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The history of Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano is rooted in a graduate-school business plan of Todd Hovenden's while enrolled in the MBA program at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. That business plan came to life in 1998 when John McDonnell and Peter Schonman joined Hovenden, all sharing a simple mission: to serve authentic, freshly prepared Italian cuisine in a warm and friendly environment with outstanding service and affordable prices.
After only nine months of collaboration among the three, Biaggi's opened the first location on March 8, 1999, in Bloomington, Ill., with construction of the second location in Champaign, Ill., under way on that day.
Biaggi's has expanded considerably since 1999 and now operates 23 locations in 12 states nationwide.
Over the past 12 years, Biaggi's has been recognized and honored by various local media outlets in each of its operating markets. Most recently, Biaggi's received top honors for service among chain restaurants in a national survey published by Consumer Reports in its July 2011 issue.
Biaggi's continues to operate as a privately held restaurant company, building a broad base of loyal customers.
Biaggi's had partnered with another HRIS provider and felt the level of service and attention to the needs of its rapidly growing business were not being met. Detailed and flexible reporting for employees' secondary jobs was a top priority.
Several vendors were brought on site and the field was narrowed to the provider that best matched Biaggi's proactive philosophy and could nimbly serve its future growth -- ECI.
Biaggi's converted to ECI at the end of first quarter 2011. With 1,800 employees located in 12 states, it had year-to-date figures that needed to be preserved. ECI's implementation specialist and project manager designed a timeline and scheduled weekly conference calls with the client to ensure the implementation stayed on track. The implementation specialist was able to download the employee database and post each individual's weekly or biweekly activity for each payment during the first quarter. The company's production database was ready for second-quarter processing the day after its last pay date with its previous processor. ECI even ran a prenote file on all direct deposits to ensure employees would not experience any delays in April funding.
Unexpected Benefits of ECI Adoption
Biaggi's noticed immediately that the first-quarter pay detail was posted to each employee. Once an employee registered with ESS Empower, he or she was able to view all of the payroll checks generated in 2011, including first quarter.
The company gained an extra half day of processing time. The benefit increased later when two new restaurants were added during the last half of 2011. ECI set up supervisor codes that allow key managers the ability to view payroll information that wasn't previously available.
Ongoing Service and Support
"Service and support have always been great!" says Carolyn Evans, controller for Biaggi's. "Mostly when a question or request comes up, we email the appropriate service team. We receive a response back very quickly. Our resolutions have always occurred by the projected completion date."
Company name: Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano
Headquarters: Bloomington, Ill.
Locations: 1,800 employees; 23 restaurants in 12 states
Primary Business: Through exceptional service, Biaggi's offers large portions of affordably priced, high-quality Italian cuisine made with the freshest ingredients available and served in a comfortable atmosphere.
HR-Technology Challenge: Biaggi's required greater flexibility in reporting capability for secondary jobs. Historical reports were needed based on the jobs performed rather than just the employee's home department. Now, it can produce reports at any time that show the actual payroll costs for a certain job category, regardless of the home department.