Using Deputy to manage 60 employees across 3 locations
Time spent on rota creation reduced by 75%
Provides managers with visibility and transparency across the entire team
Until opening their first of several restaurants under the Gazette Brasserie branding, business owner Walter Lecocq and his business partner were masters of the fine-dining experience.
But in 2007, he saw an opening in the market for a more relaxed, casual restaurant offering – the type of warm dining setting you would find while travelling through small villages in France.
“Myself and my business partner – our background is in fine-dining restaurants,” Walter says. “But that’s not what we do here. The atmosphere is very warm. It’s not like a Parisian brasserie; it’s more like a restaurant you’d find if you just drove to a French village in Brittany or the south of France.”
Walter doesn’t want his customers to have the ‘typical’ Parisian brasserie experience. His restaurants cater to a family-friendly market and provide a unique point of difference, like dining tables that you can draw on and Scrabble boards to play after ordering a meal – an atmosphere that defies the typical assumption of what French dining should be. And that means serving customers throughout the day.
“[Our restaurants] are French brasseries, meaning we are open all day long. So we do anything from brunch, lunch, breakfast, dinner – and we serve all through the day until 11 o’clock, non-stop.”
The result of Walter’s hard work is clear – after opening their first Gazette restaurant in Battersea 11 years ago, the brand now encompasses locations in Balham and Putney, opened 10 years ago and three years ago, respectively. He also oversees the fine-dining establishment Bellevue, as well as a sandwich shop and outside-catering facilities on the side.
In Gazette Brasserie’s formative years, Walter’s entire system for tracking staff schedules and attendance was based on Excel spreadsheets.
“I’ve used Excel most of my professional life, doing rotas on the system,” Walter says. “Except that obviously you can’t track anything really. And then it’s a more manual approach to keeping the times.”
With rapid growth of the business over the subsequent years, and expanding into new suburbs, Walter needed a better way to track his growing workforce – which now stands at around 60 team members, including waiters, chefs, kitchen porters, runners, managers and more.
“Deputy was mentioned to me by a colleague, so I did a bit of study and then I compared it with a few products. Running a restaurant can be made much easier by certain changes. I’m always looking for new things, and Deputy was spot-on – exactly what I wanted.”
A second major challenge for Gazette was – and still remains – hiring. That is, the recruitment and retention of key employees.
“You have to manage to keep your staff. It’s not just about money. It’s about a multitude of things such as making sure they are happy coming to work, the staff food is good, they feel like they’re progressing and that there’s an opportunity for them to maybe step into management.”
Walter’s acquisition of Deputy products meant managers could build up their rotas individually, track staff hours and then collate the data in a single session. The result has been a streamlined system that eliminates wasted man-hours and allows employees at all levels to focus on what’s most important: providing great food and customer service.
Gazette Brasserie’s initial goal for using Deputy was to minimise time spent on tracking and managing staff schedules – something that is achieved with ease thanks to their Deputy system.
“We have managers that are checking everything is done properly,” Walter says. “We can control things very easily from logging on to the platform – we know who’s in, who’s not, who’s in that shouldn’t be. I find that I save time on training using the new suite. When we want to communicate with our people, it’s much easier.”
But Deputy’s usefulness has gone well beyond staff tracking and communication. Most importantly, it means Walter and his team can take care of issues they wouldn’t have had time for previously.
“There is always a washing machine broken or breaking down. There’s always another sort of drama. We don’t run an office with two or three pieces of equipment. We run restaurant companies with loads of staff, loads of invoices and lots of potential problems.”
Which is why Gazette is always looking at ways to improve in the future. Consolidation is key at the moment, but thanks to streamlining solutions like Deputy, Walter has big plans for growth in the coming years.
“We want to grow to 10 units plus, and this is what we’re working on. We may have to go through a step back, but the goal is to grow.”
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