Canyons Fresh Grill is the definition of a neighborhood spot—nestled just off of Main Street in the town of Woodstock, Georgia, the restaurant has been a mainstay since 2008. It’s a family-owned business, combining more than 60 years of entrepreneurial experience to serve its city. Since opening, Canyons has served over a million fresh burgers, salads, shakes, and more to families, youth sports teams, church groups, dating couples, and corporate events. They also opened a sister restaurant, Gameday Fresh Grill, also in Woodstock.
Through the years, the realities of running a restaurant have changed—and Canyons and Gameday along with it. We had the pleasure of chatting with one of the restaurants' partners, Mark Crumpton, to discover how adopting 7shifts as their labor-management platform has helped their business adapt.
Integrating sales and data into scheduling 📊
Before 7shifts, Canyons and Gameday were using a different scheduling platform but were dissatisfied with the lack of regular platform upgrades. Crumpton had a background in tech and knew there was a better way. “since I was in technology for all those years, one thing that 7shifts does that's fascinating to me, is there's almost something brand new to use every couple of weeks.”
When scheduling, Crumpton and his team use 7shifts’ projected sales—which is based on historical sales data that they import from their CAKE Point of Sales system, which integrates with the 7shifts’ platform. And the reports for the team are nearly spot-on:
“When [7shifts’] projects our sales, your bar graphs, and your line graphs are almost, if not, they're 95%. They're almost spot-on…” says Crumpton. From the projected sales in 7shifts, the team adjusts for any anomalies. Things like great (or bad!) weather or a larger than average party size will influence any small adjustments based on the data. Canyons has also seen success in breaking down labor percentages into the back and front of the house to better understand where they may be overstaffed. This is usually 9% for the back of the house and 4% for the front, totally a target of 13%.
By pulling sales data from CAKE and pushing it into 7shifts, Canyons has been able to schedule their team more accurately – saving on labor and ensuring that they are not scheduling team members that end up getting cut. Crumpton estimates that by using 7shifts, Canyons have saved about 15% of their labor costs.
From paper checklists to 7tasks ✅
In addition to scheduling tools, Canyons uses the integrated task management platform – 7tasks – to keep employees accountable for their day-to-day tasks and keep his whole team in sync. 7tasks allows Mark’s servers or bartenders to check off their tasks on their own mobile devices, eliminating the need for a central hub and reducing shared touch surfaces —a major key for the Canyons team in transitioning from pen and paper lists.
Crumpton and his team even use 7tasks to remind managers to check sales and labor numbers at a few key points in the day:
“We use 7tasks to let [managers] know that at 12:00, 3:00, and 6:00, look at it [7shifts] and see how sales are and see where your labor is. If your labor's really, really high after lunch, and it's going to rain tonight, you've got to be careful,” says Crumpton.
In this case, the use of 7tasks has contributed to Canyons’ remarkable 15% labor savings—and it’s made the team run more smoothly in the process. “We use it every day,” says Crumpton.
Never forget another Wing Wednesday 🍗
Communication is always a problem in restaurants with large teams like Canyons. By using 7shifts communication tools, the team has also had a dramatic improvement. The team has it communication divided among departments:
“We can make each manager almost independently have communication with their people or department,” says Crumpton. Each team chats with one another dozens of times per month.
Canyons has also effectively replaced the traditional all-hands pre-shift meeting with global announcements on 7shifts. Every morning, every team member gets an announcement so they know what’s going on during every given day. The subject generally covers events, promotions, or anything that should be kept in mind heading in for a shift. Before September of 2020, the team wasn’t using the announcements feature—now they’re using it every single day.
“So if it's Wing Wednesday, they can't forget, because we're reminding them. If we're having another drink special, they're getting a reminder before the shift. So your communication between the company and its staff, its employees, is a game-changer.” says Crumpton
The Canyons management team had also stretched the possibilities of the 7shifts Manager Log Book. They use it as a central hub for manager communications throughout the day—to the tune of more than 250 entries per month. The team made more than 3,000 logbook entries in 2020 alone. Managers may let others know if an item is out or if someone needs to make a run to the store. “They communicate all day long in our logbook,” says Crumpton.
Shifting roles to adapt 🛍
Before the pandemic, takeout wasn’t a huge part of Canyons business. For the few orders they got, bartenders would handle the packing and handoff. But the pandemic forced them to shift focus and dedicate staff to take care of their increased takeout volume. Now, Canyons has a position in 7shifts called 'Front Desk' that assists in taking care of to-go orders and acting as a host.
A more engaged staff 🗣
Since starting 7shifts, the Canyons team has become not only more productive and efficient but more engaged as well. Mark's team uses the Shift Feedback feature in 7shifts, and that feedback can directly be attributed to less turnover in the restaurant.
“If you have a guy in the back of the house, who's in the kitchen and for some reason tonight he's really struggling. If he just goes home with that, it just builds up and it builds up the next morning, it builds up the next morning. The next thing you know, this guy's leaving, he's turned in his notice,” says Crumpton.
“If he can vent a little bit on his way home on his cell phone when he gets home and he types in there, "Hey, it was a pretty crappy day. I wish it was better. This happened and that happened." We can address that the very next morning,” says Crumpton. With that ability, Crumpton can address the issue for the employee, making their job better and themselves happier knowing that management truly cares.
To the future and franchising 🍔
Canyons is currently working on franchising to bring Canyons’ friendly brand of fresh, fast-casual burgers, shakes, and salads to a town near you. 7shifts is just part of their tool kit to help foster simple, streamlined operations—so much so that it’s a part of their franchise agreement to use every part of the 7shifts labor management platform.
“It's unbelievable the information that we get out of 7shifts and the value that it brings to our organization,” says Crumpton.
“If you said, ‘You can't have 7shifts anymore’ I don't know what we would do.”
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D. J. Costantino
Hi! I'm D.J., 7shifts' resident Content Writer. I come from a family of chefs and have a background in food journalism. I'm always looking for ways to help make the restaurant industry better!