CUSTOMER STORY: Laissez-faire

Deputy is a brilliant tool. It saves you time. And time is money.

Arthur Spiropoulus, Retail Manager

Background

Established in 1989, Laissez-faire is a family-owned and operated event catering company and cafe business. Based in Sydney, the company has built its reputation through culinary expertise, service excellence and attention to every detail.

Using only premium quality and seasonal produce, Laissez-faire creates outstanding cuisine, no matter what the event, no matter which venue. To create high quality dishes every time, the company overcomes the limitations of food preparation areas at some establishments by preparing all food off-site at its two commercial kitchens. The company has a fleet of refrigerated vehicles that it uses to transport the fare.

In addition to the catering business, Laissez-faire operates and manages 8 cafes in and around the city, including Yots Cafe at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Cafe Trim in the State Library of NSW, Bites Cafe at Australian Technology Park and Cut Cafe at Fox Studios.

To run the cafe business, Laissez-faire employs a team of 45 individuals who perform a variety of roles including baristas, kitchen hands and service staff. On the events side of the business, the number of staff required at any one time can range from 10 – 200 depending on the type and number of events being managed.

In this business, customer service is everything, and Laissez-faire recognises that its people are the building blocks to its future. Employees at the company enjoy high levels of job satisfaction which show through in its high levels of professionalism. Behind the scenes, the business supports its staff through comprehensive training and ongoing skills development.

Challenges

With such a people intensive business, for Laissez-faire scheduling the right staff at the right time and setting staff rosters are an important part of running this business efficiently.

While Laissez-faire had established key processes to roster staff each week, as the business expanded, this process became a painstaking task that consumed a great deal of time.

“Each week, I would put together the roster on a spreadsheet, email it to the relevant staff so that they could see their allocated shifts and at which venues. Any changes to this would be emailed back to me before I published the roster for the week,” explains Arthur Spiropoulus, Retail Manager at Laissez-Faire.

“When anyone called in sick, I’d have to make a few phone calls, or send a few text messages to find someone to fill the shift. This meant I’d have to carry a copy of the roster with me at all times – especially over the weekend.”

As the business started to automate core operational processes like accounting and stock management, Spiropoulus looked for a more efficient way to handle work scheduling and staff rostering. He evaluated a number of solutions and found Deputy was the best fit for his requirements.

Benefits of Deputy

Now with Deputy on board, Laissez-faire benefits from streamlined and automated work scheduling and staff rostering.

“It’s easy to ensure that only the staff with the right skills or credentials are rostered at a venue at a particular time.

“As you create your roster, staff numbers, shift hours and costs are totalled and displayed on-screen. This allows you to be exact in managing staff costs and not overstaff. This saves the business so much money.

“When someone calls in stick, it’s simply a matter of a couple of clicks to offer the shift and allocate it to another member of staff.”

A side benefit of using Deputy at Laissez-faire is that it promotes professionalism by encouraging all members of staff to be on time and correctly dressed.

“At Laissez-faire, all our hospitality staff members are required to logon for their shifts at the allocated time, dressed in the correct uniform – it’s a basic condition of employment,” explains Spiropoulus. “As staff now use Deputy to login which requires everyone to take a snapshot of themselves on the iPad, everyone now makes sure that they are dressed in the correct uniform before they logon.

“This has eliminated so many timesheet issues, and everyone takes responsibility for turning up at the right time in the right uniform.

“From our staff members’ perspective, they know that the hours they log into Deputy will turn up in their pay packets, and they’re also enjoying the immediacy of leave requests and how to communicate that they’re not available. Now, if someone is marked as unavailable, I can’t accidently roster them on to take shifts.”

Favourite feature

While Laissez-faire is benefitting from automated work scheduling, for Spiropoulus, it’s all about the data.

“The really beautiful thing about Deputy,” says Spiropoulus “is the information we have available at our fingertips.

“I can see at a glance the number of hours worked and the total cost of those hours. I can easily drill down to see who’s doing what and gives me a good window from which to make really important decisions to make the business more efficient.

“In the cafe business, by using the numbers from Deputy tied to the data from our POS, we’ve been able to trim overtime at each outlet. Looking at historical data on the platform, we can reliably predict estimated numbers of customers on a particular day, at a particular time, so I know precisely how many staff I need to roster on to achieve our staff to service ratio and deliver our high level of customer service, without overstaffing.

“These days, I don’t have to rely on guesswork; the numbers are all in the system.”