Mattenga’s Pizzeria is the real love child of husband and wife duo, Matthew and Hengam Stanfield. Entering the workforce shortly after completing their engineering degrees, the couple realized that a nine to five week that kept them apart was not for them. Feeling inspired (like many restaurateurs do) by their love of hosting dinner parties and making fresh pizza, they decided to go into the pizzeria business in their hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
“After college we got married, had a baby, started working, and we realized that we really didn't enjoy being away from one another…We realized how much we love hosting dinner parties in our house. Making fresh pasta, making pizza for people from scratch. And so we sold our house in New Mexico and we bought a failing Pizzeria in 2014. It's been six years that we've been in this business, and in 2018 we opened our second location in San Antonio.” —Hengam Stanfield, Co-founder
The business success they experienced was explosive—tripling their sales in the first five years, and growing their team from 6 to 50+ people to meet the demand. This rapid growth left Hengam and Matthew searching for a better way to use systems and technology to alleviate the labor management burden and save more time for family life.
“One of the things that my husband and I really like—we have little children—is to take advantage of different software that saves us time, automating things, and creating systems.”
How Mattenga’s Uses Technology to Optimize Labor & Simplify Scheduling
From spreadsheets to 7shifts
Mattenga’s reduced their scheduling time 7 → 2 hours per week
When Mattenga’s bought the restaurant in 2014, they had been using spreadsheets to keep track of their weekly schedules. However, the downsides to a spreadsheet-based schedule were immediately clear to the tech-savvy team.
Shortly after struggling with spreadsheets, Mattenga’s switched to HotSchedules for their scheduling. However, they soon found that they encountered some of the same issues in the software as they did with the spreadsheets.
We encountered different problems [with spreadsheets], such when there was an event or a fundraiser...at the time of doing the schedule, we had to rely on them to remember that on this day we have this [event] and for them to schedule accordingly.
HotSchedules had a section where you could add events or checklists, but they would not necessarily talk to one another. When our managers would do their schedule, they would have to manually check the event section to [see if there was] an event this week or not. And if they would forget to go check, it would not necessarily account for an event that was coming up, and were left, again, short-staffed, over-staffed.
Versus 7shifts, which has that section where we keep events in that would talk to the section where the schedule is happening. For example, on Thursday when we have an event in 7shifts that is hypothetically a fundraiser or a party of 40. When that [manager] is going through the schedule, they're able to see the event is written on top.
People changing their availability, instead of verbally coming in and telling you that they want a certain day off or whatever, we do not accept anything verbal. We're like, if it's not on 7shifts, it doesn't exist.
Optimizing & reducing labor costs
Mattenga’s kept their labor costs steady at 22% - 27%
A restaurateur’s labor costs are one of the largest—yet most flexible—of all the restaurant costs. Optimizing labor costs is one of the biggest “levers” a restaurateur can pull to maximize profitability without sacrificing the experience for staff or guests. For Mattenga’s Pizzeria, keeping their labor costs under control in that 20 - 30% range was a key goal for them in running a successful and profitable business.
To maintain better control over their labor costs, the Mattenga’s team needed to create sales projections and schedule according to their needs. This process was extremely manual and monotonous with HotSchedules, as managers had to manually enter their sales every week. However, with managers strapped for time as it is, pulling data from the POS to enter into HotSchedules was often skipped in the scheduling process.
Going into your POS system, pulling data from your sales, and doing this on a weekly basis...they were simply not doing it. You don't want to be relying on people too much, because people are busy, people are going through a rough season. You’re getting interrupted all the time in the restaurant industry. You want to rely on systems, that’s why we really like relying on the software that does a lot of the work for our people, so it would reduce time.
Once Mattenga’s switched to 7shifts and integrated their Toast POS, they could easily build schedules that stayed within their target labor percentage with the weekly labor budget tool—allowing them to set sales and labor targets based on their projected sales to efficiently schedule staff.
Now with 7shifts integrating with our Toast POS system, we're able to utilize that [sales] projection feature. We really like that because when the labor [costs] are high, we ask our manager, what did you project this for? Did you take a look at that feature and make that the last year of sales... because it would tell you for currently, when you were scheduled for next week, they have a projection. What's the percentage of sales, that labor percentage, what that is at.
With real-time labor costs available on the free manager’s mobile app, they knew exactly when they needed to call in extra hands, or cut someone for the night, in order to keep their labor costs in check. Over time, this led to Mattenga’s being able to cut down on their labor hours while simultaneously growing their sales. Since joining 7shifts, Mattenga’s was able to increase their sales by 5% and decrease their shifts 10%.
This graph shows labor hours and sales over time with 7shifts. Exact numbers are removed to protect their business’ privacy.
Keeping the Mattenga’s team in-sync
Mattenga’s Pizzeria keeps their operations on lock with over 60 Manager Log Book entries a day.
Restaurant communication is another major factor that can make or break the productivity and success of your restaurant team. Keeping your team informed and connected about company updates, schedules, and daily operations can create a more efficient and accountable team culture, and Mattenga's Pizzeria team relies heavily on the 7shifts communication features to do just that.
- Announcements—A one-way communication channel for managers to update the entire team about an event, give recognition, or share critical information.
- Chat—Managers and staff can chat one-on-one or in groups to discuss work-related topics in a secure app—and keep their personal life separate.
- Manager Log Book—Managers can keep track of whatever is important for their daily operations—from maintenance requests to customer complaints—with daily summaries sent to the whole management team.
“Issues of communication, or lack thereof, is very common in the restaurant. If somebody works two hours on a Wednesday and an issue comes up, how are you going to communicate with everybody all the time? That always is an issue.
When we make an Announcement right now or remind people of different things, we're able to use that feature. Whenever we give good reviews, [we give] kudos with that, because we always put that in [Announcements] for the whole team to see. Just to encourage everybody who does well a lot of times. The more communication there is, then there is less doubt and confusion and there's more clarity.”
The Manager Log Book is really important because our managers document on a daily basis. Whenever there are mistakes, it gets documented. Any damage, anything that happened, customer issues get documented.
If we get a call, for example, a customer issue, our managers go in and look under that person's phone number on 7shifts to see if we gave that person free food three times in a week.
If we get an unemployment claim, we're able to put a staff member in there and see that that person was trained on these things, because our managers log all the training that they provided to our team. Anytime [an employee] made a mistake...they dropped this, they forgot that, they were rude...everything is documented. As owners, we are obsessed with the Manager Log Book to make sure we're compliant with the law, or if anybody is trying to abuse anything, we’ve got ourselves covered on a daily basis, twice a day.
Weekly Manager Log Book entries made by Mattenga’s management team.
Staying strong through COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mattenga’s Pizzeria was able to grow their sales by 10% MoM and keep their team safe.
The icing on top of the cake for Mattenga’s Pizzeria was that they were able to keep their restaurant open and profitable during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. As a pizzeria, the team was already well acquainted with delivery and takeout as a revenue stream, and so pivoting their business to off-site dining only was simple.
Mattenga’s was able to grow their sales by 16% in May, and 7shifts helped keep their restaurant locations functioning smoothly by adjusting their schedules to meet the new delivery and takeout demands, monitoring their sales and labor, and staying connected with their team.
We grew our sales over 10% both in April and May by God's grace and we were able to continue to provide plenty of hours to our team. Since the pandemic, we've continued to very diligently monitor our labor allocation.
The sales distribution changed having most of the workforce working from home. Our lunches were slower, and our dinners much busier which consequently we needed to also pivot our labor allocation to serve our customers well. 7shifts has been incredibly helpful in continuing to save our managers time in pivoting and over communicating with our team during these times.
This graph shows how Mattenga’s sales grew in 2020—including during the pandemic that shut down most states and forced restaurants to takeout and delivery only from March to June. Exact sales numbers are removed to protect their business’ privacy.
Closing advice for other restaurants
Mattenga’s Pizzeria has been able to successfully scale their business by relying on the modern, integratable systems that are available to them. Here is their advice to other restaurateurs in the industry who want to take control of their labor and grow their business.
“It is worth paying for a service or a software—relying on a system instead of just relying on people. It's long term, it’s saving time, and time is money. It also saves you money, and it makes you money. Utilizing an effective system, particularly when it comes to the labor, which is one of our largest variable costs, one must be very serious. As it’s variable on a weekly basis, labor cost is critical to be obsessed with. It's important to equip your managers with a system to rely on—rather than expecting your managers to do everything.
7shifts is incredibly cheap for the value that it grants. So it's a no brainer to utilize a service like 7shifts.”