How Xi'an Famous Foods Took NYC by Storm
Jason Wang came into the restaurant business without much restaurant experience, but a lot of book smarts. He considers himself a pioneer in the industry by going rogue on certain operational aspects of the business. He is always on the lookout for new technology to assist in maintaining the high level of efficiency running Xi’an Famous Foods requires.
Xi’an Famous Foods is a unique business with a great back story. Jason’s family moved to NYC from the ancient capital of China, Xi’an, and his father opened up the first location in 2005. His goal was to offer food found in their hometown and this passion created a menu with a hot/sour flavor profile; including flour-based noodle dishes and “burgers” (flatbread sandwiches).
Xi’an Famous Foods caters to 3 different population groups: Chinese immigrants; Chinese tourists; and the born and bred American population that have never been to China, but want to try the specialty food dishes. Their clientele are people looking for cheap eats with good quality, authenticity, and convenience. They have recently purchased a 20,000 square foot central kitchen in Queens which is a solid step toward their regional expansion goals.
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Jason joined the business in 2009 after college and helped with the expansion, bringing it to the current 12 locations they have today in New York city.
“We need to focus on our core business, which is producing food. All other things need to be addressed efficiently so [we] don’t have to worry about them all day. Before we used 7shifts, we definitely had a lot more headaches managing the schedule. Now, it’s sent and done and we are ready to do other things – think of new ideas, ready to think ‘expansions’. We utilize the technology to address these needs which will free our hands up for business goals.” – Jason Wang
In 2014, Jason realized the need to search for alternative solutions when the scheduling software he was using (HotSchedules) wasn’t cutting it anymore. Xi’an Famous Foods was rapidly expanding, hiring more employees than ever before, and it was necessary to consider a new tool. Jason wanted to remain as efficient as possible and needed software which would assist him in scheduling employees across the various locations in New York City. He came across 7shifts through his own online research.
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Xi’an is a very lean business with little waste and requires specialized labor due to the traditional dishes served. 7shifts has made it easy to schedule employees at various locations so there isn’t a need to have as many employees on hand, but the job still gets done. In Jason’s words, “We become more efficient in our business when we have a system that can monitor overtime charges and distribution of labor.”
7shifts has cut down scheduling time for Jason by 50%, as compared to the previous software he was using. He finds it easy to communicate with employees and prefers the clean usability of 7shifts.
The implementation of 7shifts within Xi’an Famous Foods has also benefitted the employees. As Jason explains, “one of the biggest hurdles in this industry is the work-life balance of employees. Without a good system to manage that, it becomes difficult to make it possible. The biggest cause of turnover we hear is no flexibility in scheduling. 7shifts has allowed us to make better planning easier.”