Ume Burger and Deputy work together to flip the best Japanese burgers in Sydney
At a glance
- Saving 20 hours a week in admin time
- Use real-time costing to save money on rosters
- Rostering staff across two busy CBD locations
For multiple-award winning chef Kerby Craig, it was a hamburger from The Great Burger in Tokyo that changed his life.
Inspired by the growing burger culture in Japan, Craig – together with good friend and fellow chef Joe Siahaan – decided to ‘have some fun’ one Sunday by trying out a Japanese burger pop-up at Craig’s fine dining restaurant Ume Restaurant in Surry Hills.
“We always wanted to do a Japanese style burger shop,” said Craig. “It was our day off, so we thought we’d cook some burgers, wear whatever we want, play whatever music we want and have some fun.”
Without any advertising, other than a post on their Instagram page, they could never have anticipated the huge response it would receive. With a line of over 100 people snaking up the street, their pop-up burger stand sold out in 45 minutes flat.
“After that, we did about 10 of them,” says Craig. “Every single one of them we were thinking ‘Oh this one is going to flop for sure’, but we sold out every time.”
When the opportunity came up to open an Ume Burger shop at the new Barangaroo development, Craig and Siahaan didn’t need to think twice.
Word spread quickly about the fine dining chefs making awesome Japanese burgers in Barangaroo, with Ume Burger churning out as many as 650 burgers a day at their new location.
"The test of a good cook is being able to get the simple things perfect – that’s what we try to do with the burgers."
Although both restaurants were thriving, Craig was faced with the new challenge of managing a much larger team that was now spread across two bustling locations.
“I was using an excel spreadsheet,” says Craig, referencing his early days of roster writing. “I came from doing little restaurants with four staff, you just work from whenever you’re here until close – that’s just the rule in fine dining restaurants. When we transferred over, it was taking hours for people just to write a roster…Either you pay a bookkeeper $500 or $600 a week, or you’re doing it for 20-30 hours a week manually.”
To try and balance the high cost of employee wages with sales, Craig either had to be physically present at each venue, or constantly phoning up managers to ensure that staff members were taking their breaks and correctly adjusting the number of staff for the ebb and flow of their peak times.
Frustrated, Craig was venting these pain-points to a fellow restauranteur, who had just one thing to say:
“Bro you’re an idiot – you should be using Deputy.”
"Everyone is rostered through Deputy; all the payments are done through Deputy. That’s why we can rely on it."
For Craig and Siahaan, trying to pair employee unavailability with ever changing roster demands had always been the biggest nightmare for them. Needing to communicate with every member of their growing team to determine their availability each week was an ‘appalling’ waste of time.
Being able to copy and paste shifts from week to week with Deputy has been a game changer for the Ume team, handing the responsibility back to their employees through allowing them to easily communicate their availabilities, and organise shift swaps in advance.
For both Craig and Siahaan however, the favourite feature is cost reporting on employee wages.
“Wages are the biggest cost in business in Sydney at the moment,” explains Craig_. “With Deputy, I can see who’s on shift, and I’m able to know in real time how much it’s costing.”_
For Siahaan, it’s Deputy’s automated timekeeping and payroll that save the day.
“You don’t have to worry about any formulas. You don’t worry about missing a keystroke and suddenly you’ve lost the business $300, $400 or something like that. You don’t have to pay an extra person to do a payroll who’s not doing the rosters as well… To put that together is pretty handy.”
With Craig and Siahaan excitedly talking about Japanese hot-dogs, pasta and ramen, it’s clear that the sky is the limit with what they will get up to next.
"With Deputy, I can run two businesses with just two people rather than needing a different person for payroll, admin, rostering and all these different departments within the business."