Conshy Girls Restaurant Group began when owners, Kim Strengari and Marianne Gere met 20 years ago and decided to open a restaurant together. Today, with 4 locations and a full service catering business, Conshy Girls have become a staple in the Philadelphia restaurant scene. Their restaurants include Stella Blu, Gypsy Saloon, Southern Cross Kitchen and Gypsy Blu – their newest addition which is just over 2 years old.
The concept of the Conshy Girls restaurants’ revolves around the idea of making guests feel like they’ve entered their friend’s homes. They have regular customers who greet the staff with hugs and even have managers’ cell phone numbers for booking reservations. “We have great service and great food. It’s like coming to our dinner party every night.” says Sarah. With a focus on hospitality, they provide each customer with a personal touch – by remembering names or a guest’s birthday.
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Sarah Halcovage is the Director of Operations for all 4 locations and got into the business after completing her degree in Hospitality Management. She worked a few different jobs before meeting the owners of the Conshy Girls Group, who hired her for the General Manager of Gypsy Blu. After two years she was promoted to Director of Operations for the restaurant group which allows her to act as GM for all four restaurants.
How the Conshy Girls Solved Their Scheduling Problem
Before Sarah came on board, staff scheduling was old-school. Pen and paper were the tools and staff communication took place on every channel: phone, text, email, in person, and Facebook. Sarah wanted to ensure Gypsy Blu bumped the trend and began researching scheduling software to help them out. She reached out to HotSchedules, Schedulefly and 7shifts – doing demos to see what each company offered. She ultimately chose 7shifts because of the personal connection provided. “You were always reaching out to see if we had any questions and provide great support.”
After using 7shifts at Gypsy Blu for 3 months, Sarah decided to pitch it (using a pitch deck) to the owners. Kim and Marianne saw how much time it was going to save, so it was a no-brainer for their restaurant group. They rolled 7shifts out to all of their locations and haven’t looked back since. With employees who work at various locations, 7shifts has significantly decreased the scheduling time. “We have some employees who work at all 4 locations. I just did the schedule for our biggest one, 50 staff, and it took me less than 10 minutes,” says Sarah.
“7shifts has made us more efficient – it’s such a time saver and so easy to use. No more flipping through books to see time off, it’s all contained in one place.”
Sarah admits 7shifts has also helped with daily operations and communication within Conshy Girls. If Sarah receives a text or call request from an employee, she’ll let them know to put it through 7shifts.
“It doesn’t exist until it’s in 7shifts and everything with regards to scheduling and communication needs to be done through the app. Our labor percentage has decreased significantly since using 7shifts. I’m more aware of the schedule, it’s right in the palm of my hand.”
7shifts recently launched a sales data integration with Breadcrumb, the POS used by Conshy Girls, which helps control labor costs by pre-populating the actual and projected sales right into the 7shifts budget tool.
“I would recommend 7shifts to everyone, especially for the unbelievable customer service. It has been a saviour for me in my role of overseeing 4 restaurants. I don’t know where I’m going to be in any given day, so having 7shifts has been a godsend.”
2017 is a year of internal growth for Conshy Girls, but Sarah admits things could easily change with Conshy Girls always growing. Her scheduling advice to peers in the industry is: “do your scheduling in advance, but not too far! Our schedule is released every Wednesday for the following week.”
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