At a glance
Revolutionised the way they manage and communicate with staff
Integrations provide invaluable sales and staffing insights
Improved efficiency resulting in better customer service
When Karl Purdy returned to Ireland from studying in Canada in the nineties, he’d planned to further his career as a photojournalist. Instead, he found himself drawn back to his second passion, hospitality, and unwittingly introduced specialty coffee to Ireland.
In 2004, Karl set up a three-wheel coffee cart at Howth’s East Pier in County Dublin and one of Ireland’s best-known coffee shops, Coffeeangel, was born.
“I had a really simple business plan, at the time,” says Karl. “And that was, ‘follow the prams’. Wherever you find prams, you find exhausted parents. And I did. Parents always needed coffee, so that’s how I got started.”
Karl’s business philosophy is all about keeping things simple and doing them well. Service and quality are key, as are happy, returning customers. It’s a formula that’s proven successful for Karl.
“I just built up a bit of a reputation for being good at what I did,” says Karl, who is an Irish Barista Champion, “and the opportunity presented itself in 2011 to open a shop. So I did that and the ball has been rolling since then.”
There are now six Coffeeangel outlets in Dublin and an online store, with three more shops scheduled to open by year’s end.
I had a really simple business plan, at the time. And that was, ‘follow the prams’. Wherever you find prams, you find exhausted parents. And I did. Parents always needed coffee, so that’s how I got started.
It started kind of getting progressively worse.
In the early days of Coffeeangel, rotas were put together on Excel spreadsheets and staff signed in and out of a logbook.
“At the end of each week or fortnight, I would do the calculations and hours and work it out that way,” Karl says.
However, as the business grew, the spreadsheet system became prone to lots of errors, resulting in staff not being paid correctly. “It started kind of getting progressively worse,” says Karl.
Keen to introduce a more efficient system to manage his staff rota, Karl trialled various online platforms. “As we grew, they couldn’t seem to scale with us. Ideal if you were one shop but to deal with the challenges of multi-shops – dealing with things like transferring staff from one shop to another, inputting holidays or requests – became increasingly problematic.”
Karl sought out other options. “I am a big believer in technology. Only in so far in that it adds value to the customer experience or to managing my business.”
He notes that Coffeeangel were among the first in Ireland to use iPads as Point of Sale systems and launch Android Pay and Google Pay. He found Deputy to be the best solution and introduced it to Coffeeangel in March 2017.
A growing team of 35 people now use Deputy across the business – the majority of which are frontline employees.
Coffeeangel uses a range of Deputy’s features, including Scheduling, the Kiosk for staff timesheets, Tasking, and NewsFeed for team communication. “It’s revolutionised how we can manage our team,” says Karl.
Karl says once time-consuming tasks – such as adding up staff hours and approving timesheets – now takes seconds. Staff have also become more responsive as they can communicate directly with management.
Deputy’s reporting functions have also provided Coffeeangel with great insights. Particularly as they also use Deputy integrations, including Bamboo HR, Talech, and hope to introduce Xero in the near future.
“Our net sales are now synced with our labour costs in Deputy, which is hugely exciting from an operational phase,” explains Karl. “But also from a communication and understanding perspective, in terms of shop managers. They can make sure labour costs are correct based on consumer demand. They can make sure service levels are correct based on the sales required. That’s a big thing for us.”
Overall, Deputy has not only saved Coffeeangel time and money but also helped to increase efficiency and ensure high service standards.
Karl describes Deputy as a business that is responsive to its customers’ needs. “Some companies, like Deputy, seem genuinely interested in developing their product based on the needs of their customers. They launched a new product last week and there was a bug based on another integration we had and within 24 hours I was speaking to the owner of Deputy about working through this bug.”
Moving forward, Karl is concentrating on growing and scaling the business. “Putting these systems and processes into place underneath the bonnet so that the teams on the frontline can worry about making sure the customers are happy. They don’t have to worry about paperwork. Paperwork has, for the most part, seems to have been made obsolete through working with our POS, Deputy, and the other applications we use.”