It's more stressful to be a server than a Neurosurgeon! (according to science)
Owning & managing a food & beverage venue is no cake walk, as I’ve said before. There are numerous daily challenges and hurdles that management faces. Every single owner, manager AND service industry/hospitality industry professional we’ve spoken with claim that the longest running problem they face isn’t managing food costs, or waste, or promotions… it happens to be… staffing issues, and the countless never ending headaches associated with said staffing issues.
What does this have to do with the article I’ve linked to? Well… There are numerous moving parts (players/positions) in the game of running a successful bar, restaurant, or venue. These parts work in unison to achieve the goal of providing great customer experience every single time, to drive continued repeat business, and in turn make money. If you’re fielding a short staffed team, you simply can’t perform to the expectations of ownership, let alone the customers!
It’s a domino effect… You find yourself short staffed on short notice (or not so short notice), without a direct impactful Real Time solution. No, no, no… Facebook posts, Craigslist, or calling/texting everyone and their mother, will NOT give you a Real Time solution. And you can forget temp staffing services altogether.
So back to the domino effect… you find yourself under staffed, it’s a Friday evening, no workable solution at your finger tips, and after trying and failing to get someone, anyone, to cover the open shift(s) you give up and accept reality (defeat). You go without and say to yourself “Everything’s going to be alright. Everything’s going to be ok.”, over and over.
So the next domino is staff fatigue setting in. Staff, especially servers, may initially be excited at having more tables to cover, and the tips that follow. Other positions not so much (think back of house). This excited feeling quickly dissipates and is replaced with resentment and fatigue.
Oh yeah the tip thing… well, wait times, table turn times, anything time related is now a major problem. Could only be a few minutes, however statistics show most likely it’s 20 minutes or more added to the wait. This reflects as poor customer service to the customers. Can’t blame them for this can we? Which by the way, is what 97% of all consumers consider #1 when choosing where to eat or drink (according to the National Restaurant Assoc)!! Thus the extra tables each server has to cover results in smaller total check sizes, and less customers coming in the door that evening (wink, wink, table turn), and of course minimal tips (sometimes no tip at all- which I don’t condone. Ever).
This ultimately culminates with staff burnout and more problems for management. Especially when the repeat customers don’t materialize. Some in the business actually wonder why this is?… Running an understaffed bar or restaurant (any venue really) for ANY period of time is a true recipe for disaster. This disaster becomes much worse with inaction, or by expecting results from the same options that have helped continue this repetitive cycle unabated. This is a vicious cycle I know.
Understaffed Shift(s) lead to:
- Staff Fatigue. (check)
- Staff Resentment (check)
- Staff Burnout (check)
- Service Suffers (check)
- Self Perpetuation (check)
Training doesn’t solve the problem. Inventory control doesn’t solve the problem. Rock solid promotions don’t solve the problem. What does you ask?
SnapShyft does! (wink, wink)
By enabling venues to remain proactive in the moment, ensuring priority #1 is met every single shift, owners and management can provide a great customer experience. No matter the position of need: servers, bartenders, security/door, host/hostess, bussers, cooks, expeditors, support personnel… all roles including dishwashers! Each position is integral to running a great venue and providing the customer a reason to return. See for yourself in this Washington Post article A Dishwasher Can Make Or Break A Restaurant … A restaurant’s dirtiest job is also one of the most crucial ; )
yup, it works
On a hungover morning, Thor Wood, who now resides in Indianapolis, was chugging his coffee battling a rather intense headache when he realized it wasn’t the previous nights shenanigans causing the brain pain, rather it was a massive idea dominating his mind. Simply put he thought he could make it easier for servers, bartenders, and others in the service & hospitality industry to pick up extra shifts for additional income and in turn help the restaurants and bars have appropriate staffing at all times.
Wood had spent over a decade in the service industry, and wondered how he could create a proper mechanism for those within the industry to properly take advantage of the gig economy. Wood launched a new venture, Avail Productivity Systems, and subsequently developed an app called SnapShyft. Wood began working in the industry when he was 14 years old, followed by another decade in staffing and recruiting. This experience works in Thor’s favor, as he can fully grasp both ends of the equation, and he and co-founder Stephanie Corliss have been laser-focused on bringing the platform to life.
Corliss explains that bars and restaurants actually lose business when they are understaffed because customers end up waiting way too long for a table or even a drink refill which causes them to simply walk away spending less overall, or even nothing. SnapShyft enables food & beverage venues to connect with the broad swath of professionals that make up the industry, including servers, bartenders, cooks, security, and even dishwashers who are looking for extra work and better compensation. Since the majority of workers also often work part-time at multiple venues, this platform allows them to pick up extra shifts without really committing to adding another static employment scenario. Logistically it’s an incredible opportunity for both end users.
SnapShyft had their soft launch in Indianapolis in September and have since witnessed tremendous support and adoption, reaching beyond their target market. Without much effort, the company has actually reached users in over 130 cities across 42 states, with over 200 food & beverage venues in Indy having already created an account on the app, and over 1,500 service/hospitality professionals locally. Although not yet live outside of the Indy Metro area, plans have been laid out to enter new markets in 2018 which I think would be very exciting for (wink, wink) Orlando, San Diego, Louisville, Columbus, Cincinnati, Austin, and Minneapolis.
OK, so the app itself is free for both the industry workers, and any type of food & beverage venue, including major event centers, sports facilities, and concert venues. Creating an account and posting available shifts is free. Today, venues can simply create their free account and have unlimited access to post available shifts, paying only for the workers’ time spent covering shifts plus a nominal $20 booking fee. Additional features forthcoming will allow venues to upgrade their account to meet their unique needs. “The biggest hurdle since launch has been efficiently educating those in the industry on a new way of thinking & doing. Eliminating bad habits is a tough process,” says Thor. You can usually find him (and his impressive beard) out and about around Indy engaging people from the industry and doing what he can to help from an awareness & education standpoint.
SnapShyft connects two users in immediate need in instances like a restaurants or bar owner who might have had any number of workers call off, to a server or bartender who might already had a shift but is looking to get some extra cash and pick up another money making gig. “The food and beverage (hospitality) industry is always overlooked…There are millions of people that earn their living, that put food on the table because of this industry and we want to make it easier. We want to make it better,” Wood said. The 5 year vision according to Wood, is to fully arm the entire food & beverage industry with our technology platform enabling them to strengthen their bottom lines, both venues and workers. 15 million professionals and over 1 million venues stand to benefit greatly from what they do.
After moving back to Indy from sunny Florida, Wood pitched his initial concept at the Indy Startup Challenge, a 10-week bootcamp for budding entrepreneurs to present original business ideas, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, where they competed alongside and eventually beat out 14 other startups for a cash prize and services, including access to a popular local co-working facility in Downtown Indianapolis, The Speak Easy. The dynamics that drove the decision to set up shop in Indy were supported by several factors including the technology ecosystem in place as well as a robust food & beverage scene (article quote of Indy being top foodie destination) and the #1 convention city in the Country.
“SnapShyft is going to give people the power to control their schedule which gives them the ability to control their income and their precious time,” said Jeremy Miller, SnapShyft, “Venues stand to benefit immensely, since repeat business typically makes up nearly ⅓ of revenue. Making sure the customer has a great experience every time, begins with being fully staffed”.
Food & beverage is a heavily populated industry that provides full-time and part-time work. SnapShyft essentially creates day-by-day contract employment for people searching for a shift and for the venues that require extra assistance. This platform is truly transforming the service industry and has entered as a complete game changer for so many people. Thor’s hangover berthed an idea that has been brought to life and is now changing the service industry one venue at a time. My recommendation is to keep an eye out for SnapShyft. Cheers.