Visit Juvia in Miami Beach and you’ll experience the stunning views South Beach in a sleek, modern setting complete with eclectic cocktails and food options. The 9th floor rooftop dining experience offered by Juvia is one of the reasons they’re in their sixth year of business, in a fickle market where restaurants come and go quickly.
Suzy Vera is the Human Resources Director of Juvia and has been with the company for the past 3 years. Prior to Juvia, she was a General Manager at a local sushi restaurant. Her favourite part of being part of the hospitality industry is managing, growing and mentoring staff, which led her to go back to school and get her master’s degree in Human Resources.
Suzy has experienced amazing growth during her time with Juvia. The company has grown from 80 employees to over 240. “It’s a lot to manage, but it’s been beautiful to watch it flourish,” says Suzy. She is also responsible for managing the other two sister restaurants, Sushi Garage and Sunny Poke, both of which opened in the past 3 years. They are very different from Juvia and have an industrial feel, located in a retrofitted garage just a couple blocks away. “We have the best of both worlds in terms of dining options. Juvia is fine dining, Sushi Garage is casual fine dining, and Sunny Poke is our grab n’ go option,” says Suzy.
“People know that when they come to Juvia they’ll be getting the same top-quality experience each time. It’s something we continue to provide over and over, people really trust us for that. We’ve become a staple in our industry and geographical location, given that strength.”
Ironically, the main attraction to Juvia, is also the biggest operating challenge for the restaurant - being located on a rooftop. Miami is known for inconsistent weather, but the views are worth it. “One of our main draws is being outside and enjoying the open-air. We have a retractable roof and a hanging garden that’s really beautiful. We want people to enjoy the outside and the inside together… in a city that has unpredictable weather,” says Suzy. Who wouldn’t want to dine in style while watching a beautiful South Beach sunset?
When Suzy started with Juvia, they were using Hotschedules for workforce management, but the team was not using it and decided to drop it in favor of manual scheduling via Excel. Fast forward a couple of years and Suzy knew a change was needed. “One Monday my coworker and I were creating the schedule and we were both frustrated… it was complete confusion. By Wednesday I was on the phone with 7shifts. It was so quick!” recalls Suzy.
“We Googled scheduling options and came across 7shifts. I wasn’t a fan of Hotschedules... I had used it previously and their customer support was absolutely terrible.”
Once Suzy made the decision to move ahead with 7shifts, she was pleasantly surprised how soon everyone got on board with it. “It’s nice because we were rolling something out that’s easy. There really are no barriers to 7shifts - get a notification and BOOM, you’re in,” says Suzy.
The biggest pain point Suzy and the staff experienced prior to 7shifts was switching and swapping shifts. The Miami restaurant industry is very transient - staff are always changing roles, moving on to new things, or working second jobs - which led to a lot of things getting lost. “The shift swapping aspect was the catalyst for wanting to get 7shifts.” says Suzy, “People were swapping [shifts] and not showing up, as there was no proof of the changes.”
“Without having a way of keeping track of things, you develop a ‘whatever’ attitude and push things off. 7shifts gives us the ability to go back and prove what we’ve done.”
Time spent scheduling has dramatically decreased for Suzy’s scheduling manager, Adrian, at Juvia. Simply creating the schedule has gone from 7 hours per week to now 1-2 hours with 7shifts. The additional time spent going through notes, texts, emails, and calls, is now freed up for other things in the restaurant.
Suzy has many good things to say about 7shifts, but she admits customer support is the number one reason she loves it. “Not only can I get a hold of somebody, that’s half the battle, but I also get an effective answer from 7shifts,” says Suzy. She has worked with many software companies and has struggled with the fact that they never update the product, even when given feedback. She says, “I think it really lends to the fact that you take feedback from your clients. 7shifts has a great product because they work closely with their partners.”
“7shifts is BAR NONE the best when it comes to customer support and I’m a hard, hard audience - I’ve worked with a lot of different software companies.”
Among all the changes in operations Suzy has witnessed since implementing 7shifts, the improvement in communications has been the most profound, with the Manager Log Book having the greatest impact. “We used to send an attachment of Excel in an email which got lost in everyone’s inbox. The Manager Log Book is fantastic in that we have everything recorded, we have an audit trail,” says Suzy. She also loves the fact that through 7shifts team chat, staff can collaborate, attach pictures, and get instant messaging. She says it’s not only improved communication on the floor, but it’s helped facilities management too since they now post maintenance issues in the app.
“7shifts has led to a lot less time wasting. It’s really improved communication in the whole organization, not just scheduling.”
What does the future hold for Juvia? They recently upgraded their POS system to Toast, one of 7shifts’ integrated POS partners. This means they will soon be able to sync their sales and labor from their POS into 7shifts account to be able to schedule even more efficiently based on forecasts. “Now there will be a perfect link from our POS to 7shifts, we’re really excited to see how this affects our labor rates,” says Suzy. The umbrella of restaurants is also planning on expanding in the next couple years by about 30-40%, and 7shifts will be a great tool for helping this happen.
“Scheduling is the bones of the organization. If you don’t have people there, they can’t work. You have to find the most effective way to leverage them, but you have to keep them happy too. I think that’s why it’s so important to have an app like 7shifts. It’s very rare I come across a partnership I’m so happy to work with.”