Award-Winning Checkers Franchisee Hits Stride With RTIconnect

Craig Leonard and his team at Mission Foods use RTIconnect to schedule effectively, save time managing inventory, and get the numbers they need. 

  • When Mission Foods purchased seven Rally’s restaurants, food variances were way off.
  • Now managers have accountability and track down missing inventory.
  • Leonard sums up the value of RTIconnect in one word: Priceless.

Craig Leonard stumbled into the restaurant industry. While working in a retail management job, Leonard started a part-time job at McDonald’s for some extra cash and enjoyed the fun, energetic environment. Despite rejecting initial offers to go full-time, he couldn’t resist for long. “It was kind of infectious,” he explained.

After 30 years with McDonald’s, Leonard left the company after serving in a variety of roles, including, most recently, COO of operations in Japan, where he supervised thousands of restaurants and billions of dollars in sales.

Leonard and his wife, Deborah, discovered the Checkers/Rally’s brand while living in New Orleans when Deborah took a position as a District Manager. Then as Mission Foods, LLC, they purchased seven Rally’s restaurants in Virginia Beach in late 2013. At the 2014 Checkers/Rally’s National Convention, they won the Rookie of the Year award due to their immediate success. That was just the start. The team won several awards at the 2015 convention, including the Sales Leader award for multi-unit Checkers/Rally’s franchisees.

Crystal Clear

Part of their recipe for success is RTIconnect. “We were introduced to RTIconnect when we came onboard with Checkers,” Leonard explained, “And before we even signed the deal we knew we wanted what they provided.” Leonard, who works a full-time day job while his son manages the daily operations, enjoys the ability to check-in from anywhere.

With the RTIconnect Dashboard, “I can get a quick snapshot of the business,” said Leonard.

“I couldn’t imagine running this business without RTIconnect.” Whether it’s catching mistakes in the inventory or stopping pilfering, the clarity of the numbers makes the solution easy to find.

Scheduling Done Right

With the Rally’s double drive thru format, speed of service is a key metric, and RTIconnect provides a centralized view of speed of service gathered from the drive-thru timers at all stores.

And if they’re not happy with the speed of service, they use labor tracking in RTIconnect to ensure sufficient staffing and identify problem areas.

For Leonard and his team, speed of service and the overall guest experience comes down to scheduling. “If you don’t schedule right, you don’t have a chance in this business,” said Leonard. To build the best schedule, they rely on accurate forecasting, the heart of the RTIconnect system.

Narrow the Gaps

When Mission Foods purchased the seven Rally’s restaurants, food variances were way off. Now managers have accountability and track down missing inventory, and they’ve narrowed the gap between ideal and actual. “RTIconnect has been a tremendous aid in that regard.”

For Leonard, he uses Product Mix reports to see what items are selling or not, which helps inform many decisions, including the possibility of a price increase. Next time they consider a price increase, he explained, they’ll review the Product Mix reports in RTIconnect before making the decision.

Mission Foods also uses RTIconnect’s Deposits tool to track and verify deposits. Every morning, Leonard’s son compares the deposit in RTIconnect to the bank when validating the deposit, which shines a spotlight on any funds that haven’t made it to the bank.


For others considering a back-office change, Leonard has some advice: “Some people look at it as a cost. They should throw that word out of their vocabulary. It’s not a cost. This is an investment that pays a huge dividend.”

When considering the value of RTIconnect for his organization, Leonard sums it up in one word: priceless. “You talk about responsiveness, follow-up, speed. If I could reach through the screen and hug those guys and gals, I would.”

“You are peerless from any business with a support desk,” said Leonard. “You guys are in a class of your own. I can’t say enough good things about the support desk. It’s just unbelievable.”

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November 20, 2017

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