At a glance
1. Reduced time spent writing rosters by 92%
2. Opened second location
3. Greater flexibility for employees
Tucked away in a small backstreet of the Sydney beachside suburb Cronulla, Blackwood Pantry is the incredible result of three local friends teaming up to do what they love every day.
“Since I first began working in hospitality in high school, it has always been the dream to one day open my own café,” says Daniel Sorridimi, co-owner of Blackwood Pantry. “I really love making those genuine relationships and having great conversations.”
Working with his business partner and chef Rob Lechowicz, who had trained in France and worked in a number of Michelin Star restaurants throughout Europe, the idea behind Blackwood Pantry was to create an atmosphere of contemporary casual dining – where all guests are treated as friends and colourful dishes are created to intrigue and delight.
While it took two years to find the right location for their business, and another 12 months to build it out in the style they had envisioned, when it came time to open their doors for the first time, it had definitely been worth the wait.
“We were belted from day one,” says Sorridimi. “On our first day, we had six pages of waiting list, and we seated over 800 people – it was ridiculous.”
In hospitality you’re making genuine relationships, you’re making people happy on a daily basis, and that’s what it’s all about.
We were struggling with the scheduling - writing a complex diagram up every month was just taking too much time.
The immediate success of Blackwood Pantry, while very welcome, was not without its challenges.
“I knew we needed to create systems,” says Sorridimi. “We grew from 15 employees to 30 in the space of just two weeks, and it was really important that we kept everyone aligned as we grew.”
With their reputation as a food destination growing, writing their carefully balanced team roster became increasingly complicated. As there were so many different components contributing to the café’s success, it was essential that key people were assigned to certain roles without anybody crossing over – otherwise there would be ‘turmoil’, as Sorridimi puts it.
“It was taking up to an hour to write rosters,” says Sorridimi. “And then when it was finally done we would have someone ring up and say they couldn’t actually work that day – so you have to cross out that person and start the whole process again”
Luckily, it was only two months after opening that one of their employees gave them the solution: “You have to try Deputy – it’s the best.”
|For the boys at Blackwood Pantry, Deputy has enabled them to greatly streamline employee management in their business.|
“With Deputy, I can literally do my roster in five minutes,” says Sorridimi. “You just copy and paste from the week before, adjust for staff unavailability, and then create rosters for weeks in advance in a matter of minutes.”
For their employees, which Sorridimi sees as both an extension of himself and the business, joining Deputy has offered them greater control over when they are available to work.
“I don’t have to remember when my staff are going on holidays or their unavailability,” says Sorridimi. “They just put it all into the app and the rest is done automatically – it’s that easy.”
A few months shy of their two-year anniversary, the popularity for Blackwood Pantry has anything but slowed, especially if their beautifully crafted Instagram page which has amassed over 16K followers is anything to go by.
Excitedly, Sorridimi announces that in just a couple of weeks, the Blackwood’s team will be opening a second business – a gourmet, dine-in rotisserie, complete with brass rotisseries imported from France, which they will be looking to expand.
“Through helping to streamline your business, Deputy sets you up to scale,” says Sorridimi. “Eventually what I want to do is scale and grow the rotisserie, and Deputy helps me to do that.”