Web-Based Solution Streamlines Scheduling and Reduces Labor Costs
King's Seafood Company has evolved through more than 60 years of family-restaurant business experience. Having turned its focus to seafood a decade ago, King's Seafood Company continues to establish seafood-inspired restaurants that are committed to providing guests with products of superior quality and freshness. King’s Seafood concepts include Water Grill, Ocean Ave Seafood, 555 East, Lou & Mickey's, Fish Camp and the King's Fish House/King Crab Lounge establishments. In addition, King's Seafood Company established King's Seafood Distribution, an exclusive seafood-distribution operation catering to its growing stable of restaurants, to provide the finest seafood to Southern California.
With so many locations, scheduling and managing staff was often a Herculean task. At one point in time King’s Seafood was utilizing an online scheduling product that required managers to leverage each restaurant’s one connected computer in order to work on various schedules; the work could not be completed from home or elsewhere. Additionally, software files didn’t always download properly, creating added delays and headaches for managers.
King’s Seafood Company vice president of operations, RJ Thomas, saw the potential for improvement and decided it was time for an upgrade. HotSchedules emerged as the leading solution and as an improvement from the previous system. HotSchedules provides intuitive mobile and web-based solutions for the restaurant industry and provides a streamlined and more accurate employee-scheduling process, in-depth forecasting abilities and significantly reduced labor costs.
HotSchedules rolled out its integrated Workforce and Digital Logbook solutions at King’s Seafood Company concepts in Southern California, including all 18 locations ofthe Water Grill, Ocean Ave Seafood, 555 East, Lou & Mickey's, Fish Camp and the King's Fish House/King Crab Lounge establishments. The King’s Seafood team saw positive results within the first four weeks. When describing the implementation and training, Thomas praised the process as being thorough, complete, quick and, “In one word: seamless.”
In addition to an improved level of accuracy in scheduling, creating employee schedules is also significantly faster. For King’s Seafood Company, the process has dropped from an hour-long hassle to a simple 15-minute task for managers. “Using our previous system, the average manager was taking 45 minutes to an hour to create each schedule for 30-45 crew members,” Thomas explains. “With HotSchedules, that’s down to 15 minutes. That’s time they can spend doing other, more important tasks.”
Communication between King’s Seafood Company staff and management has also been made easier with the elimination of paper schedules posted on bulletin boards and hard copy shift-trade books, which had a tendency to go missing. All this communication now takes place within the HotSchedules tool, which is accessible to all employees online or via smartphones.
“With HotSchedules, we aren’t flying blind any longer,” Thomas says. “Our schedules are absolutely more accurate now because we base our labor on precise sales forecasts from the HotSchedules system. We view the average trend over the previous six to eight weeks and can achieve accuracy down to within 30-minute increments. When you really dial into your sales, you can control your labor.” Thomas reveals that labor control is where Hotschedules has had the most substantial impact. King’s has enjoyed a nearly two-percent reduction in labor costs.
Going beyond labor management
“We leverage HotSchedules to communicate about more than just scheduling too,” Thomas says. “For example, we recently used it to send out an online survey about healthcare benefits. It’s a great tool to get messages from the home office out to the field without spending a lot of time or money to get it done.”
In addition to manager and staff benefits, King’s Seafood Company has been able to provide an improved guest experiencesince implementing HotSchedules solutions, which has led to an increase in sales. “The biggest trick to succeeding in the restaurant industry is accurately predicting what sales are going to come in the door on any given day,” Thomas says.“HotSchedules gives us that knowledge with 90 percent accuracy and it’s a power that makes managing my day easy.”
The management team is not the only beneficiary of the HotSchedules tool. Staff members also appreciate the convenience of features such as the ability for mobile access. “Our sales are up since we implemented HotSchedules and I attribute this to how the guests perceive us,” Thomas admits. “When you have the right amount of crew on the floor at the right time, restaurant operations flow more smoothly, and it makes the whole atmosphere more comfortable for the guests. Hence, sales go up.”