Case Study

BURGER KING Germany: Serving Up Marketing Insights and Supply Chain Visibility Easily

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BURGER KING Germany built an ETL pipeline that channels ticket data for every sale into BigQuery allowing the marketing team to easily see exactly which products are selling well so that they can tweak promos. The data is also helps monitor the supply chain to make sure enough produce is delivered to restaurants in response to changes in demand.

Do hamburgers really come from Hamburg? This may still be a matter of debate, but the popularity of American-style burger joints not just in Hamburg but all over Germany, is clear. Germany’s top two fast food companies are both burger chains. One of them is BURGER KING®, a global brand that welcomes more than 11 million customers worldwide every day. The company arrived in Germany in 1976, when its first restaurant opened in Berlin. It now operates more than 100 restaurants across Germany, with franchisees operating more than 600 restaurants of their own.

“In the fast food industry, being able to move quickly is very important. That means delivering the right promotion to our app or launching a viral campaign within days. To do that across more than 700 restaurants, we need the support of the right technology.”

Oliver Mielentz, IT Manager, BURGER KING® Deutschland GmbH

Previously a subsidiary of the U.S. business, BURGER KING® Germany became an independent company in 2015. As a result, it needed to develop its own IT infrastructure, and the changeover needed to happen fast. “We had to put in place systems that would work for the entire network of franchisees and enable us to easily roll out campaigns,” explains Oliver Mielentz, IT Manager at BURGER KING® Deutschland GmbH.

With the help of Google Cloud Premier partner Cloudwürdig, BURGER KING® Germany chose Google Cloud and G Suite as the right combination to suit its needs.

“In the fast food industry, being able to move quickly is very important,” says Oliver. “That means delivering the right promotion to our app or launching a viral campaign within days. To do that across more than 700 restaurants, we need the support of the right technology.”

Building a franchisee platform in just three months

When a business has multiple franchisees, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially in the fast-paced fast food environment. “We have to collate data from all our franchisees and produce reports quickly in order to react to changes in customer behavior,” explains Oliver. “That means processing every transaction that takes place in our restaurants.” Following the restructure, BURGER KING® Germany also needed to build a secure invoicing system with data storage and optimize its communication channels.

“Using Tableau with BigQuery, we’re able to produce reports very quickly. Previously, it took much longer, as data had to be fetched manually. Our reaction time is now almost a business day faster.”

Oliver Mielentz, IT Manager, BURGER KING® Deutschland GmbH

With support from Witter-IT, BURGER KING® Germany chose Cloudwürdig to build its BKD Connect internal platform on Google Cloud. Thanks to the ready-to-go tools on Google Cloud, it was able to put its invoicing system and data warehouse in place in just three months.

For the BURGER KING® Germany data warehouse, Cloudwürdig built an ETL pipeline that channels ticket data for every sale into BigQuery. “Data is gathered from the restaurants,” says Oliver, “and using Tableau with BigQuery, we’re able to produce reports very quickly. Previously, it took much longer, as data had to be fetched manually. Our reaction time is now almost a business day faster.”

As the ticket data for every transaction is stored in BigQuery, the marketing team can easily see exactly which products are selling well. That’s crucial for tweaking promotions as well as monitoring the supply chain to make sure enough produce is delivered to restaurants in response to changes in demand.

“Thanks to BigQuery, we have a speedy data pipeline that enables us to react on the same day to changes in the market and eliminate bottlenecks in production,” says Oliver.

Switching to G Suite to improve communication

To enable franchisees to sign in to its BKD Connect Platform, BURGER KING® Germany needed a secure authentication system. To solve that problem, it chose to provide franchisees with G Suite accounts. “It’s really easy to set up a new franchisee on the platform. I just create a new G Suite account and Drive folder for it, and it’s ready to go,” says Oliver. G Suite also helps the franchise network to run efficiently, as daily reports are automatically saved to Drive and shared to the appropriate regional network. “Thanks to that system, it’s much easier for any team at headquarters to access the information it needs,” Oliver explains.

BURGER KING® Germany also recently extended its use of G Suite across the whole company. “Following an evaluation of our previous email and productivity software, I made the decision to switch solely to G Suite,” says Oliver. BURGER KING® Germany employees now use GmailCalendar, and Drive for their day-to-day productivity needs. “We only just completed the migration, but already, everyone’s happy,” says Oliver. “It’s so easy to share a file using Drive or set up a meeting on Calendar.”

“We’re big fans of Hangouts Meet, and we have two rooms here at our Hanover headquarters equipped with Hangouts Meet hardware,” Oliver adds. “The speech quality is good, and it’s helpful to be able to see every participant, especially when you’re running a meeting with multiple franchisees.”

Optimizing infrastructure to power innovative campaigns

The BURGER KING® app, available for iOS and Android, helps the company to deliver a great customer experience. Through their MyBK accounts, guests can access coupons and special promotions. “We had a really interesting campaign for Easter: guests used the app to hunt for virtual Easter eggs,” explains Oliver. “We knew it was going to be big, and our previous back end wouldn’t have been able to handle the traffic.”

To enable the marketing campaign to go ahead, BURGER KING® Germany moved the back end of the app, along with its website, to Google Cloud. For developing and running its web and app back ends, it now uses App Engine and virtual machines on Compute Engine, as well as Memorystore and Cloud Functions. For monitoring and logging, it uses Stackdriver, and Cloud CDN and Cloud DNS to easily handle its traffic.

“We ran the campaign without any performance issues, even though we were receiving several million hits a day,” says Oliver. Since migrating the back end to Google Cloud, the marketing team also launched the popular “Escape the Clown” campaign. “That campaign blew our minds!” says Oliver. “It wouldn’t have been possible without Google Cloud, because it required a lot of back end capacity.”

To develop the app infrastructure it needs, BURGER KING® Germany relies on Cloudwürdig. “Working with Cloudwürdig is great because the team has the same agile mindset as us,” says Oliver. “When we have a new idea, we just set up a meeting, and in a couple of days the new infrastructure is in place. For Escape the Clown, it only took a few weeks to get everything ready to launch.”

Leveraging integrated tools to grow the business

Using Google Cloud together with G Suite enables BURGER KING® Germany to run its franchise network efficiently, while keeping its IT team lean. “Google Cloud and G Suite are the perfect fit for the way of working at BURGER KING® Germany,” says Oliver. “Many of the company’s operatives are often on the road, visiting restaurants and franchisees. With these tools, they can work flexibly and react quickly to the situation on the ground.”

“In order to grow the business, we need to use the data we receive every day to understand exactly what is happening in our restaurants. With the tools provided by Google Cloud, we can get more guests through the door and offer them a better experience.”

Oliver Mielentz, IT Manager, BURGER KING® Deutschland GmbH

It also helps to keep infrastructure costs under control. “With Google Cloud, we only pay for what we use, which is really important for us,” Oliver explains. “It means we can scale up quickly if we see an opportunity to react to a trend in customer behavior and launch a new marketing campaign that resonates with the moment. When it’s finished, we can then scale down again, and that definitely saves us money.”

BURGER KING® is now working with Cloudwürdig to add more functionality to the BURGER KING® app using Google Kubernetes Engine. “We like to work with customers long-term to support their digital transformation. BURGER KING® Germany is a great example of how one project can develop into a great collaboration,” says Benny Woletz, Managing Director of Cloudwürdig.

BURGER KING® also plans to expand its presence in Germany and gain a greater market share by further tailoring both its marketing and the way it runs its restaurants to answer its guests’ needs. “In order to grow the business, we need to use the data we receive every day to understand exactly what is happening in our restaurants,” says Oliver. “With the tools provided by Google Cloud, we can get more guests through the door and offer them a better experience.”

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