  • Gain a real-time single view of organizational data across HR, operations, finance, and IT
  • Empower restaurant managers and employees with mobile self-service options
  • Enable more efficient recruiting, onboarding, scheduling, and talent management

Data siloed away

One of P.F. Chang's major frustrations was its struggle with historically siloed data, which is sometimes the case for global companies. It found that information stored in separate, isolated systems or departments within an organisation made it difficult to access, share, or integrate across different parts of the business. Essentially, it's like having data locked away in individual "silos," where each department or system operates independently and may not communicate effectively with others.

This lack of integration can lead to various issues, such as duplication of efforts, inconsistent or incomplete information, inefficiencies in processes, and difficulty in making well-informed decisions based on a comprehensive view of the data.

In P.F. Chang's case, siloed data refers to the challenge the restaurant chain faced in having information scattered across different systems or departments, hindering smooth operations and decision-making. Adopting a unified system like Workday helped them overcome this issue by consolidating data and providing a single source of truth accessible to all relevant stakeholders.

"Workday truly became a one-stop shop for all of our employees within the company," says Lisa Gressel, General Counsel and Chief Human Resources Officer. "Which made for ease of operations within our corporate headquarters, and also facilitated the growth within our restaurants."

Supply chain benefits

Art Kilmer, Chief Operating Officer, spoke on how Workday has sped up the period-close process, allowing restaurants to finish out a period, get results, and provide them to the operators quickly, who can then delve into each category and see what action can be taken to improve the next period.

Art Kilmer, Chief Operating Officer, P.F.Chang's (Credit: Workday)

"My business leaders can adjust, they can make decisions and they can take action involving procurement and my supply chain teams early in the process for corrective courses where they need to," Art adds.

"Workday has helped us get better at avoiding some of the mistakes, pitfalls, and waste in the organisation. Our vendors have seen that we become more accurate in our forecasting and helping them forecast volumes, the more quickly we can process updates to agreements contracts. Everyone benefits from that. Our supply chain group can make us aware like look, imports are being difficult right now we're having challenges with containers."

(Mush)room for financial benefit

The team faced a challenge around imports; the restaurant uses shiitake mushrooms, which are imported. Through Workday, the team could see it was facing challenges with imports. Aware of the team's culinary capacity to adapt, they found a cremini mushroom with the same flavour profile and same texture as the shiitake, resolving these import challenges without impacting food quality.

This led to two benefits as not only could the business shift to a non-import product, it ended up saving the organisation about US$800,000 annually for a small decision like mushrooms that turns into profit dollars in and of itself right there.

Empowering the employee

Harnessing this data allowed frontline employees to open up a new set of opportunities. The Workday app, housing all the information in one, easy-to-access location, enabled servers to manage payslips, set schedule preferences and availability, as well as take part in training and ongoing growth initiatives. By addressing the needs of their employees, the restaurant has passed on a sense of stratification to its staff members.

The use of Workday has also empowered managers at restaurants to handle employee requests, increasing accountability and engagement by creating stronger employee and customer experiences. The app has also through access to real-time data reduced the need for convoluted requests.

"Our goal is to make the life of the restaurant managers more simple so they can make sure guests have the greatest experience possible," adds Lisa.

P.F. Chang's has been utilising Workday scheduling (Credit: Workday)

Staying on top of the forecast

For restaurants, there has always been unpredictability about what's around the corner, with the past few years throwing unprecedented obstacles for them to compete with. Art says: "One of the biggest challenges for restaurant operators is, ‘How do I know exactly what’s going to happen each day within my businesses?’"

With more change always on the horizon, P.F. Chang's has been utilising Workday scheduling to provide reliable demand forecasting and employee schedules.

In the past, team leaders had limited access to information, and were creating schedules without trusted data to make them more informed, such as skills coverage, employee responsibilities, and personal preferences. Not only are businesses at risk of being over or under-staffed, they also face the possibility of a decreased retention rate. Thanks to the automated scheduling suggestions provided by Workday AI, P.F. Chang's has made its restaurant workers a visible priority across the company.

A majority of that positive change has come from machine-learning-based demand forecasting. Not only does the data surfaced have a granular level of detail, but each new forecast builds upon the lessons learned from the previous iteration. “It’s learning while we’re learning,” adds Art.

Whether reacting quickly to specific requirements caused by new events, or freeing up managers to speak to customers on the restaurant floor, AI is behind every major innovation for forecasting.

This approach aligns perfectly with Workday's capabilities, whether it's providing employees with transparent access to data, guiding senior staff decisions, or improving the supply chain. Workday plays a pivotal role in enabling P.F. Chang's to uphold its commitment to talent and excellence.

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