How Fresh Restaurants Reduced Their Labor Cost by 12% in One Year with 7shifts

How Fresh Restaurants Reduced Their Labor Cost by 12% in One Year with 7shifts
Dew Smith

By Dew Smith

Fresh Restaurants is Toronto’s original go-to source for modern plant-based food. From cold-pressed juice to craft cocktails, this unique restaurant operation has been providing Canadians with healthy and delicious alternatives for over 20 years.

Fresh Restaurants has grown from one to six locations in its lifetime, and they’re far from finished. To streamline that growth, the Fresh team knew they needed to find a labor management solution that not only simplified their scheduling and communication, but also aligned with their company values. Plus, with their new expansion into the United States, they needed to ensure their operational and scheduling processes were fully labor compliant to avoid any fines.

This is how Fresh Restaurants leveraged 7shifts to schedule their 400 staff across all of their locations, grow their sales vs. labor hours (labor productivity) by 13%, and drop their labor cost by 12% in their first year chain-wide.

Searching for a user-friendly scheduling solution

Fresh Restaurants came to 7shifts at the end of 2018, when their existing scheduling tool had become a pain point in their growth rather than a solution—lacking the reporting functionality, user-friendly interface, and communication features they needed to scale. Fresh knew they had to find a new scheduling solution that suited their needs.

Their main goal was to find a new scheduling system that:

  • Simplified their scheduling and communication practices
  • Was accessible to all members of their team through mobile devices
  • Generated the robust sales and labor reports they needed, and
  • Helped facilitate staff availability management and shift-swapping

When they adopted 7shifts in late 2018, they knew they had found a solution that worked for them and their growing team.

Simplifying scheduling for Fresh Restaurants 🗓️

The Fresh management team uses 7shifts’ easy drag-and-drop schedule builder to schedule their 400 staff across their 6 locations, which can be a daunting task.

There are many factors that come into play with scheduling a restaurant—not only how many staff you’ll need to serve the guests, but also who has time off, what each staff can work through the week, and any upcoming events in the restaurant to plan for. 7shifts provided Fresh with the tools they needed to plan ahead to build labor-perfect schedules.

  • Fresh employees submit their time-off and availability through the free mobile app for managers to approve. Fresh staff submitted over 3,000 time-off requests in 2019, so staff are only scheduled for shifts they can work.
  • If an employee can’t work an upcoming shift, they can offer them up in the Shift Pool and other team members can bid on them to get extra hours. In September of 2019 alone, Fresh staff swapped over 550 shifts—if management had to coordinate shift changes through paper and pen, this could have meant hours spent on communication and schedule updates.
  • To ensure their restaurant is properly staffed for local event crowds, Fresh used Events in 7shifts. Fresh plans for nearly 20 events every month, from concerts and festivals to sporting events. By tracking the events in 7shifts, managers can assign extra shifts to ensure their clients get the same high-quality of service.
Food and drink at Fresh
Fresh Restaurants

How perfect staff schedules reduced Fresh’s labor cost by 12%

Perfect scheduling means that your restaurant is never over- or under-staffed. While planning events, time-off requests, and availability ahead of time helps make more optimal schedules, it’s hard to predict what the future will hold—if you don’t have the right tools. That’s why 7shifts integrates with dozens of leading POS systems to help restaurants predict their future sales to schedule more efficiently.

By integrating their Micros POS, sales and labor data was automatically synced between the systems to forecast sales, generate reports, and allow for more optimal staff scheduling at Fresh. Additionally, their integration allowed them to enforce staff schedules, which eliminated un-budgeted labor hours and time theft.

Fresh Restaurants' sales forecasting with 7shifts

Sales were forecast for Fresh at 95% accuracy, which allowed managers to accurately assess their labor needs for the week and schedule staff accordingly. By using the Labor Budget tool, which itself had a 95% accuracy rate, adding shifts to the schedule would show managers how far off they were from their labor target.

With projects automatically generated, managers are able to build schedules that not only meet their labor targets, but factor in overtime, availability, and time-off to reduce their labor cost percentage overall.

Graph showing Fresh's reduced their labor cost over time by using 7shifts

Over their first 8 months with 7shifts, Fresh Restaurants reduced their labor cost by 12%—by 3.5 percentage points across all locations.

Graph showing Fresh Restaurants' increasing labor productivity over time using 7shifts

Due to their more efficient schedules built with 7shifts’ labor budgeting tool, Fresh’s labor productivity (sales per labor hour) grew by 13%.

3 ways Fresh streamlined team communication with 7shifts 💬

Communication is huge for restaurants, yet many businesses rely on juggling calls and texts or even using personal third-party apps like WhatsApp or Facebook messenger to communicate with their team. 7shifts offers a variety of built-in communication tools like chats, Announcements, employee requests, and a Manager Log Book to help centralize communication and improve restaurant efficiency.

Here’s how Fresh revolutionized their team communication with 7shifts.

Stats about how Fresh Restaurants use 7shifts' communication tools

1. Staying connected with their team with Chats and Announcements

The Fresh team keeps their 400-person staff connected with 7shifts’ built-in communication tools like Chat and Announcements. Each Fresh location sends 70+ chats per month to their staff in direct and group messages, and makes 56 company-wide Announcements every month to keep their team in-the-know about things like schedule changes, new hires, and staff events.

2. Keeping management in-sync with the Manager Log Book

Fresh uses the Manager Log Book to keep their entire management team—from GMs to lead bartenders—up-to-speed with the daily operations of each location. In fact, each Fresh Restaurant location makes over 10 log book entries per day, which would be a lot to stay on top of through texts or extensive email threads.

2. Planning ahead with shift swaps and time-off requests

Fresh staff were empowered with free mobile apps to help them stay on top of their schedules—easily submitting time-off, availability, and shift swap requests through the app for managers to approve. Fresh staff submitted over 3,000 time-off requests in 2019, and swapped over 550 shifts in September alone.

Before 7shifts, communication and shift trading was done through a private Facebook group, which introduced a number of issues.

Improve your labor management like Fresh 🌱

Finding the perfect scheduling balance for Fresh allowed them to streamline their operations and reduce admin work so they could get back to doing what they loved—providing a unique experience and refreshing food and drinks to their diners.

Whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or a national chain, you can simplify life at your restaurants like Fresh did with 7shifts. Put pen and paper in the past with 7shifts’ robust labor management software for scheduling, communication, time clocking, and compliance. Get started for free today—no risk, no credit card required.

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Dew Smith
Dew Smith

Hey! I'm Dew, the former Brand Strategist. I cultivated 7shifts' social and content garden, and I looked for ways to grow our network of restaurateurs, local talent, and tech companies.