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US food chain outsourcing IT to India

Church's Chicken is transferring ops like application devpt and consultancy to Sonata Software Ltd in India.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2007 11:06 IST

US fast-food chain Church's Chicken is planning to outsource more IT functions to Sonata Software Ltd in India, including application development and IT consulting.

The decision is a result of cost savings and the high quality of service that the company has already received from Sonata, said Harsha Agadi, president and CEO of Church's Chicken, an Atlanta-based chain.

The fast food franchise moved its IT infrastructure management about a year ago from IBM to Sonata, a midsize outsourcing company. The deal was worth$5 million over five years.

The company has saved about 40 per cent of its IT infrastructure management costs by offshoring to Sonata, Agadi said in an interview IDG.Net.

The savings that Sonata is generating has freed up cash for Church's Chicken to open 20 new restaurants that will generate about USD 20 million of sales annually, Agadi said.

The global restaurant company, which hit the billion dollar mark in business in 2006, plans doubling the size of the company and increase the revenues to USD two billion within five years.

Church's Chicken has more than 1,500 stores in 18 countries that it manages centrally from Atlanta to ensure efficiencies in procurement and to ensure consistency across its operations including IT.

"What we needed was an IT partner who not only would host and manage our infrastructure and give us 24/7 service, but who would [also] understand and partner with us in our business," Agadi said.

Most of the management and support is done remotely from Hyderabad, where Sonata also runs a Spanish-language help desk for Church's Chicken Spanish-speaking employees, said B Ramaswamy, president and managing director at Sonata.

Sonata has about 25 staffers in India working on this project, in addition to five employees in the US, he added.

About a month ago, Sonata also started running the management information system for Church's Chicken, including providing daily sales figures and analysis by region and country, Agadi said.

The company now plans to offshore to Sonata the enhancement of its point-of-sales systems, software for data management and business intelligence products, he added.

Church's Chicken has grown exponentially since the 1952 grand opening of its first location in San Antonio, Texas.

Initially intended to be a privately-owned local business in Texas, Church's Chicken moved into the publicly-traded, national market in 1969.

Now with more than 35,000 employees, Churches Chicken is the fourth largest chicken franchise organization in the United States.

First Published: Jan 04, 2007 11:06 IST