Pavement Coffeehouse is known by Bostonians for being a friendly, quick-serve breakfast chain serving delicious coffee and bagels in a unique, comfy setting. It is especially popular amongst students as Pavement’s cafés are located near the various colleges around Boston.
Pavement’s 6 locations are owned by Larry Margulies who originally started with a bagel shop in Boston prior to opening the first Pavement Coffeehouse location. Since then they have grown steadily and are currently working on 2 more stores which are slated to open later in 2018. One location will be a new café and the other a commissary with a bakery, roasting facility, and café in one.
Andy LoPilato is the Director of Operations at Pavement Coffeehouse and has been with the company for the past 6 years. Prior to coming on board, he worked with Starbucks, and an independent specialty coffee roaster in Western Massachusetts.
Coffee and Bagels Galore at Pavement Coffeehouse
“At Pavement we serve really great coffee and really great bagels in a warm and cozy place,” says Andy. They roast their own coffee and the bagels are handmade in-house, from scratch, and kettle boiled.
Andy admits this is part of the reason for the success of Pavement Coffeehouse, “Some places have a great bakery concept and others have a great coffee concept, but we focus on both to give our customers the full coffeehouse experience. We also spend a lot of time training our baristas on how to make and serve great coffee.”
Scheduling Issues No More
Prior to 7shifts, Andy used When I Work and When2Work, each for a couple of years. The interface of these apps changed over time, and he was never able to view multiple locations or schedules across the board until he signed up with 7shifts. “From my perspective, being able to have an overview of the schedule and weave in and out of store schedules to see what everyone is doing on a weekly basis, is very important,” says Andy, “That was what attracted me to 7shifts. The interface is clean, it’s not overly complicated, it’s not cartoonish.”
“From a Director point of view, I feel better about this software than I have in the past because it is more professional, more useful, and more reliable.”
Having used Square POS for the past 5 years, Andy was happy to hear 7shifts integrated with his point of sales. “It’s nice to have the historical sales information which help my managers understand the forecasted numbers,” says Andy. He emphasizes to his management team the importance of predicting and planning for future sales based on past sales numbers. The Square and 7shifts integration has only been in place for a couple months at Pavement Coffeehouse, but Andy notes that having sales data while scheduling is already proving extremely valuable to his team.
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“Being the Director of Operations, I don’t build the schedules, but I do work with my managers and tell them how to use business data to help build the schedules,” says Andy, “I want my managers to look at sales numbers and understand them, I want them interacting with those numbers on a daily basis.” He also coaches them to look at current trends, what last year’s trends were, and what they can change to be more operationally efficient.
This increase reliance on data in scheduling has also led to a positive impact on labor. Andy says it’s due in part to the weekly budget tool and also the weather forecasting within the software. “I like managers to note what the weathers going to be for the next schedule. If a manager notices it’s going to rain and cuts labor by an hour, that makes a difference for our business. The visual reminder that weather is a factor is a great cue.”
“The 7shifts user interface and Square POS integration was what attracted me to 7shifts in the first place.”
He says each manager no longer has the frustration they used have while making schedules and they have an easier time with it. “My managers have fewer obstacles in building their schedule because of 7shifts. It’s easier to see things, it’s very clean,” says Andy.
“There’s less of a headache in building the schedule in fewer clicks and that’s going to save time inherently.”
In addition to saving time on scheduling, communication has also improved across all Pavement Coffeehouse locations. Before 7shifts they used the messaging platforms built into their scheduling tools, but Andy recalls it wasn’t reliable so it wasn’t used as much as it is now. “I would say in store communication has definitely increased with the messaging in 7shifts because it’s just better.”
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“Our staff likes 7shifts better. All in all the software makes it feel more like a unified company for us. In our communication and in our presentation of our schedule to the employees.”
What does Andy think the biggest benefit to being a 7shifts client is? “Ease of use. Having the software not be an obstacle itself in building your schedule is huge. It’s what I’m looking for in my scheduling software and 7shifts offers useful tools that I can use or not use. It gives me a helpful picture of how I’ve built my schedule and what my impact is going to be.”
“I don’t want a lot of bells and whistles. I want that to disappear into the software and 7shifts does that really well.”
Since 7shifts is still fairly new to him, Andy plans on using the 7shifts events calendar a lot more in the near future. He likes the clean way of presenting the events and the fact that events can be presented across multiple locations. He admits he didn’t put much thought into the events before, but now is thinking about he can use it across all Pavement Coffeehouse locations to help streamline operations.
Looking into the future, Andy says Pavement Coffeehouse will spend the next couple of years growing and nurturing their existing locations. It took 2-3 years of planning to be able to construct their 6th and 7th locations, so want to make sure these new locations are as successful as possible before exploring new locations and opportunities.