Dallas, TX, October 06, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Many corporate and independent restaurants rely heavily on the feedback from customer comment cards to make decisions about employees, menu items, and overall operations. Smaller single-location to five-location restaurant operation can handle the collection and data retrieval process without too much trouble. Companies with more than 5, 10, 15, or 500 locations have to allocate more resources to this task. The traditional methods large restaurant companies use to collect and process the data on these forms can over-utilize resources and become very costly.
There are basically 3 various methods. (A) The first and oldest method is manual data entry. Comment cards are collected at location or via mail, and manually entered into a database by a group of data entry personnel either on site, or more commonly, overseas. Shipping and labor costs are very high in this scenario. (B) The second method eliminates some or all of the shipping costs. Companies collect the comment cards, scan them, and then data entry personnel manually enter data from a scanned digital image into a database.
(C) The third method makes use of Optical Character Recognition Software which can extract the data (even handwriting and checkmarks) from a scanned image. In this scenario, forms are collected and scanned from any location, eliminating all shipping, and automatically dropped in to an electronic queue for data extraction. Instead of several employees needed for data entry, now only 1/10th the amount of employees is needed for simple data verification.
Traditional software companies that offer this technology charge per page and large volume scanning and recognition can get expensive ($45,000 for 100,000 pages). Antera Software has just launched Link Intelligence, an OCR Engine with unlimited page count pricing specifically designed for comment cards. The purchase price is currently $9,850 which includes setup, training, customization, and unlimited use. Reporting on the comment card results can be broken down by item, by store, by region, and by various other custom reports.
Table (5,000 comment cards/wk. or 50 locations)
(A) Shipping Plus Manual Data Entry - Equipment Cost $0; Labor Cost 10 employees at $35,000/yr.; Shipping Cost $15,000/yr.
Total Cost over 5 years $1,825,000
(B) Scanning Plus Manual Data Entry - Equipment Cost $2000 in scanners; Labor Cost 10 employees at $35,000/yr.; Shipping Cost $0
Total Cost over 5 years $1,752,000
(C) Antera’s OCR Technology Plus Verification - Equipment Cost $9,850 in software + $2000 in scanners; Labor Cost 2 employees at $35,000/yr.; Shipping Cost $0
Total Cost over 5 years $361,850
Aside from the obvious price advantage, Antera’s Link Intelligence also provides a much quicker turnaround from the time the comment card is filled out by the customer, to the time the information is processed. Comment cards filled out that day at the restaurant are dropped into the scanner at closing time. The extracted data can be verified and processed before the restaurant opens its doors the following day. If a customer had a bad experience at a restaurant, corporate employees and/or the store manager will know about it the following day rather than several weeks later. This ability to catch problems before they get out of hand can make a significant difference in any restaurant’s lasting power.
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