Schedulefly Stories

Growing a software business one restaurant at a time

Month: January 2017

Sticking to your beliefs

When I interviewed Bret Oliverio from Sup Dogs for our second Restaurant Owners Uncorked book (it’s coming soon – the first book is here on Amazon), we had an interesting exchange about being bold enough to be different from the crowd…

Wil – “One of my favorite business books is called Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd. It talks about how important it is to take a stand and to be different. If you really want to create something special, you have to go about it that way.”

Bret – “I totally agree. I think a lot of that applies to what we’re doing. College is the most fun time in your life, so I want to be the most fun restaurant out there.

You have to know who your audience is. I think one of my strengths and my wife’s strengthsis knowing what college students in a college community want. We do get a ton of families in for lunch and a ton of families in for dinner. It’s not just college kids that come into our restaurant. But when I think about college, it’s all about girls and having fun. That’s what our business has to be all about.

Our hotdog is six inches long, but it’s not too thick. It’s not like you’re eating some big, giant hotdog at the stadium. Our patties are hand-packed fresh, hand-smashed. We smash them out real thin. To me, it’s a little easier for a girl to eat it. A group of college girls isn’t going to want eat a big, giant piece of cow before she goes to a house party with her friends. Everything we do is sort of with the college girl in mind — everything from our drinks to presentation of our food to the décor of the restaurant. My mentality is that if you can be successful doing that, the guys will follow and the community will follow. If I visit a college town, I want get a college experience. We went to the University of Florida a couple years ago to go to football game and I wanted to see my wife’s whole college experience. I wanted to be around the students — I wanted to be around the Gators. We get complaints: the restaurant’s too loud, it’s too bright, there are too many girls in there. They say, ‘Your staff act like sorority girls.’ Well, this is college. I mean, what do you want? I saw one Yelp review where some guy was like, ‘The food was great and the service is good, but their staff is laughing and they’re loud and they’re having fun. This isn’t a sorority house, girl. This is work.’ I’m thinking, ‘This dude just doesn’t get it.’

Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the stuff I hear is positive, and I love it. With complaints, my dad always says, ‘If there’s someone that really doesn’t like being there, it’s like having a remote control. You could turn the channel if you want.’ There are always other options. You’re not going to be for everyone, that’s for sure.

If we make a mistake, or we’re in the wrong, I am over-the-top apologetic. I’ll do anything I can to make it right. But my mentality, first and foremost, is to side with our restaurant and our staff, because most of the time they know what they’re doing. Those are the people you are working with, day-in and day-out. I really side with our staff first, but if there is stuff that comes up and if we mess up a ticket or the ticket time’s thirty minutes or whatever it is, then I’m the first one to apologize. I know when we’re in the wrong. But there is something to be said for sticking to your business and your staff and your beliefs.”

You’ll hear more from Bret soon. His is the most amazing story I’ve come across in five years of interviewing restaurant owners, and we’re sharing it in a new film we plan to release in March.

Wil

New book coming soon!

We’ve been hard at work on the next Restaurant Owners Uncorked book. The first one, available here on Amazon, came out five years ago next month. It has sold around 15,000 copies and has received great reviews. If you’d be interested in knowing the stories of 20 successful independent restaurant owners, you’ll enjoy it. All of the owners were very honest with both their successes and their failures.

The second book features 21 owners, many of whom read the first one and told us they enjoyed it, so we asked them to be in this one! We’ve been collecting their pictures lately, and I wanted to share a few of them. All of them have inspiring stories and offer extremely useful wisdom they’ve picked up along the way in their journeys in the restaurant business.

Lisa and Julian Siegel, Riverside Market & Cafe
Rayme Rossello, Comida
Van Nolintha (right), Bida Manda
Jess Killeen, Grassburger
We hope to have the book ready for sale on Amazon by March. In the mean time, stay tuned here as we’ll be sharing some of the great stories we heard from these awesome folks!
The Schedulefly Crew
Wes, Tyler, Wil, Charles and Hank

Star Wars and why we don’t have partners (Repost)

Wil and I have been blogging stories for almost 10 years now. This is still one of the best posts I’ve ever read and it’s still true 5 years later. Thought I’d share it again because not only is it humorous (especially if your a Star Wars fan)- it also has a great lesson.

Here it is….

In 2009 Wes and I went to the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show in Chicago. We’ll never go again for these reasons. But while we were there, a very interesting thing happened. A guy we had never seen spent quite a bit of time hanging out at the booth directly across from us. He didn’t work for that company, but he is a consultant and liked to bring his customers by their booth to introduce them to that particular exhibitor.

He would typically have four or five people with him, and he would linger behind them as they listened to the exhibitor, which meant he was lingering very close to our booth. In fact, since the isles aren’t very wide (at least not in the way back bowels of the smaller of the two exhibit halls, where we were stationed), he was lingering pretty damn close to our booth. Close enough that traffic was clogged up and quite a few folks turned and walked in the other direction.

Anyway, not far along into the first day, we overheard the group mention something about “scheduling” and our eyes lit up. “Hey, sounds like they’re going to speak with us next.” But the annoying, lingering, traffic clogging consultant promptly mentioned our competitor’s name, and told the group to follow him. They disappeared around the corner.

It was as rude and disrespectful of a gesture as was possible. Wes and I stared at each other in total disbelief, and we had to hold each other back from following the guy and telling him to go … well, I’ll save the profanity. But you get the point.

Needless to say, we remembered that guy very well and we hoped to never see him again. But alas, just a few months later, I was invited into a meeting about a potential partnership with some folks here in Charlotte, and as I walked into the conference room and looked up, this scene from “The Empire Strikes Back” quickly flashed through my mind…

That’s right, our buddy was seated at the table already, awaiting my arrival. I literally thought my jaw was going to hit the floor when I saw him sitting there. Like Han Solo, I wanted to escape but I was trapped. I sat down and listened to what these folks had to say, though I’ll confess that since I already knew the meeting wasn’t going to lead to anything for us, I spent the hour imagining how I was going to be frozen alive and then eventually rescued by Wes, Tyler and Charles. Then we would strike down our foe…

Joking aside, and I’ll spare you why he was there and what the meeting was all about, this story leads me to one of several reasons we don’t like the idea of partnerships: you never know what your potential partner’s true agenda is.

I got lucky because I knew at least one of the people in that room did not have our best interests at heart. I have no idea what would have happened had we pursued that partnership. Would that guy have tried to sabotage us? Would he have passed along sensitive information to our competitors? Or would he have come around and been a true advocate for us? Anybody’s guess is as good as mine, but thankfully we got lucky and never had to find out.

This post is long enough, so I’m going to make it Part I of “Why we don’t partner with anybody.” More to come.

Wil

Here is part II of this post…

New mobile site – get it on the internet!

Today we launched a new Schedulefly mobile site. It’s really sweet and it works on any device of any size. Rather than write complicated apps for specific devices, we are putting our effort into one simple, well designed site for everyone. It keeps things much simpler for us all around. And honestly – downloading and installing software on your phone (and updating it each time we change it) just so you can manage your schedule and communicate with your team using Schedulefly – is a bit overkill on the technology side.

It works just the same as our old one, it’s just been redesigned to look better on all devices. We also snuck in a few new things like profile photo uploads, documents, and a few of our most used reports.

If your not using our mobile site yet and would like to check it out – just open your phone’s browser and visit http://m.scheduefly.com. Log in just once and save it as an icon to your home screen along side all those other Apps (there is help on how to do that on the login page). Now your just one touch away from your schedule and all the other goodies avaialable at Schedulefly.

One more thing I wanted to mention today. It’s really important to us that we don’t make your life more difficult – when trying to make it better. We want you to be able to get in and get out really fast – with the least amount of friction possible. We are not looking to keep you on our site all the time and we certainly don’t want you to be handed a ticket number for a customer support or technical issue. If we had more technology and more people and more stuff – I’d bet you eventually would. Technology is certainly making our lives better in general – but it can also be super frustrating when it tries to do too much. The lack of technology is sometimes what keep things pleasant, useful and reliable. It’s a tough balance to achieve but we definitely lean towards doing less.

http://m.schedulefly.com

Cheers!
The 5 guys at Schedulefly

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