Birdcall, Park Burger and Home Grown are a 3-concept restaurant operation that began in Denver in 2009. Jean-Philippe Failyau opened the first Park Burger near the University of Denver, and now, 8 years later, has grown the operation to a 3-concept, 10-location business.
Park Burger and sibling restaurants Birdcall and Homegrown are now fast-expanding across the state, with each concept boasting a multi-unit operation, with new locations on the horizon. The Birdcall concept, in particular, prides itself on its innovation and disruption of the dining experience. Birdcall relies heavily on smart technology to streamline operations and provide a nearly human-free, lightning-speed experience for consumers. Orders are placed by customers outside at yellow kiosks and picked up inside from a cubby with an assigned number attached — no human interaction necessary.
The value placed on innovation and technology by the Birdcall team led the restaurant to seek out like-minded partners to help them integrate new technologies into their operations, which brought them to 7shifts. What started as a simple need for improved employee scheduling lead them to so much more—Park Burger was able to reduce labor cost by 4% and improved labor productivity by 31%, while Birdcall improved employee punctuality by 86%.
Here’s the story of how Birdcall and Park Burger revolutionized their operations in three key areas with 7shifts: employee communication, accountability, and labor cost control.
Optimizing Team Communication
By utilizing 7shifts for scheduling and labor management, we have found that clients experience a 70% reduction in calls and texts traded by employees and managers. Streamlining the communication into one platform allows for better conversation tracking, simplifies communication, and encourages employees to engage with their team. With Birdcall and Park Burger employing such a young workforce (our survey found that over 60% of employees fall between 16-25 years-old), instant communication is critical for running an efficient operation. Plus, with Birdcall’s unique concept design means that staff communication is key to keeping the business running smoothly and efficiently.
“Our service side needs to talk to each other. When servers want to get shifts covered and trade shifts, it tends to happen quite a lot, so communication is big. 7shifts is really neat because you guys have a lot of communication options—you have the phone in there, the SMS, and you can also direct message. Communication is a plus.”
—TJ McReynolds, Area Director
The need for communication in the restaurant goes beyond just the employee level—managers need to keep a pulse on the day-to-day operations and performance of the restaurant. Prior to 7shifts, the Birdcall and Park Burger teams kept a Google Doc to note daily activity which was overwritten every night, leaving no trace to track historical performance. The restaurant team found that their management communication was revolutionized by 7shifts Manager Log Book, which allowed them to track activity notes over time, and keep all managers in-the-know.
Before 7shifts, managers were using Google Docs and filling in a worksheet every day. It was actually just one document that we rewrote every day—we didn’t track any of the data and the information was gone the second we wrote over it. The Manager Log Book has been huge for us. It’s nice to track the historical data and sales and notes, which we knew we wanted, and to have it all in one place with 7shifts is great. We now have a communication channel for management and operations teams to check in on operations on a daily basis. That’s crucial for us.
Beyond just communication, the integration of 7shifts into the workplace had many more employee-centric benefits for the restaurant.
Improving Staff Accountability and Reducing Late Times
Considering that over 60% of restaurant workers are between 16 and 25, another major issue restaurateurs—and Birdcall in particular—face is the accountability and punctuality of staff. Budgets and forecasts are most effective when the scheduled hours match the actual worked hours, and even minor employee tardiness can add up to hundreds of hours and dollars lost for a restaurant over the course of a month.
The restaurant industry is challenging—we have a lot of students. With the nature of the industry, there’s a lot of no-shows, and communication isn’t great. What 7shifts and the employee app brings to the table is fewer excuses—an employee can’t say they didn’t see their schedule, that’s not something we’re going to accept. 7shifts is a great tool and they have access to their schedule any time they need it, and they can communicate with people to get their shifts covered. It creates more accountability for their schedule.
In fact, by utilizing 7shifts and our free, integrated time-clocking tool 7punches, Birdcall was able to reduce average employee late time from over 12 minutes to less than 2 minutes in just 5 months.
With 7shifts and 7punches, Birdcall could keep employees accountable to their schedule with the mobile app and minimize the opportunity to take advantage of sicks days and no-shows. With the near-elimination of employee tardiness, Birdcall could put more trust in their scheduled hours and be able to improve their productivity drastically.
Reducing Labor Cost and Growing Labor Productivity
Park Burger integrated its 7shifts account with their Toast POS, which allowed them to sync sales and labor data to make better scheduling decisions and reduce labor costs. This integration allowed Park Burger to more reliably hit their labor targets and schedule more efficiently to reduce their labor cost percentage.
Over a 7 month period, two Park Burger locations saw a labor cost reduction of 2.6% and 4% respectively. This is huge for the restaurant industry, where volatile labor costs can make or break revenue targets—and success.
Additionally, by using 7shifts, Park Burger saw an increase in their labor productivity by 31% in one location and 39% in their other location. Labor productivity is the metric of sales per labor hour—how many dollars of revenue was associated with each scheduled labor hour.
This means that Park Burger earned, on average, $1.40 in sales per labor hour when they signed up with 7shifts, and grew that to $2 per labor hour. Each of their scheduled labor hours became 35% more productive and ultimately grew their margins.
To put this into perspective, let’s say that Park Burger has 6 employees scheduled for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. In month 1, they would have earned an average of $470/week from that schedule. In month 7, that exact same schedule week and labor hours would have earned Park Burger $670.
The free integration between 7shifts and Toast POS allowed Park Burger to sync sales and labor data to create accurate forecasts that informed optimal scheduling. The variance between actual and forecast sales for Park Burger was always less than 4%—giving Park Burger an average forecast accuracy of over 95%. An accurate forecast ensures that smart scheduling decisions can be made to improve labor productivity and reduce labor cost.
7shifts has helped us with our labor targets a lot. It’s been something we had to improve on as a company. 7shifts does a great job of giving us better eyes on our labor targets with the Budget tool that’s built-in. Several of our operations are using it, as forecasting itself takes time and training.
Embracing Technology at Birdcall
As a chicken-sandwich shop designed to eliminate most of the front-of-house duties, and automate as much as possible to provide a speedy and efficient dining experience, Birdcall is definitely unique, and an early adopter of new restaurant technology.
This interest in restaurant revolution through technology is exactly why they came to 7shifts to manage their restaurant scheduling and team communication. Prior to 7shifts, Birdcall was a client of ScheduleFly, but the direction of ScheduleFly and their lack of updates to the software wasn’t a perfect match for the Birdcall team.
ScheduleFly was a simple, straightforward scheduling tool. But a lot of what we focus on is surrounding ourselves and working with people that are being innovative, and 7shifts aligned with that. The facilitation of your own growth and growth of other companies—those are the kinds of companies we like to work with.
TJ McReynolds joined the operation four years ago as the GM, and has held a variety of roles before settling into the role of Area Director of Birdcall. McReynolds championed the discovery and implementation of 7shifts across all of the 3-concepts’ locations, and they have been with 7shifts for over 6 months.
When it came to making the switch, there are tools within 7shifts that we needed, so it made sense. The Manager Log Book was a big one. We hadn’t come across an easy way to communicate with each other, so the Manager Log Book allowed us to have a central location to leave notes and talk about the day. The Budget tool that we’re just diving into, labor is expensive and any good business is going to want to monitor that in an effective way.
As the operation has grown, 7shifts has been vital in keeping the corporate level in-the-loop with regards to their restaurant performance across all concepts and locations.
7shifts has been a very valuable tool for our operation across our multiple units. Being able to manage and oversee our labor goals and percentages in real time has proven to be an incredible tool and has definitely helped our company save money. We're now more efficient in how we monitor and manage each operation through 7shifts. Having most recently worked with ScheduleFly, I was very impressed with the communication tools that 7shifts offered, and we saw results in our bottom line. It's been a great transition for us.
The Future with Park Burger, Birdcall, and 7shifts
This success story is only the beginning for the 3-concept restaurant operation, as the 7shifts feature list continues to grow and the restaurant concepts continue to expand into new locations. Being able to provide the above-store reports that the corporate team needs, as well as the communication channel for employees and managers to stay in-sync, is only one way 7shifts can help streamline the operational side of the restaurant business for Birdcall and Park Burger so the management team can focus on the things that really matter—their guests.
What I’ve loved about 7shifts is the customer service—how you’re active, involved, the ease of implementation with your support teams doing all the work for us. We gave you our ScheduleFly logins and it was just done. The implementation has been seamless. The restaurant industry is very dynamic and labor-intensive, so the easier it is the better. At the end of the day, what we’re trying to focus on is our guests, so the ability to get us out in front and talking to our customers more is important.