Andy’s Frozen Custard is well known for delicious treats and superb service. Rocking the custard scene with 55 locations throughout the United States, Andy’s started from humble beginnings.
Andy's Frozen Custard's Road to Success
The first location opened in 1986, run by John and Carol Kuntz and their son, Andy, in a small vacation town in Missouri. They were looking for a change and learned about the custard business from their friends who owned a successful custard shop.
The Kuntz’s first store was located in a seasonal beach town, but they wanted something year round. The following year, they sold the original location and relocated to Springfield, Missouri, to open up shop there.
Andy’s Springfield location grew fast, so the Kuntz’s opened another one a few years later, and another a few years after that. The family-run business was so successful that it attracted franchise interest. They started working on a franchise system, and out of the current 55 stores, about half of them are franchise. They are set to open another 15 next year with a good mix of corporate and franchise. It is still run by the Kuntz’s and remains a family-orientated, great-feeling company.
The Director of Store Operations, Travis Leaming, started out with Andy’s Frozen Custard as a store manager 9 years ago. He now oversees the 25 corporate locations and helps out where he can for all 55. With a hospitality degree and food-service background, he came across a job posting for Andy’s when he was checking the website for his favorite seasonal flavor. He sent in his resume and received a call the next day. Travis says, “We put a lot of time and effort into really making a family culture. We have one of the lowest turnover rates in any quick-serve restaurant I’ve seen. I’ve been here 9 years and I’m a baby compared to others.”
“We believe in 3 things: We take care of our product – the custard, we take care of our crew – each other, and if we do those things right, our customers are taken care of.” – Travis Leaming
Andy’s Frozen Custard is sharply focused on the quality of the product. All custard at Andy’s is made fresh every hour, whereas most custard places make it once a day or less. The commitment to freshness is what sets Andy’s apart—their custard is always at peak flavor and made with the best ingredients. “We have a speed and experience of our environment that feels great and sets us apart from the competition. We don’t ask our guests how things are going, we ask how things are feeling,” says Travis.
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Travis knew a change was needed when Andy’s was on the verge of rapid expansion. He had no idea how they would oversee all of the schedules. “Managers were scanning and sending them via email. It wasn’t feasible,” says Travis. “We were living in the stone age with paper scheduling, writing it out by hand.”
“I don’t know what we were thinking with paper scheduling. 7shifts has opened up our entire world.”
Managing Expansion with Scheduling Software
About 2 years ago, Travis started searching online for the best scheduling software option. Being a family business, the focus was on budget. He researched a couple solutions, then came across 7shifts. He felt 7shifts suited their needs well as far as the 7-day workweek and the Manager Log Book. He was able to roll all of their systems into one since, at the time, they were using a separate log book. “We did about 4 different software tests, but 7shifts really won out,” recalls Travis.
“7shifts is targeted towards the hospitality and restaurant business, whereas everything else is targeted to all industries, which is very complicated. 7shifts fit our needs.”
Andy’s Frozen Custard was focusing on employee engagement at the time of the change and loved the fact that 7shifts has mobile apps. After 7shifts was implemented, employee engagement was high for scheduling and employee morale increased almost instantly. Travis says it’s made it easy for a new manager to get into the rhythm of scheduling at Andy’s. “Nothing gets past the managers in 7shifts, but as long as we can make it look like we’re giving the employees full control, that’s a great experience.”
“7shifts created a sense that the schedule is no longer a dreaded moment and people kinda know what to expect now. A much better sense of expectations being set on both sides.”
The time Andy’s managers spent on creating schedules has reduced drastically since they implemented 7shifts. Before, the average time for schedule creation was 2 hours using a spreadsheet, but with 7shifts, even a junior manager can create the schedule in less than an hour. “If someone missed a shift or called in sick, it always fell on the manager to find someone to cover the shift. With 7shifts, we now hold our team accountable, but the managers still have the final say.” Travis has seen how 7shifts has freed up time for his managers to be on the floor with guests and the crew.
“The biggest change 7shifts brought was the employee experience. That’s what we wanted it to do and we can see the results.”
As Andy’s Frozen Custard continues to grow and add more locations, they are able to keep their labour costs low using 7shifts. Prior to their big growth period, senior managers were productive with the labour they had. With more locations, they now have fewer experienced managers, but 7shifts allows them to have more oversight and create the schedule in an efficient way.
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7shifts has freed up extra time for their managers while putting the accountability on the employees. Travis admits it’s also reduced no-shows and employees calling in sick. “We set very high expectations—it’s on the employees to have accountability for their shifts. Everything is at their fingertips with the mobile app, so there are no excuses anymore.” The communication within Andy’s is now better than it was before 7shifts.
“With 7shifts, we have much more controlled shifts than we did before. It wasn’t bad, but now we know it’s much better.”
What’s next for Andy’s Frozen Custard? They want to continue promoting memories every day and do it in more locations. Travis strives to have business plans done at a higher level and continue providing a great working environment for their employees. They don’t overcomplicate things and they keep it simple. “It comes down to 3 things: we serve the best custard with the best people to the best customers,” says Travis.
“We believe in meeting expectations, and when we talk about scheduling we realize that we’re scheduling someone’s life. Especially young adults with a lot going on in their lives. 7shifts has allowed us to allow our team to have a say in their schedule. It’s created a much better employee experience than a paper schedule getting posted on the wall,” says Travis.