Revolu Taqueria is a modern, full-service restaurant in Peoria Arizona, providing elevated Mexican street food in a full-service restaurant setting.
Owned independently by Deena Gracia and her husband, Jeremiah, they both come from backgrounds that make them the perfect restaurateurs. Deena worked for 14 years as a corporate training manager for CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, traveling around the country to opening restaurants. Jeremiah was the executive chef for the major chain-restaurant, Top Golf, and also worked at the Ritz Carlton in San Diego.
“I’ve always been in restaurants. I’ve always had a great love for the people component, great food, drinks, and fun. Not because I can’t do anything else, but because this is what I love to do.” - Deena Gracia
Nestled in a sea of corporate chains - which is very common in Arizona - Revolu Taqueria easily stands out from the competition. They have great food, great people working for them, and they are a beacon of attention when customers are looking for something new and different.
The story behind Revolu Taqueria is steeped in nostalgia for the husband and wife team. Jeremiah was raised by his maternal grandparents in San Diego, very close to the Mexican border. On the weekends he would go to Tijuana grocery shopping and to enjoy Mexican street food. A main street in Tijuana, Avenida Revolucion (Revolution Avenue), is where all the best street food vendors are located. “His childhood memories of getting street food there are very fond,” says Deena. Jeremiah and Deena both left their corporate jobs and started working on the creation of Revolu Taqueria, a play on words of the original street in Tijuana.
They opened the doors to Revolu Taqueria in December 2016 and now have 35 employees. At the beginning of their business, scheduling was done using Excel, which they would take a picture of and text it to their team on a weekly basis.
“With both of us having that corporate background, we knew that there were better ways to be scheduling. But, we opened our restaurant without any investors or loans and we had a shoestring budget…. so we waited,” recalls Deena. They had been open for a number of months before they knew they needed to evaluate a scheduling tool - the “texting a photo” solution just wasn’t cutting it for their growing business.
“We know the generation we employ and what works best for them. They want things at their fingertips at all times. We needed to speak their language and get a scheduling app.”
Jeremiah came across 7shifts through a Google search and found it was much more fairly priced than HotSchedules. Deena asked him why he didn’t go with HotSchedules, because it was all she knew from her previous career, and he simply said “It’s way too expensive.” Deena admits not only was it expensive, it was very challenging to get a good understand of the forecasting and labour tools HotSchedules offered at the time.
“When my husband found 7shifts, I was very excited because I loved the idea of a simple, nimble scheduling tool. I love how easy it is to use and that you can instantly connect with the 7shifts team.”
Since 7shifts was implemented, Deena and Jeremiah haven’t looked back. They were surprised to find how easy it was to roll the software out to their staff; especially when the kitchen staff started utilizing the app to submit their requests. Deena has never had to train an employee on the app and she loves how she can access 7shifts from wherever she is.
“7shifts makes less work for us to have to do. I can access it wherever - my house, the mall. It’s extremely user friendly.”
On top of the ease-of-use, 7shifts has saved Revolu Taqueria a tremendous amount of time creating the schedule, going from hours per week to only 15 minutes. “It’s easy to use last week’s schedule to create next week’s. Copy it, make minor adjustments for in/out times, and if an employee was scheduled who has time off it’s super easy to change,” says Deena.
And because they use TouchBistro, an integrated POS partner of 7shifts, Deena is now more mindful that ever of the peak times of their business. “We didn’t have historical data to input because we were so new, but now that we’re in our second year of business, we’re able to manage it better and we know our business better with the data”, says Deena.
Communication has also drastically improved throughout Revolu and Deena specifically loves that she can send out Announcements to specific groups of people at the restaurant. “I can just click my server group to let them know about a new contest, or whatever is new. I’m not at the restaurant all the time so 7shifts really allows me to keep the communication open remotely for everyone, because everyone is dialed into it.
Revolu Taqueria has big plans of expansion in the future. “We will definitely be taking 7shifts with us to our next location,” says Deena.
Deena’s scheduling advice she can offer to peers in the industry is to schedule 2-3 weeks in advance. “Millennials thrive on knowing what their life looks like, and being able to have a work-life balance is the most important to them. Figure out what’s most important to your team - if it’s something as simple as the schedule and their availability - then you comply, because you get so much more from your employees as a result”, says Deena.