I'm excited to share that 7shifts has raised $21.5MM led by Danny Meyer's Enlightened Hospitality Investments, which is the investment arm of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). These new funds will allow 7shifts to double-down on providing restaurant operators with the best workforce management tools as they return from the largest collapse in restaurant history.
As I reflect on this exciting new partnership and investment, there is no doubt that this past year has been hard on everyone - restaurants and their teams' were no exception. To put it lightly, 2020 was proclaimed to be the “restaurant apocalypse” as the industry lost 8 million restaurant jobs by April, 2020, which is half of all restaurant workers in the US. It's estimated that restaurants lost over $240 billion in sales.
As restaurants suffered, we were also directly affected. Looking back to 2020 when the pandemic hit, we were forced to temporarily lay off around 40 of our Shifties. Knowing that we were going to be sailing through uncharted waters with no end in sight, we immediately stopped selling and started rallying behind supporting our customers. We put thousands of accounts on indefinite holds and offered various other products for free for those that had requested it, which deferred millions in revenue. We witnessed several of our long-time restaurant operator partners tragically go out of business. We donated to several foundations and organizations including, CORE, Be Awesome Feed Somebody, ROAR New York, Rally For Restaurants and Restaurant Works CF, to try and help in any way we could.
We knew we had to do everything we could to help restaurateurs succeed. After all, without restaurants, 7shifts would cease to exist.
While restaurants themselves were focused purely on keeping the lights on, we felt we had enough value in our roadmap to keep building, so we remained laser-focused on building products that continued to solve pains for restaurant operators. We strongly believe that so long as people need to eat and be social, that there would still be a bright future for restaurants, and that when they came back, that they would need a great end-to-end labor management solution to help them win in 2021. Thankfully, our predictions were true and in September, we started to see restaurants bouncing back.
What does this investment mean for 7shifts customers?
No great product is built in a silo. We wouldn't be where we are without the support of our customers and listening to their constant feedback. Even back in the early days of 7shifts, we focused maniacally on two things: providing quick and helpful customer support and rolling out high-value features as fast as we could. The great news is that even as we've grown to a team of over 150 people, we have not lost the speed and passion that made restaurants choose 7shifts as their partner in the first place. Now, more than ever, we're committed to our mission - “To simplify labor management and improve performance for restaurants”.
Here are some of the big priorities for us in this next phase of our evolution:
1. Continue to build solutions across the employee lifecycle
We define the employee lifecycle as everything from hiring, training, scheduling, paying, and retaining. We plan to continue to deepen our core, which means scheduling by restaurant day parts, better break management, expanding our compliance support, automated tip management, better communication flow, deeper integrations, and more. In addition to that, we're going to be rolling out our hiring and on-boarding products and spending more time enhancing our popular task management solution that replaces the paper clipboard, 7tasks.
2. Accelerate integrations that improve efficiencies
- Double our restaurant-only integrations: Today we integrate with over 40 POS and payroll companies to help restaurant operators streamline everyday processes. As we've learned, this list is ever-growing. There is no shortage of integrations that can be valuable when integrated with the 7shifts platform. Going forward, we're going to be continually evaluating high-value integrations that help us tie together more parts of the employee lifecycle. Expect our overall restaurant-specific integrations to double within the next few years.
- Expand on our open API platform: We've always been big advocates of fostering an open API, something that is not commonly seen with other restaurant technology providers. With increasing demand to integrate with 7shifts, we've introduced our public developer platform. This means we're empowering other developers to tap into 7shifts' data and to build what they need to streamline their own processes - whether it's a custom POS, a local payroll company, loyalty, earned wage access, or other.
- Eliminate double-data entries with more syncing of valuable data: We've heard this loud and clear from operators, that entering things like employee information in several systems and keeping it in sync is frustrating - we refer to this as “death by a thousand cuts”. While we do sync valuable information like employee names, roles, pay rates, and more with the POS, we think we can do more to reduce headaches. As we look to add more integrations, every effort will be made to add more syncing between existing and new systems.
3. Double-down on A+ customer support
We know that running a restaurant is not a 9-5 job - and supporting our customers is not either. A big part of what got us to where we are today, is that we've created a simple and easy-to-use product, backed by strong customer support. As we grow, we plan on adding more talented folks to our customer support team that understand what it's like to work in a restaurant, so we can continue to deliver on a 11/10 experience. At 7shifts, this is one of our five core values which we call “Make every experience an 11”.
While customer support is a big component of our business, we're hiring for several other key roles to continue our growth! If you're interested in an opportunity at a company that recently placed #3 for Canada's Best Workplace and Best Workplace for Women, then apply here!
A word of thanks
We couldn't be more excited to work alongside Harry, Danny, Kelly, Pete, Mark, Paulina, and the rest of the EHI and USHG team. A big shout-out to our existing investors that have supported us since the beginning: Ten Coves, Relay Ventures, as well as several angels.
Let's help make 2021 the ultimate come-back year for restaurants!
Jordan Boesch, CEO @ 7shifts
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