Case spotlight: Run Like Clockwork: A Balancing Act Between Onboarding Demand and Capacity

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This case was featured in the June 2022 issue of Connect.

Who – the protagonist

Chris Bialecki, head of the Customer Success team at Galley Solutions.

What?

Galley is a software start-up that specialises in helping foodservice organisations reduce costs and improve margins by analysing vendor, ingredient, recipe, and menu data to uncover inefficiencies and optimise operations.

Galley’s centralised web-app software takes the guesswork and hassle out of food production, raw material sourcing, and inventory tracking so that foodservice operators can save on costs and reduce food waste – a huge, yet often overlooked, cost to such organisations.

Freshly harvested vegetables, cooking utensils and a laptop on a rustic kitchen worktop

Why?

The US foodservice industry had been stuck managing their operations on spreadsheets and antiquated software systems, and Galley presented a modern, alternative way to manage their back-of-house operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the foodservice industry to realise that the tools they used were not enabling them to quickly adapt with measures to control costs, make data-driven decisions, and facilitate digital transformation.

As a result, Galley began to experience a significant increase in interest from foodservice directors seeking new methods to manage their operations.

So, it was up to Chris to figure out how to improve the efficiency of the Galley onboarding process and keep the customer support financially viable as the number of new customers grew.

When?

Galley was founded by brothers-in-law Benji Koltai and Ian Christopher in 2017.

The idea for Galley was born at the high-end meal-delivery start-up Sprig, where Benji was the engineer behind Sprig’s internally built operations software.

When Sprig shut its doors in May 2017, Benji received the Sprig leadership team’s blessing to rebuild, generalise, and commercialise the software product he had built there and Galley was born.

Fast forward to the spring of 2020, and Galley was well positioned at the start of the pandemic to take advantage of the foodservice industry’s need for reliable and quick software to manage companies’ operations.

Where?

Galley is based in the Californian city of San Diego.

Key quote

“It’s been great to have a clean catalogue of all of our ingredients/recipes and exact cost of each dish (which we did not have prior to Galley) as it is so critical to understand the sales margin especially as business continues to be impacted by COVID.”
A comment from one of Galley’s clients in a customer survey.

What next?

Chris was in a tricky position.

He needed to make improvements to the onboarding process of new clients while working within the constraints of a small team and a tight budget.

While these constraints were challenging, if Chris didn’t make changes quickly, he could jeopardise future growth opportunities from more customers. The Sales team were already slowing down their sales process and stalling interested customers, resulting in growing frustration and tension between the Customer Support and Sales teams.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

Covering a subject you know

Stanley said: “I know the co-author of the case well; we were in the same PhD programme at Cambridge University. When I moved to San Diego during the summer of 2019, we chatted about her role at Galley Solutions and what the company does. As I was teaching at the University of San Diego's Knauss School of Business I thought it might be interesting to write up a case of a local SME (a start-up more specifically) that seeks to reduce food waste at food establishments like restaurants via the use of technology. The company has created a digital platform to help food firms reduce waste and greater manage food costs through better visibility over the supply of inventory and the consumer consumption of the inventory.

“I was also motivated to write my own case on process analysis after using the Kristen’s Cookie Case once, which  combines the operational theory with a context that I care about: food waste management.”

selection of cookies

Simplifying the process

Stanley continued: “One challenge when writing the case was simplifying the onboarding process and obtaining cost estimates that could allow for a deep analysis of the process, yet not to the extent it no longer captures the actual operations. I think through the various in-depth discussions we had with Galley Solutions, we were able to strike the right balance between complexity and workability as a student exercise on process analysis.”

Positive teaching experience

Stanley commented: “I taught the case several times over the course of one year (or two semesters) at USD and it was lots of fun with the students. The students all found it very experiential and through the case discussion, they were able to internalise the key concepts of process analysis such as bottlenecks and capacity constraints.

“Part of the reason was also the ability for the students to relate and connect with the firm given the proximity to USD. One time, I invited my co-author (Kirsten van Fossen) into the class to further enrich the discussions. It was awesome!”

A hit with students

He explained: “I found the students like the case and were very engaged during the case discussion. Some were interested in the operational aspects of the case, others were keen about the challenges in entrepreneurship (e.g. starting up a firm). The recorded videos helped the students to digest the materials and get into the shoes of the protagonist and situation quickly. As part of the course at USD, we had students conduct research at companies to write up their own case studies. Many students were interested in Galley's business and there were multiple teams of students who chose to partner with Galley for this project.”

Gaining access to the company

Stanley concluded: “In my opinion, one of the main hurdles in writing a good case is having ‘good’ access to the company. If one can get deep access to the company, it becomes a lot easier to obtain the necessary information to write up a good case that delivers on teaching objectives with rich nuances for additional discussions and, of course, is fun to read. Given the access we had, we were able to obtain an interview recorded as supplementary material for the case.”

THE CASE 

The case

Who – the protagonist

Chris Bialecki, head of the Customer Success team at Galley Solutions.

What?

Galley is a software start-up that specialises in helping foodservice organisations reduce costs and improve margins by analysing vendor, ingredient, recipe, and menu data to uncover inefficiencies and optimise operations.

Galley’s centralised web-app software takes the guesswork and hassle out of food production, raw material sourcing, and inventory tracking so that foodservice operators can save on costs and reduce food waste – a huge, yet often overlooked, cost to such organisations.

Freshly harvested vegetables, cooking utensils and a laptop on a rustic kitchen worktop

Why?

The US foodservice industry had been stuck managing their operations on spreadsheets and antiquated software systems, and Galley presented a modern, alternative way to manage their back-of-house operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the foodservice industry to realise that the tools they used were not enabling them to quickly adapt with measures to control costs, make data-driven decisions, and facilitate digital transformation.

As a result, Galley began to experience a significant increase in interest from foodservice directors seeking new methods to manage their operations.

So, it was up to Chris to figure out how to improve the efficiency of the Galley onboarding process and keep the customer support financially viable as the number of new customers grew.

When?

Galley was founded by brothers-in-law Benji Koltai and Ian Christopher in 2017.

The idea for Galley was born at the high-end meal-delivery start-up Sprig, where Benji was the engineer behind Sprig’s internally built operations software.

When Sprig shut its doors in May 2017, Benji received the Sprig leadership team’s blessing to rebuild, generalise, and commercialise the software product he had built there and Galley was born.

Fast forward to the spring of 2020, and Galley was well positioned at the start of the pandemic to take advantage of the foodservice industry’s need for reliable and quick software to manage companies’ operations.

Where?

Galley is based in the Californian city of San Diego.

Key quote

“It’s been great to have a clean catalogue of all of our ingredients/recipes and exact cost of each dish (which we did not have prior to Galley) as it is so critical to understand the sales margin especially as business continues to be impacted by COVID.”
A comment from one of Galley’s clients in a customer survey.

What next?

Chris was in a tricky position.

He needed to make improvements to the onboarding process of new clients while working within the constraints of a small team and a tight budget.

While these constraints were challenging, if Chris didn’t make changes quickly, he could jeopardise future growth opportunities from more customers. The Sales team were already slowing down their sales process and stalling interested customers, resulting in growing frustration and tension between the Customer Support and Sales teams.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

Author perspective

Covering a subject you know

Stanley said: “I know the co-author of the case well; we were in the same PhD programme at Cambridge University. When I moved to San Diego during the summer of 2019, we chatted about her role at Galley Solutions and what the company does. As I was teaching at the University of San Diego's Knauss School of Business I thought it might be interesting to write up a case of a local SME (a start-up more specifically) that seeks to reduce food waste at food establishments like restaurants via the use of technology. The company has created a digital platform to help food firms reduce waste and greater manage food costs through better visibility over the supply of inventory and the consumer consumption of the inventory.

“I was also motivated to write my own case on process analysis after using the Kristen’s Cookie Case once, which  combines the operational theory with a context that I care about: food waste management.”

selection of cookies

Simplifying the process

Stanley continued: “One challenge when writing the case was simplifying the onboarding process and obtaining cost estimates that could allow for a deep analysis of the process, yet not to the extent it no longer captures the actual operations. I think through the various in-depth discussions we had with Galley Solutions, we were able to strike the right balance between complexity and workability as a student exercise on process analysis.”

Positive teaching experience

Stanley commented: “I taught the case several times over the course of one year (or two semesters) at USD and it was lots of fun with the students. The students all found it very experiential and through the case discussion, they were able to internalise the key concepts of process analysis such as bottlenecks and capacity constraints.

“Part of the reason was also the ability for the students to relate and connect with the firm given the proximity to USD. One time, I invited my co-author (Kirsten van Fossen) into the class to further enrich the discussions. It was awesome!”

A hit with students

He explained: “I found the students like the case and were very engaged during the case discussion. Some were interested in the operational aspects of the case, others were keen about the challenges in entrepreneurship (e.g. starting up a firm). The recorded videos helped the students to digest the materials and get into the shoes of the protagonist and situation quickly. As part of the course at USD, we had students conduct research at companies to write up their own case studies. Many students were interested in Galley's business and there were multiple teams of students who chose to partner with Galley for this project.”

Gaining access to the company

Stanley concluded: “In my opinion, one of the main hurdles in writing a good case is having ‘good’ access to the company. If one can get deep access to the company, it becomes a lot easier to obtain the necessary information to write up a good case that delivers on teaching objectives with rich nuances for additional discussions and, of course, is fun to read. Given the access we had, we were able to obtain an interview recorded as supplementary material for the case.”

THE CASE 

The authors

The protagonist

Chris Bialecki
Head of the Customer Success team
Read the case

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This case was written with the support of a Case Writing Scholarship awarded by The Case Centre.

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