Country/Region: United States

Industry: Food Service


Customer Profile

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants operates a variety of full service restaurants featuring 40 different varieties of seafood. The chain currently has 39 restaurants across the country,


Business Situation

In 1996, McCormick & Schmick’s outgrew their spreadsheet-based accounting system, which didn’t enable to them to do a consolidated financial statement or actual-to-budget comparisons to help contain costs.



After looking at 50 financial software packages, McCormick and Schmick’s chose Microsoft® Business Solutions–Great Plains®. They’ve added functionality as their business has “grown up” with Microsoft Business Solutions products.



n  Paperless reporting

n  Elimination of data entry

n  Decision-driving reporting capabilities and multi-unit functionality

n  Automatic bank reconciliation update

n  Reduced financial closing time




"Microsoft has stepped up to the plate— you have a big name [Microsoft] stepping behind another big name [Great Plains]. It’s a universal acceptance program.”

Thomas Yee, Manager of Information Technology, McCormick & Schmick Management Group




McCormick & Schmick’s 39 seafood restaurants have increased in name recognition. This unique restaurant chain is adding restaurants each year at a rapid rate. Each one has its own regional flavor, featuring locally available seafood and original recipes of its chefs. Upscale but affordable, the restaurants have managed to capture the loyalty of local clientele.  By the time McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant count reached 14, they had outgrown their spreadsheet-based accounting system. Knowing they were positioning their business for future growth, they carefully researched 50 different solutions and settled on Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains (now part of Microsoft Dynamics) Now, 25 restaurants later, McCormick & Schmick’s likes the flexibility and ease of use of their solution. Their company has “grown up” with Microsoft Business Solutions, which helps them manage the growth they are enjoying in a time when other restaurants are struggling.











You may have dined at one of Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick’s restaurants across the United States—McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, M&S Grill, Jake’s Famous Crawfish, McCormick’s Fish House & Bar—to name a few of the affiliated restaurants. If you did, you may have found the restaurant in a building listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It very likely had ambiance and up-scale flavor, without a high entrée price. Forty different varieties of seafood are served, listed on a menu printed daily based on the product price and availability of their 85 to 110 menu items. Each chef creates dishes tailored to regional tastes and their own talents. In July 2003, Consumer Reports magazine listed McCormick & Schmick’s as one of the best restaurant chains in the nation. The chain has continued to thrive post-9/11, when other restaurants have struggled.


Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick

The company now known as McCormick & Schmick’s was begun modestly in the 1970s by Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick. Their growth in the early years was slow and steady. By 1996, McCormick & Schmick’s operated 14 restaurants in four states.


Growth pains were being felt in the accounting area, which was unable to do a consolidated financial statement or actual-to-budget comparison with their homegrown, spreadsheet-based system. In the restaurant business, food costs are a critical component of profitability. The company operated on a four-week cycle. It took three weeks to produce financial statements for the previous quarter. By that time, they were three quarters of the way into the next period. If food costs for the preceding period were too high, it was too late to make adjustments.

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They decided to check out all accounting software possibilities. In all, they looked at 50 financial and accounting software packages. They sought a scalable solution that would grow with their business. They needed a system that could handle multiple budgets, had a Microsoft® Windows® based graphical user interface, and one that would operate on the PCs in which they had already invested. They wanted a system that would service them for a minimum of ten years.




McCormick & Schmick’s settled on Microsoft Business Solutions, with the help of Microsoft Reselling Partner, InterDyn–Remington Consulting. Early in the implementation, they realized a five-day reduction in month-end closing time. This reduction provided them with the ability to quickly produce financial statements and respond to cost overruns.


Since the 1996 implementation, Microsoft Great Plains® has helped McCormick & Schmick’s grow its business to the current 39 restaurants in 19 states.



J.D. Edwards Side-Stepped

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thomas Yee, Manager of Information Text Box:  Technology at McCormick & Schmick’s, reports that at one point in the restaurant chain’s history, it was controlled by a publicly held company using the J.D. Edwards financial and accounting solution. During that time, the company was under tremendous pressure to switch to J.D. Edwards. They resisted. “There was no evidence that it was any better than what we already had,” Yee says. “We wanted to stay nimble and independent. As a healthy and successful restaurant group, we were able to manage our concepts and procedures well. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Yee says. McCormick & Schmick’s stalled on the J.D. Edwards conversion for four years as they grew to 35 restaurants. Eventually, they were sold by the publicly held company and are once again privately held, having stayed the course with Microsoft Business Solutions.


Support for Growth Opportunities

The company now finds itself in a period of particularly rapid growth. “The opportunities are approaching us every day—we have lots of growth potential.” Yee says. To support that growth, in 2002, McCormick & Schmick’s upgraded their Microsoft Great Plains solution. “To upgrade to the next version was a big step in our efficiency so we could expand without making our internal centralized processing more cumbersome,” Yee says.


Managing Restaurant Construction

McCormick & Schmick’s has found an additional use for its Microsoft Great Plains solution—one that helps them manage the construction growth they are experiencing.


In the past, they had used Peachtree’s ACCPAC to manage the construction accounting portion of their operations. As a single-user system, it was inadequate to support their growth at the rate of three to six restaurants per year. The decision was made to move their construction accounting to Microsoft Great Plains as well. They use a different database to keep the construction management part of the business separate. Now they can have one person cutting checks, another coding invoices, and another posting journal entries. “It has helped manage our growth,” Yee says.


Favorite Modules and Features

Along with their upgrade, McCormick & Schmick’s added the functionality of Integration Manager. Yee has this to say about Integration Manager, “I consider Integration Manager a staple in doing the general ledger, and soon the payables. It has opened the doors to everything. We have an intranet site that gathers our restaurant information. I couldn’t do restaurant dailies now without that integration.”


They have also added Intercompany Processing. “Intercompany has opened a few doors. We’re looking at electronic 1099s for the first time and considering payment via integrated credit card from Bank One.”


They also like Modifier, Report Writer, and Safe Pay. “I couldn’t live without Report Writer or Modifier. Safe Pay is used every day, and it’s just a requirement for me. The products I’m using every day, I love,” says Yee.


In the past McCormick & Schmick’s needed to hire temporary labor for two weeks to rekey the budget data from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Using the budgeting tool, they are now able to automatically import spreadsheet-based budgets.


The SmartLists feature allows them to review report information more quickly.




Ease and Flexibility

McCormick & Schmick’s likes the ease and flexibility of the Microsoft Great Plains solution. When new staff members are hired, existing staff are able to easily provide training. Because of the Modifier tool, customizations remain transparent to the staff.


Cost Savings in Reporting

McCormick & Schmick’s was ready to purchase 17 new file cabinets this year to house their posting reports. Considering the cost of the file cabinets, hanging folders, and three-hole punch paper, they estimated the potential cost for equipment and supplies at $15,000. When they began using Microsoft Business Solutions for Analytics–FRx® Reporting, they were able to modify forms using Report Writer, generate electronic documents as output using Acrobat Distiller, and e-mail the reports as attachments. With no need to produce and mail hard copy reports and store the printouts, both labor costs as well as equipment and supply costs have been avoided.


Improved Decision-Making

The power of Microsoft Business Solutions has saved time and labor costs for McCormick & Schmick’s. And because reporting is now quicker, the company is better able to react to cost overruns and can be more proactive in their cost containment efforts.


A Valued Partner Relationship

Yee is complimentary of Reselling Partner InterDyn–Remington Consulting. “They are the lifeblood of our organization. I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do if I didn’t have a partner I could trust who knows my business like I know my business.” He reports that InterDyn–Remington Consulting is always watching for opportunities that allow the company to manage its business better.

Overall Impressions

McCormick & Schmick’s is happy with their 1996 software choice, their decisions to upgrade and add functionality, and their partnership with Microsoft. “I wouldn’t have a job if we didn’t have that product. I’m so glad we made the decision to go with Microsoft Great Plains in 1996—it was the right choice. Microsoft has stepped up to the plate—there’s always been a partnership there. It was evident when we implemented the solution, but it’s even more evident now in the last two years because of the fact that you have a big name [Microsoft] stepping behind another big name [Great Plains]. It’s a universal acceptance program.”


Yee couldn’t convince his company to buy computers in the past. It was the Microsoft Great Plains accounting package’s functionality that paved the way for greater acceptance and use of technology. “The only reason we crossed that bridge was that they saw what we were doing with our accounting package,” Yee says.


Text Box: Software and Services
n	Microsoft Office XP Professional
n	Microsoft Windows XP Professional
n	Microsoft Dynamics
−	Microsoft Business Solutions Analytics
−	Microsoft Business Solutions Financial Management
−	Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains	Partners
n	InterDyn-Remington Consulting

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.com


For more information about InterDyn Remington Consulting products and services, call (503) 222-4600 or visit the Web site at: www.InterDynInc.com


For more information about McCormick & Schmick’s products and services, call (503)226-3440 or visit the Web site at: www.mccormickandschmicks.com


Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.


For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to: