CASE STUDY: Z`TEJAS SOUTHWESTERN GRILL Automated
CASE STUDY: Z’TEJAS SOUTHWESTERN GRILL
Automated Processes for Maximum F&B Profitability
In 1989, the first Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill was born in an old
Victorian house on Austin’s historic 6th Street. The menu, largely
influenced by the South, signifies the bold and robust flavors of
Arizona, California, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas. Today,
Z’Tejas has 10 restaurants in the Western United States. The
restaurant group prides itself on fresh, flavorful and innovative
dishes. Z’Tejas takes traditional ingredients, spices and cooking
techniques from around the south to create a taste without borders.
The Z’Tejas team as a whole depends on the critical role of their company’s technology systems and they
constantly pursue new and innovative ways to improve operational procedures through automation.
The Catalyst: The Need for an Accurate Reporting Method
Prior to the implementation of the FOOD-TRAK System, restaurant
managers would consolidate their invoices and conduct a manual entry
for their Profit and Loss (P&L) statements after collating the information.
This bookkeeping method was incredibly time consuming and lacked
the ability to analyze usage based on items, categories and product
Z’Tejas managers were constantly reviewing P&L’s consisting of cost
categories that were not as definitive as they should have been, chasing
down floating invoices and comparing themselves to benchmarks based
on average versus ideal numbers. This caused the inability to validate
and audit inventories quickly and effectively.
In 2002, while Z’Tejas was still in an early growth period, the Executive Team made the decision to look for
a better system to control their food and beverage inventory. They knew that implementing systems at the
early stage of growth ensures the checks and balances necessary to incrementally increase profitability are in
place and working efficiently over time. “Restaurant managers should be interacting with our guests and team
members. The less time spent in the office without reducing profitability the better. It’s all about indulging
the guest,” remarks Jack Gilmore, Founding Chef for Z’Tejas. “The system needed to be user-friendly, have
growth potential and be managed effectively without a lot of day-to-day maintenance.”
The Goal: Determine Ideal Food and Beverage Costs to Increase Profitability
Z’Tejas was looking for an inventory management system that required minimal third party intervention and
was not exorbitantly expensive. They needed a system to fit within the scope of their operating abilities with
room to grow - plus have a reliable backbone behind it to support growth and their future IT needs. This
would add value to the product.
They hoped to quickly obtain reports in order to evaluate their
ideal food and beverage costs, as well as track invoices and
export data into their accounts payable software. The ability
to analyze food costs and waste, identify item profitability
and menu enhancements and integrate into their P&L; proved
advantageous for Z’Tejas on a weekly basis.
“The system needed to be user-friendly, have
growth potential and be managed effectively
without a lot of day-to-day maintenance.”
The Plan: Increasing Employee Support and Success through Training
As with any new change, the Z’Tejas management team faced hurdles to overcome in introducing the
FOOD-TRAK System to their field. While the managers and chefs appreciated the efforts in giving them a
tool to manage their food and beverage costs, the complications involved in learning a new system caused
a lot of discussion. However, with the help of SCI’s extensive on-site implementation and training programs,
the entire Z’Tejas staff began to realize the importance of automation for controlling costs and improving
Over the last three years the Z’Tejas team has begun to see the finer points and the far-reaching benefits of
the FOOD-TRAK system. They are aware the information they put
into the system is just as important as the data they get back, and
they take weekly measures to make sure all of the numbers they
input are correct in order to obtain the most accurate reporting. The
corporate chefs trust the system now and use it as a daily process
for food and beverage inventory management, procurement and
The Solution: Utilizing FOOD-TRAK for Increased Efficiency
Z’Tejas takes full advantage of the core features of FOOD-TRAK.
The restaurant group relies on the system for their inventory
management system. FOOD-TRAK gives them the ability to track key
item inventories and spot usage issues on a daily basis.
The restaurant managers love the FOOD-TRAK system’s ability to automate their large orders. The team
interfaces with U.S. Foodservice via the FOOD-TRAK interface for purchase orders. After the chefs input
their orders via www.usfood.com, their purchase orders show up the next day for entry by the administrative
manager on duty. This interface saves a great deal of time for all concerned and is highly valued.
The Z’Tejas restaurant managers and support staff are the primary users of the FOOD-TRAK system for daily
and weekly invoice entry, reporting of goods and inventory management. The Executive Team has found
great success in the thorough reporting tools available in the system.
The Results: Educated Decision Making
Prior to implementing the FOOD-TRAK system, the Z’Tejas team found volatile food costs were an issue
throughout their chain. Not only did implementing the system assist in inventory control and better managing
of back-door procedures, it also enabled the team to evaluate menu changes and updates through the use of
accurate recipe costing. Z’Tejas uses various features of FOOD-TRAK on a daily basis and has succeeded
in making this system an integral part of their organization and a key component to managing their food and
The corporate chefs acknowledge that if the system is
frequently updated and there is no “junk in - junk out” they
quickly improve their operational cost management. The key
to this efficiency with FOOD-TRAK is to make sure their recipes
are updated appropriately and data is entered correctly.
“Restaurant managers should be interacting with our
guests and team members. The less time spent in
the office without reducing profitability the better.”
About Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2009, the first Z’Tejas
Southwestern Grill was introduced on 6th Street in historic Austin, Texas. Over the past 20 years, Z’Tejas
has expanded into 10 locations throughout Texas, Arizona, California, Utah and Washington. Focused on
original recipes, complex flavors and fresh ingredients, the successful restaurant chain has become a staple
for unique fare in a festive atmosphere.
For more information, please visit www.ztejas.com.
About System Concepts, Inc.
System Concepts, Inc. (SCI) offers a wide range of services to assist clients control food and beverage costs.
Developer of the FOOD-TRAK® System, SCI is one of the world’s leading specialists in the field of food and
beverage cost control and management. Since its founding in 1980, more than 10,000 clients worldwide have
turned to SCI for consulting services, software automation solutions, system implementation and support.
SCI is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information, visit www.foodtrak.com.
FOOD-TRAK is a registered trademark and a registered service mark of System Concepts, Inc.
Copyright © 2009 System Concepts, Inc. All Rights Reserved
System Concepts, Inc. 15900 North 78th Street, Scottsdale AZ 85260
Voice: (480) 951-8011 FAX: (480) 951-2807 Web: www.foodtrak.com Email: [email protected]