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How Partners Coffee saves on labor costs, supports work-life balance, and manages complex Fair Workweek laws

New York, United States

At a glance

  • Efficiently publish schedules to comply with Fair Workweek laws
  • Save $6,240 on labor costs per year
  • Save 130 hours on admin work per year, worth $3,900 in savings annually

The Story

Two long-time friends, Amber and Adam, had a vision to bring quality coffee to New York City. So, they began cultivating special relationships with farmers, roasters, baristas, businesses, and customers worldwide. 

But it was more than just great coffee they wanted to bring to the Big Apple; they aimed to provide a great experience every time a customer came into their cafes.

“A coffee shop is a gathering place where people come to interact with each other, and I really enjoy providing an experience that makes people’s day,” says their cafe manager, Gonzalo Aurelios-Solis. 

Since opening their first cafe in 2012, Partners Coffee is now a staple in NYC. Thanks to their extensive wholesale program, residents can find their coffee in many restaurants, grocery stores, and cafes across the city. 

But with five cafe locations, it can be tricky for managers to optimize labor costs and create schedules that meet employee preferences and business demand — without the right platform, that is.

The Challenge

Before Deputy, Partners Coffee used a scheduling system, but it was missing key pieces like compliance management, streamlined integrations, demand planning, and functionality for employees to request sick leave. 

That made it difficult for managers to keep costs down and provide employees with schedules that matched their preferences and supported work-life balance — which is extremely important to Partners Coffee.

One of the most significant barriers they hit was the old system didn’t have an analytics integration. They couldn’t get insights on when to schedule higher or lower based on business demand.

Without that integration, planing their team’s shifts far in advance was more challenging than it needed to be. As the business is committed to giving their baristas as much notice as possible — and meeting Fair Workweek laws — it was key to make that process easier.

“We pride ourselves in putting out our schedule in advance, even before the labor laws changed,” says Gonzalo.

Management also couldn’t get a holistic look at business trends and how they were tracking with labor costs. Gonzalo shares that his team couldn’t clearly see when peak hours were and when sales were lower – which complicated knowing when to schedule more or fewer employees.

“We were having problems figuring out how hours can be better fulfilled and how to manage labor [costs] better.”

Eventually, these blind spots affected costs and staying on budget —  his team was overscheduled during slower periods and under-scheduled during busier times. In addition, this impacted how they determined new hiring. They didn’t know if they should hire part-time or full-time baristas.

“We were having problems figuring out how hours can be better fulfilled and how to manage labor [costs] better.”

The Solution

Partners Coffee began searching for a new system to fill these gaps and found that Deputy was the right fit for managers and baristas. The app’s integrations, demand forecasting, and compliance features have been instrumental in helping their team save on labor costs and stay compliant with Fair Workweek laws.

“Since using Deputy, I was able to schedule a little bit better and reduce our labor costs,” says Gonzalo. He shares a recent example of how Deputy helped his team stay on budget and cut costs by as much as $6,240 per year.

“Last week, I looked at the Analytics tab and saw I was over budget on labor. We aim for 30% labor cost and were at 45%! Luckily, I was able to readjust schedules when we did not need that many people on.”

On top of labor cost savings, managers saw a reduction in manual processes – which has spared them significant admin work and time, allowing them to focus on supporting their team and customers. “Since we started using Deputy, I’ve been able to save on time and costs weekly because I’m able to get schedules done faster. I’m able to jump back into the cafe and make sure it’s running well.” 

Managers producing schedules faster means baristas get their schedules faster. That’s been key for supporting their team’s work-life balance — and has played a huge role in staff retention. 

Brian Zhou, a barista at Partners Coffee, shared how Deputy has empowered him to make better use of his time outside of work: “Deputy helps enable my work-life balance by providing me a really clear idea of what schedule is going to be for the next few weeks. It lets me make my plans ahead of time, and indulge in my hobbies while not feeling super tired.” 

On the compliance management front, Deputy has supported Partners Coffee in staying compliant with Fair Workweek and avoiding hefty fees that could come about if regulations are missed. 

“What I do within Deputy to stay compliant with Fair Workweek is creating schedules more intuitively, putting my schedules out as fast as I can so that baristas have work-life balance and that predictability of knowing when they’re going to work, and making sure that everyone is scheduled where they need to be,” says Gonzalo.

What Partners Coffee didn’t expect is how much their entire team has learned essential skills to uplevel their careers by using Deputy every day. “Since using Deputy, I would say I’ve become a little more focused on time management and planning,” shares Brian.

Gonzalo adds: “Deputy has been helping me grow as a manager, looking at the statistics that I wouldn’t normally be able to see on another platform, better manage a business using these tools to make sure our labor costs are down, and making sure baristas are happy with the schedules. We've been able to make sure the business is thriving as a whole.”

“What I do within Deputy to stay compliant with Fair Workweek is creating schedules more intuitively, putting my schedules out as fast as I can so that baristas have work-life balance and that predictability.”

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