In 2012 the search began for a property in Zurich, Switzerland, to create a restaurant with a concept not yet seen in the city before. The General Manager of this yet-to-be-opened restaurant, Nick Silvestri, and team came across an old property on the outskirts of Zurich which used to host militrants for dining 50-60 years ago. The building was a rundown Swiss cantina-style building, but it had potential. So, after a lot of cleaning and organizing, it became known as Zurich’s only farm-to-table restaurant, Fork & Bottle.
The historic building is only a 6 minute train ride from downtown Zurich and is well-known by locals and the expat community alike. The scenery is remarkable; Surrounded by green fields, mountains in the distance, and a little farm housing horses and goats right next door. Boasting a large garden area with 275 seats, it’s a relaxing and beautiful setting complete with intense greenery, garden lights, picnic tables, and patio furniture.
“We turned a rough, out-of-date property into a very trendy eating place for expats and locals.” says Nick, “We’ve taken the farm to table concept to another level.”
For Fork & Bottle, word of mouth has been the primary means of marketing, and has been so effective that they have not done any traditional marketing to-date. Without it, they seem to have no trouble hosting an American style brunch on Saturdays and Sundays for anywhere from 400-700 people. The seats fill up fast and stay that way for hours.
“We’ve also formed a really nice workplace for the staff members. They enjoy coming to work, it’s a fun place, and all of our employees have been here for over 3 years,” says Nick. They now have a staff of 19 employees, and the love of the place really shows through.
In 2016, Nick felt the business was getting to a place where a labor management tool was required. He headed online and immediately came across 7shifts, which he admits has been a lifesaver. “I got really lucky with 7shifts. I found it, used the free trial, and didn’t have to look anywhere else. It has everything I was looking for,” says Nick.
“7shifts fell into my lap and I fell in love with it.”
Being the General Manager, Nick’s time is precious and does not come easily. He is a busy guy and 7shifts has made staffing very easy, which is usually very difficult.
“I dove into 7shifts and was impressed by the ease of use and efficiency of it. It’s been a blessing and really made my life a lot easier.”
Nick no longer has to involve himself when staff want to switch shifts or when they want to see the schedule since it’s all at their fingertips with the 7shifts mobile app. “It takes so many things off my plate. Month end is easier too. It used to take me hours and hours, now it takes no time,” says Nick.
“Efficiency is the biggest benefit to being a 7shifts client. My scheduling time is down 50-60% from what it was before.”
Nick and his staff at Fork & Bottle have noticed many positive changes to communication within the business due to 7shifts. For example, with the large garden area, the restaurant is very weather dependent in the summer. Nick no longer has to call or email employees when shifts are cancelled due to weather, he says, “I write notes while scheduling and if necessary, can cut people’s shift with the click of a mouse. Before 7shifts I did my scheduling on paper, and it’s just so much easier now.”
7shifts has been used at Fork & Bottle for 2 years now, and Nick has also reaped the benefits in his labor costs. The labor budget tool is helpful for him when creating the schedule.
“I enter the projected and actual sales, it helps keep my labor costs down and it’s easy to maintain,” says Nick.
Fork & Bottle's staff also enjoy 7shifts just as much as Nick. “The platform is exceptionally easy and efficient for them to use which is equally as important as the management liking it,” says Nick. The employees like how they no longer have to consult Nick for mundane scheduling practices like viewing the schedules, seeing the hours they’ve worked, or switching shifts. In return, Nick saves time and is no longer contacted through text messages, emails, phone calls on his days off, or the seemingly endless amount of sticky notes.
“The staff really love 7shifts too. Can’t forget about that.”
Future plans for Nick and the team involve expanding their operation and opening up more restaurants. The details are currently being worked on while they look for property.
“We’re looking for property for new restaurants to open and the first thing I’ll be bringing with me is 7shifts.”
Nick offers this scheduling advice to his peers in the industry, “Be fair, be consistent, and keep the business the number one priority. Keep the doors open and it benefits everyone. You can’t make everyone happy at all times.”