Brinker International, Inc.

Agility, innovation, and flexibility of cloud data analytics to serve quality, hot food and excellent service.

Brinker International logo

Brinker International, Inc., one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies, owns, operates, or franchise more than 1,600 Chili’s Grill & Bar® and Maggiano’s Little Italy® restaurants.

Their passion is making you feel special and feeling that passion each and every time that you visit one of their restaurants. Brinker realizes that people want good, hot food with excellent customer experience.

This means focusing on speed, agility, flexibility, and innovation in everything they do. Principles that can be delivered with the help of technology in the Cloud. For Brinker, cloud data analytics is helping to assist in the delivery of serving quality, hot food with a passionate customer experience that keeps visitors craving seconds.

Focusing on speed, agility, flexibility, and innovation

“In today’s environment, no matter what industry you’re in, you’ve got to be technologically advanced. You need to have technology that supports the needs of the business mission and drivers. To be successful, you need to get the information quicker and deliver insights to the business so they may take action.”

Mark Abramson, Architect Manager, Enterprise Data, Analytics and Reporting

Brinker
International, Inc.
by the numbers

1,600+
Restaurants
31
Countries and U.S. territories
1M+
Guests served every day
6M
Chili’s loyalty program members

Mark Abramson

Architect Manager, Enterprise Data,
Analytics and Reporting

Mark Abramson has spent over 25 years applying technology fundamentals to the successful implementation of business solutions working as a technology expert in the area of systems design, software architecture, and data analytics. His professional experience has led to a career of investigative data mining, which includes activities for data visualization, information management, data governance, and big data systems design and implementation. Mark Abramson has participated in the design, development and deployment of many successful BI and analytics solutions for some of the largest companies in the software industry and in many industry sectors. Mark Abramson also has done work in data recovery services encompassing high-level electronic data and big data systems. He holds degrees in Applied Technology from Rochester Institute of Technology and from the State University of New York, as well as Concord Law School.

More than 1M guests, every day, are served at Chili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurants.

Each restaurant has a multitude of data sources including customer survey, sales, product, employee, check (tab, bill, tally), delivery and to-go, online ordering, and even weather, geolocation, and time-series data. Data is abundant.

“Every day, our restaurants generate terabytes of data. We need to take the raw data and transform it into actionable, valuable insights the business can act on. Every single restaurant is in our restaurant analytics dashboard, which visualizes data in the data warehouse. That includes millions of customer survey data records, daily sales data of every retail operation globally, employee data, and much more,” explains Mark Abramson, Architect Manager, Enterprise Data, Analytics and Reporting.

Data latency creates a need to modernize.

“Our reports were coming too late, the time it took to bring data from the restaurants to corporate took too long. We had latency that was detrimental to how they needed to operate. We knew we had to modernize. It had to be fast, flexible, and accessible by everybody.”

Mark Abramson, Architect Manager, Enterprise Data, Analytics and Reporting

The sub-performant cloud-only data warehouse made the team dread going to sleep at night. Knowing dashboards, reports, and analytics weren’t going to be delivered on-time the next morning as over 500,000, routine 1-3 second queries are performed every morning to prepare each restaurant for its opening. The team knew they had to change.

“We had a mix of on-prem and cloud. We knew we needed a platform that offered the flexibility and scalability to support the entire enterprise. But the platform also needs to handle the complex workloads that we have,” says Abramson.

Before selecting a new cloud data analytics platform, Brinker maintained several key requirements. First, the platform must be enterprise-focused, where their data was integrated, not siloed, across multiple business units allowing them to derive more answers and deeper insights. Second, the platform must be scalable, capable of answering any question, any time, at scale. Third, it must be managed so that they achieve faster, more effective results and insights back to the business. Fourth, everyone should be able to work with the data – from corporate business analysts, restaurant managers and team leads, shift managers, and corporate executives.

Ultimately, Brinker sought to put their data to work, operationalizing data analytics to unlock unlimited value and accelerate that time to value.

Brinker returns to Teradata. 

“We realized Teradata’s hybrid multi-cloud data analytics platform in Teradata Vantage™ provides the flexibility and scalability. A lot of cloud providers are saying they have that. But what’s the real cost of the solution? What’s the price-performance and scalability? Can it handle complex workloads? We knew that Teradata can not only handle the simple 3-second queries, but also the complex queries with many joins without suffering in query response-times.”

Mark Abramson, Architect Manager, Enterprise Data, Analytics and Reporting

Brinker selected Teradata Vantage on AWS enabling an enterprise data analytics ecosystem that will drive the future of their business. With Vantage, Brinker can ask cross-functional, complex multi-join questions to provide a complete picture of business conditions. For instance, identifying:

How to apportion costs and upsell, generate revenue, or come up with new innovative menu items? Perform profitability analytics using menu and server data.

How do you know what’s going to be most popular to our guests? Forecast analysis with product, sales, employee, and guest data.

How do you find out what the guest experience was in specific restaurants? Analyze guest and employee data.

What type of commodities are in the restaurant and how much do they cost? You guessed it, analytics on multi-join data.

Another factor in the data analytics platform selection was a platform capable of handling schema sophistication with a mix of normalized (or structured) data, semi-structured, and no schema structures at all. A modern cloud data analytics platform needs to be extensible and flexible with data schemas in order to support and enable all business requirements.

“We have data with different schemas or data structures. Being able to put new subject areas like the to-go and delivery data into the same system with different schemas was a big win for all of us. It allows us to act immediately on the business needs,” Abramson continued.

Lastly, with Vantage, separation of storage and compute allows Brinker to scale up compute demands, as workloads increase in the morning while restaurants prepare for lunch and dinner. Then, when there’s a lull, the platform needs to scale down. Some cloud-only vendors may scale in a single dimension but are sacrificing or incapable in others. When the time comes to scale down, other platforms require manual intervention to reduce the compute down to prior levels after being spun up.

Harnessing the power of data analytics at scale.

“A lot of other vendors said they could do this, but we never really experienced it. Teradata performed. We see the scalability. The flexibility. And run the complex workloads that other cloud-only vendors are challenged to do or can’t deliver query responses in time. Going to the cloud with Teradata Vantage on AWS, it was amazing to see what other vendors only touted. I can scale up, in double or triple the size, within minutes and have all the computing power separate from storage to do the big workloads. Then, scale back down to keep ongoing cost-effectiveness in-place.”

Mark Abramson, Architect Manager, Enterprise Data, Analytics and Reporting

The improved performance provides Brinker more reliable delivery of data for their analytics and reporting. 

This enables the team to spend time analyzing and building business solutions to meet the ever-changing business needs. Rather than spending all of their technical resources monitoring a system for slow or failed processes.

Freeing up resources for more strategic initiatives, the Data, Analytics, and Reporting team create deeper restaurant analytics on corporate and franchise restaurants to determine KPI’s on guest satisfaction surveys, menu items, and labor resources.

Treating data as your greatest asset.

“It all goes back to data and the insights derived from that data. Data must be the center of your business if you want to be successful.”

Mark Abramson, Architect Manager, Enterprise Data, Analytics and Reporting

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