Pizza Hut is using the business intelligence system supplied by Cognos to provide store managers with immediate feedback on their branch's performance.
The system is able to spot branches or product lines that are under-performing 12 hours earlier than the Microsoft Access database it replaces, allowing managers to monitor profits continually.
The Pizza Hut system polls Compaq Unix servers in each store to gather a range of data, including product and labour costs and the quantity of toppings used on each pizza.
A "traffic light" system alerts managers if sales of a particular pizza are under-performing, or if there are inconsistencies on the amount of topping on each pizza, by highlighting the data with an amber or red light.
"If we could just knock 1% or 2% of the costs of the bottom-performing stores, it would make a big difference [to the whole business]," said David Wicks, IT director at Pizza Hut.
"We have data in disparate locations and we spend a lot of time bringing it together. Cognos will allow us to bring it together much more easily and quickly," he said.
The chain is planning to enhance the system, which is gradually being rolled out to branches, by installing a store-wide virtual private network.
The network will allow Pizza Hut's IT department to update software in the branches automatically, and will give staff access to e-mail, Web connections and labour scheduling software through an in-house application service provider.