How Chai Guys reduced stress, optimised payroll and simplified scheduling with Deputy
At a glance
- Schedules are easily created and change at short notice
- Employees can see where they need to be, at any time
- Payroll integration automates the process of getting people paid
It all started with an idea. Gabriel Unger and Abhilash (Abs) Jobanputra met during a short spell at a large consultancy. Having both lived in India, they wondered why it was impossible to get authentic chai, a distinctively brewed blend of tea with spices, milk and sugar, in London. (Chai lattes, by the way, are very much not the real thing). They kept meeting up and talking, eventually travelling to India on what Gabriel called “a foodie's dream trip” to try different chai teas and find the right blends to fill the gap in London’s market.
Months of experimenting led to their three core chais (“the best of Indian chai, with a twist”) – and a presence on Brick Lane and then Spitalfields markets in London. At first, the duo, who had no hospitality experience, worked the stalls themselves, but soon needed to hire in staff to keep up with demand and their moves to new sites. They had no problem attracting people. “We’ve had up to 300 applications for every post” says Gabriel. “People love the product, which is more complex and interesting than coffee, and they enjoy making customers feel at home.”
“People love the product and we enjoy making customers feel at home.”
Now with 15 employees on board, Chai Guys found that scheduling shifts began to cause headaches. “A couple of years ago I set up an Excel spreadsheet for scheduling”, says Gabriel. “I knew it wasn’t great, and it became frustrating as we grew”.
“Alongside the spreadsheet, we used screenshots of dates with people’s names next to them, showing where they need to be and when. It wasn’t a ‘living thing’, so when we needed to change things or add hours, it created a lot of manual work. Our manager who did the schedules was annoyed by it.” Payroll, too, had become stressful, admits Gabriel: “Paying each person the correct amount based on manual timesheets was difficult – especially if we have to make retrospective changes to schedules manually.”
Abs and Gabriel didn't have to go far to research different ways of doing things. Asking around at Spitalfields market soon brought recommendations. When fellow business Humble Crumble showed them Deputy, Gabriel immediately thought: “This is fantastic – it’s time for us to implement it.”
“Using spreadsheets to schedule staff became frustrating and stressful.”
Once Chai Guys had Deputy up and running for scheduling, it became obvious how much admin time it saves. As Gabriel says, “Having it on everyone’s phone so they can look at where they need to be at any time instead of finding a message on a WhatsApp group with a screenshot of an Excel sheet – it’s a big-time upgrade!”
And now that the business is changing the way it does accounting, payroll is about to get easier, too. As Gabriel says, “Our new accountants know Deputy, so they’ll be able to do everything automatically with downloaded timesheets and people’s hourly rates. That’s a big thing. It was such a struggle using an Excel system, but now, if someone stays another hour or arrives early, they’ll get paid for it, it’s all automatic.”
Abs sums up why Deputy suits Chai Guys so well: “We learned the hard way about the woes of scheduling and trying to manage staff in two locations. We wanted to find ways to automate processes, to free up our time to be with customers and grow the business. Deputy was the perfect software to make that possible.”
“Deputy is a big-time upgrade!”