Schedulefly Stories

Growing a software business one restaurant at a time

Month: January 2011 (Page 1 of 4)

Pagelli’s Is Enjoying Simple Restaurant Scheduling & Communication with Schedulefly

Welcome to Jon, James, and the crews at both Pagelli’s locations in Tampa Bay, FL and Estero, FL. They serve up some incredibly tasty looking Italian food, using old school family recipes.

Pagelli’s is part of the same family as Eastside Firepit City Grill, and we’re excited to help make life easier for all of the fun team members in this group!

The Schedulefly Crew

Eastside Firepit City Crill Joins the Family

Welcome to Jim and the team at Eastside Firepit City Grill in Ft. Myers, FL. One look at the pics of the food on their site, and you’ll be wishing you were in Ft. Meyers for dinner this evening!

We hope you have fun with Schedulefly, and we’re stoked to help make your lives easier.

The Schedulefly Team

Press’d The Sandwich Company Joins the Schedulefly Movement

A big welcome to Gavin and the crew at Press’d. They’re making up some darn good looking sandwiches in Edmonton, AB, and we’re stoked to be able to make their restaurant scheduling and communication a whole lot easier.

We’re always inspired by entrepreneurial stories like the one that happened at Press’d. Here it is, straight from their web site:

Teammates Gavin Fedorak and Scott Gordon were on the road with the University of Alberta’s Golden Bears basketball team one day in 2006, when the team had just conceded a particularly one-sided loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. Hoping to replenish their energy, and maybe eat away their sorrows, they stopped at a local sandwich shop—and were blown away.

The sandwiches they sampled that day in Phoenix were fresh and delicious. Each was an inspired creation of high-quality meat, fresh veggies, and real cheese on the freshest bread—at a fair price. For the rest of their road trip, Gavin and Scott couldn’t stop talking about the meals they’d had, and how they wished there was a shop like that back home in Edmonton.

By 2009, U of A Business grads Gavin and Scott had left basketball behind and launched promising corporate accounting careers. Having a business of their own was always a plan though, so together with Gavin’s brother Grant they made up their minds—Edmonton still needed better sandwiches, and they were going to make it happen.

After a year of testing recipes, learning to bake, and scouting locations, the trio opened press’d to enthusiastic mid-day crowds.

Congrats guys. We’re honored to serve you and your team.

The Schedulefly Crew

Why Restaurants Should Compete for Staff, Not Customers

Jon Myerow didn’t come from money. He’s a guy who took on equity and debt to start his first Tria location in 2004, and he’s worked very hard every year since to build popular, profitable restaurants. He has learned to mix in style and passion with hard work and savvy business decisions. Along the way, he has created Philadelphia’s most popular wine, cheese and beer cafés, featuring artisanal products made by passionate people. Both Tria and Biba, his other concept, are simple concepts, executed extremely well. When we spoke to Jon for Restaurant Owners Uncorked, we asked about the importance of hiring the right people to work in his restaurants. Here’s some of what he said…

“To me the biggest competition is not for customers. It’s for staff. If you compete in the labor market and get the best staff, the customers will follow. So we look at it a little differently. We put a lot of money into the staff. Paying them, and the benefits, and so forth.

We’re very selective. If we put an ad on Craigslist, we’ll get 100 or 200 responses, and there might be three or four people that we consider seriously. I like to say, “It’s harder to get into Tria than it is to get into Harvard!” (Laughs) Our acceptance rate is lower.”

Jon shared many other winning philosophies during his interview, and you’ll be able to read about them very soon. Stay tuned…

The Schedulefly Crew

Why Restaurants Should Have General Managing Partners with Skin in the Game

Jeff Gigante started his first pizzeria during his final year at Florida State University, twenty years ago. He’s been in the restaurant business ever since. This man knows what he’s doing. Period. He runs popular, profitable restaurants, and he focuses every day on his 300+ staff, and the 35,000 people his restaurants (Ciccio’s Water, Daily Eats, Lodge, Ciccio’s Lodge, Ciccio’s California Cuisine, The Lime) serve weekly. When we interviewed Jeff for Restaurant Owners Uncorked, he us why he has general managing partners who have skin in the game and own a piece of his business…


We’ve financed a lot of our partners that ended up becoming general managing partners of our business, after they’ve been managers for a couple of years, and they want a piece of it.

For me, it’s very important that people are willing to put skin in the game, because then they’re truly vested like we are. They live and die by the success of the business. It’s easy for a GM who’s making $60,000 a year to become indifferent to the bottom line. When he sees a server throw plastic tray with a piece of deli sheet on it – that we serve sandwiches on and that costs me $0.89 – into the trash, he doesn’t dive in there to get it, and then grab that server and say, “Listen, this is not garbage.” When somebody’s got their salary and they’re comfortable, it’s hard for them to have those types of eyes.

But when they know that they’ve borrowed money from their mother, and stuck it into this restaurant, and she’s calling and saying, “How is it doing son? Are you doing o.k.? Are you making money? What? You made a $2,200 bonus at the end of this month? That’s phenomenal!” That’s a different aspect altogether.

That’s the people we’re looking for, because this is my passion. This is what I do to take care of my family.


In the book, Jeff goes on to talk about why it’s important to be paranoid, why he pays managers based on profits, and how one of his concepts is doing up to $1,700,000 per year with 20% margins in a 2,800 square foot space.

The Schedulefly Crew

Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream Hires Sales People for Every Position

Matt Frey left a career in corporate sales to open Bub’s with his wife, Rachel. Both had worked in restaurants, but had never owned one, or even managed one. Like any successful entrepreneur, Matt had the attitude that failure was not an option, and he’s built a successful business around that mentality. In fact, he said several times that he looks at Bub’s as a business, not a restaurant. Bub’s has been very successful, and was recently featured on the hit Food Channel show, “Man v. Food.” Here Matt shares his philosophies on hiring sales people for every position at Bub’s…


You focus a lot on sales.
You bet. When I hire, it’s salespeople and not waiters. I think that’s what every restaurant owner should focus on. Anyone can go, “Hi, my name is Ashley. What do you want to eat today?” Bullshit. The first thing you do is say, “Hi, how are you?” You create a relationship, and you talk about the menu, and you talk about the promotions, or the soup of the day and carry on to close the deal.

How important is it to have the right kind of staff in your restaurant?
It’s vital, absolutely vital. They’re a complete reflection of me and my family.

It’s well known at this point what to expect when they walk in. They know that we hire young people. I’m very active in the local high school in their marketing classes and entrepreneur classes, talking about sales and how important sales is not only at Bub’s but anywhere they work. I tell them we don’t hire ice cream scoopers, bussers, dishwasher, hosts or waiters. We hire salespeople.

If we hire you to dish, if you’re content with that, you’ll last about a week here. You should be motivated enough to say, “Okay, what do I have to do here to get my feet on that floor to make that cash?” We hire 15 year olds. Those kids walk out with $100 – $150 bucks cash in their pockets after working four hours. These are the kids that gave you that goofy look when you were talking about ROI and maximizing profitability, but when they walk out with that cash, they fully understand and they take it real serious after that.


Matt shared a lot of other valuable advice in his interview for Restaurant Owners Uncorked, which will be available soon!

The Schedulefly Crew

Know Your Community Intimately

Scott Maitland started Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery to prevent a chain restaurant from dominating downtown Chapel Hill. Not only did he accomplish that, but he turned his restaurant into a place that anybody can visit to represent the quintessential Chapel Hill experience. Located at the very heart of downtown Chapel Hill, Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery is, quite simply, the social crossroads of Chapel Hill. It has undoubtedly become an institution.

During his interview for Restaurant Owners Uncorked, Scott discussed how important it is for indie restaurant owners to have intimate local knowledge, and how chains and owners from outside of your town can miss on that…

How about an example of a restaurant that didn’t have that intimate local knowledge?

“Here’s one. Michael Jordan hooked up with an independent restaurant group out of Chicago to start “23 Restaurant” here in Chapel Hill. They had marketed themselves as the place for fathers and sons to go to before the game. To be frank, I was a little nervous. They were right down the block, and I was thinking, It’s going to be tough to compete against that.

Well, I’ve never seen a group that had such a scattered concept of what the restaurant was going to be about. They were advertising it as the place to go to before the game, but the menu didn’t have a hamburger on it. Rather, they were selling $26 rabbit!

I now have this theory that the bigger a city is, the farther it is away from its food, so consequently, the food needs to become more and more exotic. I don’t know if I am accurate or not, but I guess rabbit seems fun and exotic in Chicago. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people here in North Carolina who remember hard times, and the only way they got to eat was to go out and shoot a rabbit.

The idea of paying $26 to have a rabbit doesn’t work on many levels. It’s not what you want to eat before a basketball game, and it’s not what this market wants.”

Our book will be available soon, and you’ll be able to learn a lot more from Scott and the other owners who shared their advice and pearls of wisdom.

The Schedulefly Crew

Legendary Restaurateur Phil Roberts Tells How Edgy Marketing Works…If It Fits the Concept

Phil Roberts is a legend in the restaurant business, having launched over ten successful restaurants, including Buca di Beppo and The Oceanaire Seafood Room, which both went public. He owns Parasole Restaurant Group, which runs ten extremely successful restaurants in Minneapolis.

Phil is bold, innovative, and knows what people want before they do. He isn’t politically correct, and he’s refreshingly unafraid to offer very honest opinions on any topic. Here’s an excerpt from our upcoming book, Restaurant Owners Uncorked, from a conversation he and I had about his sometimes edgy marketing.

How is your marketing edgy and unique?
“It depends on the restaurant. The marketing is a couple of the spokes in that wheel. However you express yourself on the outside has got to describe the promise of what you’re going to get on the inside.

Manny’s Steakhouse is a good example. We do $17,000,000 a year there. It’s all prime beef. I don’t know what steakhouses you have there in Charlotte, but it’s like The Palm, or Sparks in New York, or any of those. But Manny’s symbol from day one has been this really red-eyed, horny bull. Just frothing at the mouth. Just a sexual predator. I mean, that’s the look that he has. There’s just no doubt that he’s kind of a guys-guy kind of a symbol. You can see him on our web site.

So in our marketing, we always use the bull. And let me digress a little bit on the story of the bull. When we decided on our meat supplier – this is 1988 – our meat supplier tells us that the American Meat Council had an artist that does marvelous paintings of bulls. The guy is named Frank Murphy.

I called him, and I could tell over the phone that he was a quieter, gentler, older, man. I said, “Frank, I need a painting of this bull. And I want him to be the horniest thing you have ever painted in your life. And I want him to be about three feet wide and four feet tall.” He says, “Yes, Mr. Roberts, I can do that for you. Why don’t I do a pencil sketch, and I’ll fax it up to you.” That was before the days of email.

So the next day I get this fax of this bull, and it’s good. It’s really good. Because he’s frothing at the mouth and he’s doing all this kind of stuff. I called Frank back and I said, “This looks good. When you paint him I want to make sure that his eyes are red, and that he’s really lusting after the cows. And there’s one thing I’d like to have you do. I’d like you to make his balls bigger.” And this gentle, older man says, “Why, yes Mr. Roberts. I can do that. Why don’t I repair the drawing, and I will fax another copy up to you?”

About an hour later, I get this fax, and I call Frank back, and say, “Frank, that’s great. You are really moving in the right direction, buddy. But I’d like to have the balls even bigger.” He says, “Oh, uh, Mr. Roberts, that would be anatomically incorrect.” I said, “Well Frank, let’s just do it. I don’t give a shit. I’d just like to see them anatomically incorrect.”

About an hour later I get another fax, and the balls are damned near hanging on the ground. I call Frank back and I say, “Frank, I’ve just got one more request.” He says, “Oh, Mr. Roberts, what’s that going to be?” I say, “I just want you to make them shiny.”

So his balls are shiny. I mean, you could comb your hair by looking at ‘em. But that’s the symbol of Manny’s. But you know, it all makes sense. Because Manny’s is a steakhouse. Manny’s is a guys place that women love. You know, it’s naughty. You can’t believe the number of women that get their pictures taken in front of the bull, tickling his balls. So, you know, it all fits. It’s a guys-guy joint.

So that’s the way we market Manny’s. We always use the bull, and we use him in a number of different ways. Sometimes we only feature his balls in some of our ads. So that’s Manny’s.

My point is that it fits Manny’s. It doesn’t fit Chino Latino. It doesn’t fit The Good Earth. It doesn’t fit Pittsburgh Blue. I doesn’t fit Salut. It doesn’t fit Muffuletta. But it does fit Manny’s. So the marketing has to be tailored, and has to be in lockstep with what the concept is.”

Want to hear Phil’s story about how he got $100,000 in free publicity by using an edgy billboard? Stay tuned and we’ll let you know when the book is ready.

The Schedulefly Crew

The Twisted Kilt Is Having Fun with Schedulefly

Welcome to Darren and the lovely team at The Twisted Kilt Pub in Edmonton, AB. We’re happy to help make your lives a little easier, and make scheduling and communication simple at your restaurant.

The Twisted Kilt just recently opened, and they’re hoppin’ every day. We wish y’all luck, and we’re happy to help if you need anything.

The Schedulefly Crew

Man v. Food Is Stoked About Cool Schedulefly Customers…

We love serving independent restaurants. They’re cool and quirky and fun…the list goes on. Most people love indies as well, especially ones that serve up unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else. That’s why Travel Channel’s show “Man v. Food” is such a hit.

It’s cool to watch the show and see one of our customers featured. Here are a few that Adam Richman as visited recently.

Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream in Carmel, IN

The Pit in Raleigh, NC

Beau Jo’s in Boulder, CO

If the folks at Travel Channel are looking for other fun indie restaurants to visit, give us a ring. We’ve know a bunch that we can point you to.

Proudly Serving Awesome Indie Restaurants Everywhere,

The Schedulefly Crew

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