Schedulefly Stories

Growing a software business one restaurant at a time

Month: June 2011

Schedulefly attracts fun customers…

Most of our customers are cool and happy and easy to talk to and excited about our software. It’s so much fun to serve them. And they are glad to know we’re having fun while doing it. You couldn’t ask for anything more as a business owner.

I’m handling our support right now because Tyler is traveling. I picked up support around 1pm yesterday. At 5pm I went with my friend to the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) here in Charlotte, N.C. (If you like rafting or kayaking or mountain biking or hiking or rock climbing or just being outdoors, this place is INCREDIBLE! It’s a destination. Come visit it.)

At 6pm I received a voice mail from the owner of a restaurant that had been running a free trial. He was happy with our software and wanted to convert to being a paying customer. He called to give us his credit card number. Meanwhile, I was on a Stand-Up Paddleboard.

Here’s how the conversation went when I called him back at 8pm when I had gotten off the water …

Me: “Hey Charlie, it’s Wil from Schedulefly.”

Charlie: “Hey there Wil. What are you doing working so late?”

Me: “Well, I was stand-up paddleboarding at the U.S. National Whitewater Center when you called.”

Charlie: “Aw, well, F*** you. (Laughs). Y’all are my kind of people.”

Well, Charlie, you are our kind of people.

When I used to sell to banks, I remember not wanting them to know that my company only had three people at the time. And that I worked out of my apartment. I would ask my wife to take our puppies on a walk when I had a customer call so the person didn’t hear them in the background. I asked her not to empty the dishwasher or fill a cup with ice when I was on the phone. I sold to very serious professional people who expected me to be serious and professional as well. I would have never said I was at the USNWC when I was talking to one of them, even if I were.

I didn’t have to hide what I was doing when I talked to Charlie. In fact, he was glad to hear it. He wanted to be there with me. And instead of worrying if our business has enough people to take care of him and his restaurant, he loves that we figured out how to do this with three people. I can talk to him with a live band playing in the background and it doesn’t matter. In fact, it makes him like us more.

Charlie is like all of our customers. The people who like Schedulefly tend to be happy. Down to earth. Easy to talk to. People who use Schedulefly are fun. And we have a lot of fun serving them, and while we’re serving them.

Wil

Restaurant Owners Uncorked is #1 on Amazon

WOW! As of today our book, Restaurant Owners Uncorked, is #1 (top rated) in it’s category. It’s ahead of some really fantastic restaurant industry books including Setting the Table and Fast Food Nation.

Congrats to the 20 restaurateurs in this book and to Wil Brawley for presenting it so well. Their stories are amazing and it’s so cool that people are starting to read them….

Behind the curtain at Schedulefly: Time for lunch…

There was a time when I wore a tie to work every day. I worked for a bank. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my career, but I could not have been more wrong. My lunches normally consisted of me eating with one or more colleagues, eating quickly because we had to get back to the office. We would talk about work stuff. Or maybe other things, but we didn’t venture far from work either physically or mentally.

After my banking career ended, I was part of a fast growing start-up business. For a few years I didn’t have any kids and my wife worked a long way from our house. I ate lunch by myself most days. Normally at my desk. While putting together a PowerPoint presentation. Then we hired more people. And for the most part they were people I liked both personally and professionally. One if them is one of my best friends to this day. I normally ate lunch with one or more of them. Those lunches were cool. I felt lucky.

But nothing compares to this kind of lunch. Mid-June. Hot as Hades outside. I’m hanging out in my kitchen in a t-shirt and exercise shorts and I haven’t shaved in a couple of weeks. I had been working on an article for Restaurant Hospitality most of the morning and my son had been drawing and playing with matchbox cars on the floor beside me. I switched my laptop over to some good music, whipped up his lunch and mine, and sat at our bar next to him. I wouldn’t trade this kind of lunch for anything…

Wil

Norm!

“Sometimes you want go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.” So goes the theme song for one of the greatest TV shows in history, “Cheers.”

If you watched the show, you know that when “Norm” walked in the door each episode, the folks around the bar all shouted, “NORM!” They were glad to see him. He was a regular. They counted on him to show up daily, and he counted on them to know him and care about him. They didn’t have to ask what he wanted to drink. They knew, and they started pouring no later than when he had taken his coat off. (Here are some great Norm-entering-the-bar clips on YouTube)

I’ve become a bit of a “Norm” at the coffee shop I visit daily. http://www.castironwaffles.com/Home.html. I go partially because it’s near my office and partially because I think their coffee is awesome. But if I’m honest with myself, the main reason I go is because they know my name and they’re happy when I show up. They start pouring my favorite drink when I walk in. They smile and say, “Hey Wil!” They know I don’t need a receipt. And recently when they stopped serving coffee in porcelain cups and started using regular ole disposable cups, they saved a porcelain cup for me. They saved one for me and a few more for other regulars. Now that’s just smart business. I never asked them to do that. They just did.

Anybody with a loan or some free cash can start a coffee shop. And lots of them can probably figure out how to buy well-roasted beans and serve really good coffee. But not just anybody is wise enough to make sure their staff know all of their regulars by name, greet them by name every time they walk in, and know what they order every day. And I suspect an even smaller percentage would go the extra mile and serve their regulars in different cups, or do something unique that makes those regulars feel special.

So they’ve got me hooked. They’ve got me hooked and not only do I go there daily, but I tell everybody I know about them. And I’m even writing this blog about them. Just because they know my name. And they’re always glad I came.

Wil

Schedulefly and Joe’s Real BBQ featured in Hospitality Technology Magazine

We are really stoked about a recent article in Hospitality Technology magazine called Maximize Workforce Efficiency. The article talks about how Tad Peelen from Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert AZ is using web based tools to save time, communicate faster and better manage coverage all while creating a much happier workforce that does not want to leave. Here is what he said about Schedulefly…

“The cool thing about Schedulefly is employees all have a cell phone, whether they’re Web-savvy or not,” Peelen relates. “They still have a schedule in their hands, and it’s cool that it helps these folks.” Peelen’s results are compelling. Attrition rates are down. He’s maintaining his workforce longer than before, and the number of uncovered shifts has dwindled to almost nothing. “For people who live on the Web it lets them cover their own shift,” Peelen says. “In this economy someone will pick [the shift] up, which is nice for a manager because I don’t need to get involved.”

Awesome!

The Schedulefly Crew

Awesome industry quotes on the cover of Restaurant Owners Uncorked

Our book, Restaurant Owners Uncorked, is getting some great reviews on Amazon and it’s also finding it’s way to the offices of some restaurant industry editors who have said great things about the advice in the 20 interviews. Here are 2 quotes now proudly displayed on the back cover of the book…

“Filled with great insights and advice for anybody interested in opening a restaurant.”
Robin Lee Allen, Executive Editor

“Restaurant owners couldn’t ask for a book more aligned with their specific problems and needs.”
Bob Krummert, Senior Editor

The Schedulefly Crew

3 Lessons from Restaurant Owners Uncorked featured on Restaurant Hospitality Magazine’s website

Wil wrote a great article that is featured on the home page of Restaurant Hospitality magazine’s website. It’s called 3 Lessons from Big Red F’s Query. Dave Query is one of the 20 restaurant owners highlighted in our book Restaurant Owners Uncorked and, of course, a Schedulefly customer. The 3 lessons Wil learned from interviewing Dave are so good. You just have to read them …so check out the article!

Here is a shot of Dave and the article on the home page…

The Schedulefly Crew

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