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Barworks: Enhancing operations and empowering teams with Deputy

London, United Kingdom
hospitality industry Hospitality

At a glance

  • Significantly streamlined Barworks' operations, including scheduling, holiday management, and communication
  • Cut payroll time from three hours to minutes
  • Clearer communication within teams and better work-life balance

The Story

Tanja Sonja Schoenberger has worn many hats at Barworks: Operations Manager, Learning and Development Manager, HR Manager, and, at one point, a waitress. 

It speaks to Barworks' unique culture that Tanja has climbed up the career ladder from starting as a waitress at Barworks 15 years ago. Even the Managing Director also worked behind the bar. 

"We only build from within. We don't hire managers externally. We build our General Managers from the ground up here at Barworks. Ideally, we want our people climbing the ranks here," she says. 

Barworks is an independent pub, bar and restaurant group based in London, which was founded in 1995 by Andreas Akerlund, Patrik Franzen and Marc Francis-Baum of Made in Chelsea fame. Mare Street Market in Hackney is its flagship bar and likely brand name for future bars. 

Creating an excellent place to work in hospitality is very important to Tanja. 

"I don't believe in loudly claiming to be a great employer. I'd rather invest that energy in being a good employer and doing the right thing," says Tanja.

"We want everybody who works for us to know that we don't just sit around and look at spreadsheets and go, 'This is how you do things.' Everyone in senior management has worked their way up from the floor. We know how hard it is mentally and physically to work behind a bar. And so the support systems we have in place come from a deep understanding of how the industry is."

This inside-up approach and unwavering commitment to staff wellbeing makes Barworks' corporate value system unique and draws them to Deputy. With a solid commitment to nurturing a dynamic, healthy, upwardly mobile work culture, Barworks has harnessed the power of technology to elevate its operations.

“We only build from within. We don’t hire managers externally. Ideally, we want our people climbing the ranks here."

Tanja Sonja Schoenberger, Deputy, Barworks

The Challenge

Barworks is a returning Deputy customer. In 2020, they briefly switched to a general hospitality management solution - a decision they quickly regretted. “It was very complicated and wasn’t user-friendly. It claimed to do everything well but didn’t do the specific things we needed it to do particularly well,” says Tanja. 

They needed a people-oriented solution to manage a growing workforce and deliver a fantastic employee experience. Tanja highlights the complexities of scheduling, time and attendance tracking, leave management and team communication as key challenges Barworks needed support with. Using a cumbersome all-in-one platform hindered the efficiency they aimed for and strained their people-first approach.

“When I became responsible for operations, I needed a system that worked. It didn’t need to do everything well, but it needed to do what it says it does on the tin well. And that’s what Deputy does,” says Tanja. 

Tanja elaborates, “We needed a solution to consolidate our tasks and eliminate the frustrations of managing different platforms. The system needed to streamline operations and help us focus more on nurturing our team and delivering exceptional customer experiences.” 

Tanja also needed a people-focused system that would help her maintain transparency and honesty within the company.

"I needed a system that worked. It didn’t need to do everything well, but it needed to do what it says it does on the tin well. And that’s what Deputy does."

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The Solution

Tanja and her team at Barworks decided to adopt Deputy, fueled by the need for a comprehensive solution that seamlessly integrates multiple aspects of their operations. The ability to manage employee scheduling, time tracking, payroll, leave management, and the recently launched HR and employee onboarding features from a single platform was a critical factor that led them to choose Deputy. 

Beyond addressing the operational hurdles, Deputy has also brought unique capabilities that support Barworks' focus on employee wellbeing. As Tanja explains, "One of the exciting aspects of Deputy is its capacity to create tailored schedules that factor in each employee's availability and preferences. This flexibility enhances our staff's work-life balance and boosts their morale and engagement." 

Deputy not only streamlines scheduling and time tracking but also facilitates transparent and effective communication - values essential to Barworks. Tanja appreciates how Deputy reduces frustrations by keeping all communication and tasks on one platform. 

"Deputy enables us to connect seamlessly with our staff, ensuring they are informed about their schedules and tasks without feeling overwhelmed by WhatsApps and emails. This leads to a calmer, more collaborative and synchronised team, allowing us to deliver consistent service that our customers expect."  

Deputy's intuitive interface offers employees a comprehensive view of their accrued leave, pending requests, and utilised time off, fostering transparency and empowerment.

"We had lots of problems with leave management and holiday accrual. And now, with Deputy, it's a straightforward and transparent holiday approval process. Staff can see the status of their requests, there's less confusion, and accruals are automatically calculated," says Tanja. 

Deputy has also positively impacted payroll processes, reducing the time spent on payroll by managers from three hours to minutes. "That's three hours saved every first of the month. Amazing!" 

"Deputy is so straightforward. It does what it says on the tin," says Tanja. "Deputy's effectiveness makes it worth the investment."

Barworks has exciting expansion plans, and Deputy is thrilled to be their partner on the journey. The group comprises five licenses with three operating sites across London and plans to open a new branch in Kings Cross - "Mare Street Market number two," says Tanja excitedly. 

"Our plans," Tanja states, "are centred around expansion. We want to maintain our unique identity, straddling the line between restaurant, bar, and event space. We aim to open more spaces and explore opportunities."

By automating parts of the hiring process and aiding in onboarding, Deputy is streamlining their efforts to scale. "Deputy is instrumental in our expansion strategy. It keeps us organised and eases the recruitment process, allowing us to concentrate on maintaining our personalised approach to operations," Tanja highlights. 

Despite growth challenges, Tanja emphasises that "treating people well remains a top priority for Barworks."

"Deputy empowers us to be the best employers we can be. It aligns perfectly with our people-first approach, enabling us to invest more time in our team and build a stronger workforce," Tanja emphasised.

"Deputy's effectiveness makes it worth the investment.”

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