Phil and Claire Gadd immigrated to Canada and opened The Loaf in 2009. Phil admits it was a bit of a crazy idea, as he had never done anything like it before, but it has worked out well. Located in the popular Canadian resort town of Fernie, it is the go-to place for locals and visitors wanting the creative comfort food that can only come from a small-batch bakery.
Much has changed for The Loaf in their past 8 years of business. What started as a small bakery and cafe grew quickly to include a wholesale bakery and another location. Last October, they made the tough decision to consolidate the business into a single location that would include a restaurant and bar.
Everything at The Loaf is made from scratch, and is backed by a company promise to always provide great food and drinks with outstanding service every day. “When people come in to eat, we consider it an extension of our home,” says Phil, and he’s speaking literally, as he and Claire live in the building above the restaurant. “We want that welcoming vibe in our restaurant—that helps us stand out from the crowd.”
Phil says he’s always leaned towards technology when researching solutions for business issues. “Cost of goods and wages were easy to manage until we started growing. We got to a point where we needed something tech driven—I’ve always been that way.” says Phil. Because of this, a scheduling app was something he had on his radar and 7shifts has been in use at The Loaf since 2014.
“The fact that 7shifts is for restaurants is what caught me.” – Phil Gadd
Prior to using 7shifts, Phil used Excel spreadsheets and found it very cumbersome. He’d spend hours trying to come up with the best schedule. When there were changes, such as time-off requests or shift trades, Phil always had to redraft and adjust what he had spent so much time working on.
Phil used to spent 3–4 hours scheduling, which didn’t account for time spent on revisions to accommodate shift changes. Now, with 7shifts, he creates his schedule within 15 minutes. “It’s not just the time saver on creating the schedule, which is fantastic, it’s that once it’s published, it updates changes instantly and is always live,” says Phil. Even if the schedule isn’t quite right, he will publish it anyway and has confidence that, when the workweek comes around, it will sort itself out via staff shift swaps.
“It frees up my time to work on other things. I’ve saved hours every week being able to schedule with 7shifts.”
The Loaf management no longer provides a printed schedule for staff because everyone is so connected. “Anything work-related goes through 7shifts. It’s improved our communication,” states Phil. As a relatively small business, they don’t always have the luxury of having a full-time manager in the off-season. 7shifts is also great for communication between managers when Phil and Claire go back home to the UK.
When asked what the biggest benefit to being a 7shifts client is, Phil doesn’t hesitate to mention the labor budget tool. Fernie’s seasonality means that labor is a big challenge. Phil also uses Touchbistro POS at The Loaf, which integrates with 7shifts. The labor budget tool helps him easily build schedules based on projected sales data. “When you split our business into departments, for example, FOH labour is 10% of total revenue and BOH is 20%. We can easily see that when we’re scheduling.” says Phil.
“7shifts has saved us 4% in labour costs.”
The goal for The Loaf is to become a well-run, profitable restaurant in the next 12–18 months. Once they have the concept exactly where they want it, they plan to grow again. “We want to build a good, solid, profitable restaurant,” says Phil.
What is Phil’s scheduling advice for restaurateur peers? “Scheduling is one of the biggest parts of running a business. It’s setting budgets, but being realistic about the service level you want to provide. You gotta find the balance between being profitable and offering amazing service. We use very basic restaurant math. Cost of goods (30%), wages (30%), operations (20%), the rest is profit. Something like 7shifts gives us the tools to work with budgets to achieve that goal.”