Rapid Fire: What Is Operations Strategy and Data Analytics?

In this short series, we help you get some honest, behind-the-scenes details about what different jobs are really like from mid-career professionals across a variety of functions, industries, and companies.

The 6 short questions are based on our What Does This Job Entail framework and are a great way to gain quick insights about a job, and build an in-depth analysis for to prepare your resume, cover letter, or interview preparation. Let's dig in and learn some more about the job function above. 

What's your name?

Amanda Duggan

What's your title or function?

Operations Strategy and Data Analytics

What industry do you work in?

Food and Beverage

What led you to this career path?

One of my passions is Sustainability. During a sustainability conference in business school, one speaker noted that "We'll know sustainability is successful when it is integrated into all roles, similar to the way workplace safety is everyone's responsibility no matter what job function you have." That perspective struck me as very powerful--that instead of being in a position that needed to persuade others to take action, I could be in the driver's seat. Coming from a non-profit marketing background, I decided to spend the first years after business school in traditional roles that were close to the P&L, while still working for organizations that had strong sustainability potential.

When you started in this job function where did you need to get up to speed?

This is my first role in a restaurant business. I have been here 1.5 years and I am still learning so much about the industry and it's unique challenges.

When you started in this job function where did you hit the ground running?

I was familiar with data, statistics, and how to communicate results into actionable recommendations.

What does your day-to-day work look like?

My role sits within the finance department as a support resource for our Operations Services team. I use data to evaluate cafe operations and recommend actions to improve order speed and accuracy, customer experience, and margin. I conduct test vs control analysis of new initiatives to validate that our assumptions about the initiative are correct and bring to light any concerns before we roll out to the full organization. I also collaborate with Ops Services team members to think about what our cafes will look like in the future, plan what steps we need to take to get there., and provide insight on what that means for financial performance.

What are some of the challenges that you run into in your role?

Trying to get "clean" data sets is nearly impossible. There are so many factors that can impact results one way or another. It leads to a lot of ambiguity based on assumptions that we have to make contingencies for.

What types of questions are you asking regularly in your role?

Usually a lot of follow ups on running new tests--which cafes are testing? What processes are affected? What is our expected outcome? What decisions will be made based on the results?

What's your favorite piece of career advice you've received?

Stay curious, and be open to different opportunities. You never know where things might lead.

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