Name: Jonpaul Leskie
Title: chief executive and owner, Geneva Enterprises LCC, Bonifay, Fla., and Interwov LLC, Duluth, Ga.
Birth date: Feb. 3, 1951
Education: Ph.D., master of science, bachelor of science, computer science, University of California, Berkeley, Calif.; “Managing in the Global Economy” program, University of California; two-year internship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Institute, Cambridge, Mass.
Hometown: Frackville, Pa.
Current residence: Duluth, Ga.
Career: 1997 to present - owns and operates Interwov; January 2006 - launched Geneva Enterprises; 2006 - named Hardee’s franchisee of the year; 2005-2007 - consultant to U.S. Office of Homeland Security for “Operation Safe Commerce,” involving customs agencies for America and Jordan; 1998-2003 - designed, developed and spearheaded global network operations centers for multiple Fortune 100 companies; 1996-1997 - executive director, AT&T outsourcing/labs; 1993-1995 - executive vice president, large computer systems division, Teradata
Manages: 500-plus people
POS system: ParTech InForm, InSync, and InQuire running on ParTech hardware and EMN8 guest self-order kiosk hardware
Key back office applications: ParTech InForm, Digital Witness and Real Time Data
Key enterprise applications: ParTech InSync and InQuire, Real Time Data, Digital Witness and Forgehouse One-Vision
Family/personal: wife, Cathy; children, David and Ashley
Pastimes: Working out, staying current with technology trends, reading
If ever there was a person who could help stamp out the sturdy stereotype of restaurateurs as business owners who are slow to adopt technology, it would be Jonpaul Leskie of Geneva Enterprises LLC, a seven-unit Hardee’s franchisee based in Bonifay, Fla.
The holder of a doctorate in computer sciences, Leskie says that for three decades he has served in executive positions with information technology and telecommunications companies, among others, or consulted with private enterprises worldwide and governments, including our own. Apart from his restaurant venture, he continues to consult on strategic planning, computer, telecommunications and security issues through his Interwov organization and operates an upscale male grooming , massage and tailor business called Jonpaul Inc.’s Tonsorial and Spa for Men.
Leskie said an encounter with restaurateurs during a consulting gig piqued his interest in foodservice, which seemed like many other businesses, though more challenged in the use of emerging technologies. In early 2006 the Georgia entrepreneur bought what he called a financially solid package of six franchised Hardee's with dated technology based in Florida. He declared the deal to be "a perfect opportunity and model to implement and test new emerging technologies."
Geneva Enterprises is on the Hardee’s Food Systems’ honor list of companies with average unit volumes of $1 million or higher.
What new systems are in development at Geneva Enterprises?
Some of the technologies we are currently focusing on are various form factors of [guest self-order] kiosks. I am also testing the use of I-buttons, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and sensors integrated with a wireless global positioning satellite or PDA device [and] back-office and enterprise system — all to manage, monitor and control the complete operations of my restaurants remotely.
On the enterprise level, it is all about business intelligence and data mining. The ability to have real-time, exceptional based [and] actionable customized data across the enterprise with actionable alert messaging is the next opportunity for return on investment. These enablers will allow you to take action on critical information — ultimately decreasing risk, operational costs, shrinkage, tech-support expenses and facilities cost — while increasing customer satisfaction, security, efficiency, productivity and management accountability.
What were your last two major restaurant technology initiatives?
Replacing my 20-year-old POS system and installing a surveillance security system. First and foremost, being located in another state [than my restaurants] and with my extensive travel, I needed an enterprise POS system so my team and I can have real-time access [to data] anywhere in the world. The enterprise [video] surveillance integrated with the POS gives us remote monitoring, real-time alerts and incident logging, as well as a training tool.
What did those efforts net you?
Initially, a 13-percent increase in revenue and 15-percent reduction in expense and losses. I expect the revenue to marginally increase while the expenses stay level.
Explain some of the ways those technologies achieved such results?
As soon as I installed the surveillance system in seven restaurants, I had six employees resign! Our inventory counts are now consistent, with no losses. We have our surveillance system integrated with our POS data. We set [alert] threshold levels for [things such as] voids. For every void over $15, we capture the data and video and alert [management] via email or text message of the incident. The general manager or operations director immediately reviews the recorded incident and appropriate action is taken. They can [remotely] monitor processes, protocol, uniform standards, etc.
What came from the POS swap-out?
When we installed the new Par POS system we had an immediate increase in revenue. All menus, combos and up-sell reminders are very intuitive and easy to use. You can also put one of the POS terminals in training mode to train on site. The back-office labor scheduling and inventory [functions] save us 8 percent right off the top. We make menu and price changes at our corporate office system and then upload the changes to all our restaurants, which saves on labor and travel.
What’s your next big IT project?
We have successfully tested kiosks in one of our restaurants. I plan on implementing kiosks in two other locations [where] the demographics support this technology. In addition, I plan on testing RFID and sensor technologies, which will incorporate Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points or HACCP, [functions], as well as seven day-by-24-hour monitoring and incident reporting for my operations and facilities.
Why is that project important to your company?
Kiosks will increase my check amount by 15 percent. They will increase my throughput during peak hours up to 30 percent, and they will allow me to reallocate labor to support increased volume and order fulfillment. The sensor technologies will reduce resources and incompetent record logging as it relates to HACCP. They will allow us to be proactive instead of reactive.
How do you train employees on new technology?
The bottom line; they need to understand why we are implementing the technology along with its associated benefits. We have a training lab where we train, test and get feedback on all new technologies before we implement [them]. We also are testing a broadband-based learning management system, [on which] we can share training and conduct meetings across our restaurant enterprise.
What technologies have you used to reach out to customers and what has it gotten you?
Kiosks. Customers said they preferred the experience at our kiosk 1.5 times more often than using a cashier.