Restaurant employee scheduling software is becoming big business! Over the last few years, other companies aiming to serve the same people we serve have raised over $50,000,000 in venture capital. We’ve raised $0.
It’s not that we haven’t been able to raise money (we get lots of offers). It’s that we don’t want to. Perhaps the best way I can explain this is by sharing an email I sent yesterday to a VC who has been contacting me regularly over the last six months. Until now, I’ve just replied to her emails with some form of “thanks, but no thanks.” However, this time she mentioned the logos on our Home page, and how impressed she is that we serve those places because she is familiar with several of them. So I went a little deeper in my reply. Here you go…
Thanks for the nice note, Jessie.
We have nearly 7,000 restaurants as customers in large part because we’re not funded and not trying to scale. Most independent restaurant owners relate to us and our story (and not to our well-funded competitors), so many of the leading independent places like the ones you mentioned use Schedulefly for that reason. They also appreciate that we’ve kept the software very clean and simple and offer very personable, authentic service. Just like they do. The ones that need integration look elsewhere – there are plenty of options. The ones that want an easy solution to restaurant staff scheduling and communication head our way.
We all five have great balance in our lives, no sales or revenue goals to try to meet, no pressure, and the ability to keep growing one customer at a time relying on word-of-mouth from high employee turnover and many users who are outspoken fans or our brand.
You’re welcome to call me. I don’t mind chatting with you and I appreciate and admire your professional persistence. But raising money is counter to our philosophy and our way of doing things around here.
We’ve had several VC folks ask how we are able to attract so many restaurants without funding or advertising or sales people. We believe, strongly, that it’s because we focus on independent restaurants, and we aren’t here to serve everybody. The $50,000,000 has been raised by some companies with a general employee scheduling focus (they want to serve any business in any industry), and other companies that are restaurant-focused, but they build software for and strive to sell to chains.
The good news is, nobody else has a laser focus on independent restaurants, so to compete with all of the money flowing in, we believe we need to lean into our strengths: Share our story so the people we hope to serve know who we are and what we are all about; keep our software clean, crisp, fresh, fast and reliable; go out of our way to make the experience of doing business with us enjoyable, easy, and memorable. It’s no coincidence that these are the exact things great independent restaurants do!
We believe that given the many choices they now have for scheduling software, most independent restaurants will choose the provider that resembles their own business approach and philosophies in as many ways as possible, not the company that has raised the most money or has the most sales people or the most complex software.