Making the Shift: Transitioning from Restaurants to 7shifts

Making the Shift: Transitioning from Restaurants to 7shifts
Melissa Bensky

By Melissa Bensky

7shifts’ 150+  employees come from various backgrounds and have worked in numerous industries—from video game design to healthcare. As we serve the restaurant industry, it's important to us that we prioritize candidates with previous industry experience.  It's only fitting that some of our employees have hands-on experience in the industry.  Not only do we have a dozens of employees with previous restaurant experience, but we also have numerous team members who used 7shifts in their previous roles in restaurants.

We got together with 5 members of our team to talk about the transition from working in the industry, to working FOR the industry and what that shift had meant for them.


What did you do at your previous restaurant job before joining 7shifts?

Andrea: “I’ve worked in various positions within the industry. I started as an employee and then manager of a quick-service restaurant while I was in school. After graduating, I worked with several brands as a Field Trainer, Business Development Consultant and most recently, Learning and Development Manager.”

Rachel: “I started working for Impact Kitchen because I loved their brand and wanted to be a part of the movement they were starting in the restaurant industry. I was given the opportunity to help grow the business by managing 3 of their 4 locations, I even got to open up their store in the Summerhill area of Toronto! Such an incredible opportunity for both personal and professional growth.”

Katy: “I started when I was 15 as a hostess at a restaurant in my neighborhood and worked my way up to management roles. Before I left the industry I was in Operations Business Development.  I oversaw the entire glory Juice Co. locations.”

Katie: “I worked as a server throughout university and climbed my way through the chain until I was in a management role.”

Lindsay: “I started as a part-time server, then I moved to bartending, to being a floor manager and from there I moved into the operations for the whole business. It was a little bit of everything.”

What was your favorite thing about working in the restaurant industry?

Andrea: “I love creating and developing learning programs and operational systems to promote the development of an efficient, high-performing workforce.”

Rachel: “The people! As the manager of a restaurant, I had the opportunity to meet hundreds of people every week. From staff to customers to suppliers, I was able to foster so many relationships on a daily basis.”

Katy: “The fun, fast-paced energy.”

Katie: “All the people that you meet. I worked in a small city and it was nice to meet a lot of the locals and see repeat customers. I loved meeting people from all different backgrounds and forming new relationships.”

Lindsay: “Definitely making people’s day. At the restaurant where I worked (Snakes & Lattes) it was always fun! Everyone was always in a great mood.

What was the most challenging thing about working in the restaurant industry?

Andrea: “Recruiting and retaining a strong team in an industry where high turnover is a known concern.”

Rachel: “The hustle! Most days, I barely had an opportunity to sit down. Which was a blessing and a curse. Lots of daily steps, but minimal administration time.”

Katy: “Long hours on your feet and irregular work hours and having a different schedule than other people.”

Katie: “There is a lot of stress when it comes to working in a restaurant and being a server. You never know what you’re going to have to deal with and you can never predict what your shift is going to be like. You never know what you’re walking into.”

Lindsay: “The hours were tough and your lifestyle becomes night-time unless you happen to work mostly day shifts, In general working in the industry is all very night-time based. It can also be draining being face-to-face to people all the time and putting on customer-friendly emotions and what-not. There were times where it could get overwhelming and draining.”

Do you have any tips for those who want to go into the restaurant industry?

Andrea: “Don’t hire specifically for restaurant experience. Look for candidates that fit with your culture and values. You can teach people to perform tasks but you can’t teach them the soft skills they need to be a great team player and someone who truly cares about your guest experience.”

Rachel: “Be open to daily challenges in a fast-paced, always changing environment. Always be a team player.

Katy: “Get your foot in the door, there’s so  much opportunity to work your way up if you’re prepared to grow and put in the time.”

Katie: “Don’t give up too soon, you’ll get through the hard times.

Lindsay: “If you want to be a server, practice your short-term memory, balance, time management, and multitasking.

What qualities and or skills do you think you need to have in order to work in the industry?

Andrea: “Success in the restaurant industry requires a strong work ethic, patience, and a passion for making people happy whether it be your guests or your team.’

Rachel: “Hustle, flexibility, communication and teamwork skills.”

Katy: “For the front of house positions you should be sociable, empathetic, and able to multitask. For the back of house positions, you should be organized and detail-oriented. In general, you should also have great communication skills and able to communicate with your co-workers and with clients.”

Katie: “Confidence, hustle, memorization and the ability to prioritize.”

Lindsay: “Time management, multitasking, short-term memory, ability to let things go. You need to be strong, keep a smile on your face and keep moving forward.”

Why did you transition out of the industry?

Andrea: “Up until joining the 7shifts team, my entire career had been spent in the restaurant industry. While I have always loved it, I just thought it was time to gain some experience in a different space. To be fair, I didn’t completely stray by choosing a tech company that’s main objective is providing a service to restaurants.”

Rachel: “I will never take my experience managing restaurants for granted. I learned SO much and grew a lot both personally and professionally. Restaurant Management is a tough gig, its a lot of long hours and it was starting to take a toll on my personal life. I love that my move to 7shifts has allowed me to stay connected to those in the restaurant industry and work to make the lives of managers a little bit easier!

Katy: “I was ready to translate the experience and my understanding of the industry into working for a company that creates an effective product for the industry.”

Katie: I needed more stability, I wanted a different environment and felt like I grew out of the late-night shifts, and wanted more of a leadership role.”

Lindsay: “The part of the job that I loved was more the background operations; taking care of what we used every day to keep things running smoothly. I realized that I really liked making schedules and making sure they made sense and the more that I worked with 7shifts, the more I  wanted to work for them.”

What was your experience using 7shifts to make you work for them?

Andrea: “While working as a manager, scheduling was one of my least favorite tasks. Tracking time off requests and availability was the stuff of nightmares and it just added a lot of stress and took up a lot of my time. When I was first introduced to 7shifts, I was happy to see how my organization quickly got on board. The feedback had been so positive and I could see that this was a solution for many of their needs as operators.”

Rachel: “We used 7shifts as our scheduling, communication, and labor management tool! I always loved the software, it made my life so much easier. My experiences with the Support team were also always an 11, so I decided to join the team!

Katy: “When I  worked at Glory Juice, I rolled out 7shifts. I was able to see the efficiency that it created and how it improved the scheduling and communication both for the employees and for upper-management.”

Katie: “I saw the relief the software provided for employees and managers and I loved using it. I truly believed in what they were doing.”

Lindsay: “When I used 7shifts at my job and needed support, someone was always there to help. I saw first-hand how much the support team cared and took feedback and knew it was a great company.

What’s your role at 7shifts and how do you help restaurants in that role?

Andrea:” I’m a Client Success Manager and my primary role is to work with our partners ensuring they’re set up for success and getting the most out of the platform. I help with the on-boarding and training of new clients and act as a consultant for existing clients to maximize results in alignment with their labor-management goals.”

Rachel: “I am a customer support rep - we work every day to solve problems and suggest workable solutions for those using the 7shifts software!”

Katy: “I started in sales working with small-business operators to get them on-board and started using 7shifts. Now I work in client success as a team lead and I work with clients of all sizes to make sure they’re getting value from 7shifts.”

Katie: “I am a customer support manager. I help restaurants by supporting and leading the team that is the first point of contact for restaurants.

Lindsay: “I work in customer support and I help them with exactly what it was that I got help from 7shifts originally which is making sure you’re making full use of 7shifts because there are so many features and making sure it is a smooth operating system for restaurants. Our motto is “we want to free up time for them to do other things” and taking care of the people who work for you and the restaurant operating system itself.”

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Melissa Bensky
Melissa Bensky

Melissa is a foodie, chocoholic and is always looking for the next food trend. Check out her Instagram @tastethesix to discover Toronto's finest eats.