Accent Food Service’s Josh Rosenberg Talks Big Data

June 26, 2017

Big data is on the rise among micro market operators, and for good reason. It allows operators to more accurately determine what products are selling as well as gain additional insight and information about the consumers. In turn, smarter purchasing decisions can be made to better suit consumers.

Joshua Rosenberg, president and CEO of Accent Food Services in Garland, TX, explains how using big data has helped his micro market business grow. How do you use data recorded in the micro market system in your business? 

Joshua Rosenberg: We leverage the data in several ways. We look at day part usage to determine product and promotion, for example breakfast versus lunch versus afternoon. We also demand forecast for scheduling, space to sales management, and waste management. For products and promotions, we use the data to track manufacturer program compliance and results by reviewing product penetration, velocity and retail pricing. Finally, we look at basket size to determine how to best bundle, introduce promotions and drive higher ticket average. How has technology evolved over the course of your career in micro markets? 

JR: The biggest evolution in technology is data integrity and reporting functionalities, consumer engagement through product promotion, loyalty and advertising, and payment methods including mobile, biometric and employer payroll deduct. How have you specifically used big data at Accent Food Services?

JR: We use Power BI [a Microsoft software suite a business analytics tools that deliver insights] to aggregate and slice data to enable information to be shared at appropriate levels within the organization. Marketing and procurement uses it to drive same store sales initiatives, product promotions and supplier programs. Delivery uses it for demand management, front line performance and customer management. Finance is able to use it for forecasting and analysis to help drive company performance/financials. What challenges come with using big data?

JR: The biggest challenge is getting to the 'so what' end user information. It is very difficult to extract relevant facts from the data. This is created by unique customer demographics, geography, macro forces and other factors. In a single day, we have over 1 million transactions to try to dissect and create opportunities. The systems we currently use do not enable key data points needed to effectively leverage the data, such as who bought what, how often they shop or how can we capture and predict bundle or future purchase opportunities.  In order to win, recruit more consumers and stay relevant, artificial intelligence will have to come into play. Our company is looking for opportunities to engage small and medium enterprises in this space to help us precisely predict outcome so we can better serve our consumer needs. How do you train your employees to use big data? 

JR: We hold workshops and webinars as well as have a team dedicated to mining the data for the end user. What advice do you have for a micro market operator looking to get into using big data? 

JR: Invest in knowledge expertise. Hiring someone with the experience is critical. Also, start small.  Do not try and bite off more than you can chew.