CASE STUDY: Wood Ranch

From Overload to Optimization

Wood Ranch Finds Sizzling Success With RRFMG & R365

Barbecue is a traditional American cuisine with roots tracing back to colonial times. Across the United States today, there are numerous regional BBQ styles to suit every palate. In the greater Los Angeles area, many BBQ enthusiasts get their fix at Wood Ranch, a beloved chain known for serving time-honored classics like smoked brisket, baby back ribs, and pulled pork, alongside creative innovations such as their delicious peanut coleslaw.

Since opening its first restaurant in 1992, Wood Ranch has expanded to 18 locations. This growth, while impressive, significantly increased the workload of their accounting staff.

Jean-Pierre Mouren-Laurens, also known as JP, is the VP of Finance & Corporate Controller at Wood Ranch. He recalls the strain this expansion placed on his team: “We had a Senior Accountant, Accounting Manager, and Assistant Controller who were doing grunt work that wasn’t ideal for them but was necessary because we’re a growing company. We just didn’t have the resources to tackle all the work on our plate, even with our ‘roll up your sleeves’ environment. As a result, we lost some valuable review and oversight because staff weren’t focusing on their strengths, like analytics and financial review.”

Recognizing the need for a solution, CFO Mark Quandt suggested looking into offshoring the excess work. Through Mark’s connections, JP was introduced to Restaurant & Retail Financial Management Group (RRFMG) and their CEO, Wayne Lipschitz.

After discussing Wood Ranch’s workload needs and priorities, RRFMG placed two offshore accountants with the company to assist with journal entries, bank reconciliations, and other closing procedures. This support was particularly timely, as Wood Ranch was in the midst of implementing Restaurant365, a system with which RRFMG’s accountants were well-acquainted.

JP fondly remembers the serendipitous impact: “While we were onboarding Restaurant365, RRFMG brought in institutional knowledge on how to utilize R365, which was huge. They helped us design many of our bank reconciliation best practices for R365, which was very beneficial.”

RRFMG’s expertise in R365 ended up helping Wood Ranch in other ways. JP explains, “Although our Finance Department doesn’t generally interact with Wood Ranch guests directly, we benefit our guests by freeing up the time, energy, and stress levels of our operators, keeping them more client-focused. RRFMG has played a big role in that by providing recommendations on how to utilize all of R365’s modules, like inventory. Inventory is something our operators utilize to do their inventory counts, purchase orders, and more. RRFMG definitely aided us in many ways to improve service to our operators, which, in turn, benefits our guests.”

Another major pain point JP’s accounting team experienced prior to engaging with RRFMG was employee churn. Wood Ranch went through several staff accountants who began their jobs, got up to speed on internal procedures, then abruptly departed. Every time that happened it left the team in a difficult spot because retraining individuals at that level is costly and time-consuming.

Here again, RRFMG was able to add value by providing stability with the accountants it placed at Wood Ranch. JP says, “The churn was very costly. One of the huge benefits we’ve enjoyed from RRFMG is we haven’t had much turnover since they’ve started. That consistency has been invaluable. We’re seeing them growing with the business, growing with Wood Ranch by expanding their skill sets, and taking on more work.

It seems every time I ask my team ‘What are we having RRFMG do?’, that list keeps growing. This creates more efficiency, opens up bandwidth, and increases our savings by freeing up our other employees’ workload.”

By offshoring more tedious tasks to RRFMG, the Wood Ranch accounting team was able to focus on higher-priority tasks like process improvements. JP notes, “Those process improvements have saved the business a lot in costs, which wouldn’t have been possible without having our bandwidth freed up by RRFMG.”

This increased bandwidth has also enhanced the timeliness of reporting, a critical success factor for JP. Wood Ranch operators rely on the Finance Department for timely updates, and collaboration with RRFMG has not only maintained but improved the punctuality of report delivery, even during the transition to R365.

JP concludes, “RRFMG has some very capable and bright people with institutional knowledge of working with hospitality clients like us, and they do it at a fair and reasonable price for our needs.”

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