Doug Pak founded BLD Brands in late 2005. He raised more than $20 million and used it to buy the Spaghetti Warehouse and later, Papa John’s and Hardees franchises. BLD stands for “Building Lives and Dreams.”
In 2017, with a plan to double his restaurant holdings through acquisitions, Pak hired Andy Gale, a longtime friend and CEO of numerous high-growth firms. They soon decided together, however, that the timing wasn’t right for Pak’s growth plan.
“We realized we just didn’t have the infrastructure that would allow us to reasonably absorb this acquisition,” says Gale, now BLD Brands’ CEO.
BLD Brands was running an unsupported version of Sage Pro and operating with eight different charters of accounts and four different accounting calendars as a result of prior acquisitions. Numerous intercompany transactions and consolidations made it challenging to bring them all into a single audited entity. In addition to running siloed accounting systems and three different point-of-sale systems, four people manually entered about 90,000 invoices a year.
Bringing those systems together required three in-house developers to create proprietary desktop and mobile applications that BLD used for managing communication and approvals, among other operations. Those applications pulled information from a data warehouse into which all financial data was then added.
“We needed a standardized platform and a good state-of-the-art ERP package to support business growth.”
An ERP Veteran Speeds Implementation
A veteran of numerous ERP implementations, Gale says that the one at BLD Brands was his first that began with a need for a strong financial base. “I did a lot of research, reading reports from Nucleus Research and Gartner, and found reviews in various trade journals specifically for financial packages,” Gale says. “I kept seeing and reading about Acumatica winning awards.”
Acumatica ended up on a final-four list that included NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and Intacct. “We went through a full evaluation process with three series of selections, and when we got to the final round, we had four finalists,” he says.