Manual, Excel Scheduling, etc.
Home to the Original Grand Slam®, Denny's Canada or Dencan, is one of the most recognizable restaurant brands. Across over 60 locations in Canada, Dencan offers friendly service and classic breakfast staples since 1953. Staying true to the essence of a family restaurant, Dencan is every diner's home away from home.
“Whatever we've spent has been recovered from the cost savings of not having to manually calculate payroll.”
As a company that owns and operates over 60 Denny’s Restaurants across Canada, Dencan had a vision to automate how they managed their workforce. The problem with their current process? They relied too heavily on manual tasks. Day-to-day tasks that store managers at each location were responsible for were all done manually. And once they were complete, there were further auditing steps from head office personnel who also had to manually oversee the details. As the company grew, this was no longer feasible.
Dencan had internally developed its own unique method of labor forecasting. This was a crucial step in their schedule creation process. Store managers had to manually enter data from their Point-Of-Sale (POS) system into a spreadsheet to calculate expected covers and staffing needs. But even with their custom method of forecasting, their current workflow was not flexible enough to automate any specific calculations. Their forecasting methodology was the most time-consuming, but necessary, task of creating an effective employee schedule. The final steps of schedule building were filling spreadsheets with employee data and then posting the printed schedule at each location.
As completed schedules were printed and posted onsite, employees would often call in and ask for their schedule or request shift changes, which took considerable time to manage. Employee availabilities and time off requests were also all stored separately. Shift swaps, releases, and any changes to published schedules were a nightmare to track. The overall process of scheduling was laborious, tedious, and extremely time-consuming.
Managers at the store level were also tasked with preparing hours for payroll. There was a huge challenge in training over 60 managers on calculating holiday pay and other payroll compliance rules across multiple provinces. Some provinces have very cumbersome labor rules and generally, store managers did not have a background in labor compliance.
Outside of Dencan’s control was turnover - a rampant issue in the restaurant industry. New managers meant re-training and as mistakes happen, human errors were inevitable when manually entering data. And mistakes were costly when it came to entering sensitive payroll data. When looking for a automated solution, Dencan needed to ensure they would not over-pay salaries, while being onside with payroll regulations.
Through software automation, the management team at Dencan saw an opportunity to improve how managers forecasted and scheduled employees, how to remain payroll compliant and how head office oversight could be streamlined.
“ On reporting alone, just being more proactive, we [potentially] save 0.5% to 0.75% on our labor cost.”
Dencan was in search of a solution that could automate their current processes while providing the flexibility they needed. As one of the few restaurant purveyors that are open 24/7, 7 days a week, Dencan needed a software provider that could adapt to their unique operations. When searching for a solution, they discovered Push Operations; a web-based scheduling and labor optimization platform designed to simplify the scheduling process, streamline employee communications as well as provide the flexibility they were looking for.
The first thing Dencan and their team observed with the use of Push was the significant reduction in the time taken to forecast, create and maintain employee schedules. Previously, forecasting labor was one of the most tedious manual scheduling tasks for store managers. Push’s deep integration with Dencan’s existing POS provider has completely automated the forecasting process. This alone has saved each store manager two to three hours per week. Instead of having store managers manually transfer hours into a spreadsheet, the flexibility of setting up custom syncing rules from their POS to Push, allows hours to automatically be pulled from their POS and readily available for forecasting budgeted hours in Push.
The entire scheduling process has also been streamlined. Instead of toggling back and forth between different spreadsheets, staff’s availabilities are reflected onto Push’s scheduling platform, making it easy for managers to view and schedule around. Communicating the schedule has also become simpler. Instead of anticipating employee calls for their schedule, when schedules are complete and finalized, they are automatically sent out and all employees have access via a mobile app.
Push has also worked with automating Denny’s payroll compliance. Payroll prep is made easy when Push is able to automatically pull hours from Dencan’s POS system and automate the calculations across multiple provincial jurisdictions. The elimination of human errors, via data entry, grants Dencan peace of mind as they no longer have to rely on each store’s managers to manually input and calculate what employees are entitled to (i.e. holiday pay, overtime, breaks, etc).
Through payroll compliance automation alone, each location has saved, on average, three hours per week of manager’s time. From an operations standpoint, Dencan is able to see the instant return-on-investment with Push. They note that “whatever we [have] spent on [Push] has been recovered from the cost savings of not having to manually calculate payroll.”
Prior to Push, Dencan saw a gap when it came to managing multiple locations. As a multi-level organization, for managers to look at 5-6 stores, or for head office to look company wide, they would require someone to go into each store and compile information. As the information was difficult to gather, it also took a lot of time. By the time that completed information like overtime hours or labor vs sales comparisons reached the head office team, it would be too late to take action.
Locating Dencan’s pain points with tracking labor, Push created a custom solution: a labor dashboard, which was something completely new to the organization. Built to Dencan’s specifications, Push’s dashboard allows each store location to be more proactive rather than reactive. The information is readily available and each store has noted both time and cost savings. Dencan’s head office personnel have observed that “ [in] just one click you can go get the information you need. On reporting alone, just being more proactive, we [potentially] save 0.5% to 0.75% on our labor cost.” Change can be scary but with the introduction of a whole new streamlined workflow, Dencan no longer has to sweat the small stuff. With Push’s dashboard, numbers no longer have to be manually calculated or anticipated for. As something new to their organization, the labor dashboard allowed Dencan to view their live sales and labor statistics daily, and side by side. They were able to track their labor in real time, and accurately, granting them the ability to take action immediately when and if a store is not aligned to their budgeted labor goals.
Centralizing employee records have also taken a huge step forward for the company. Employee documents and tasks, as well as earnings records are stored in one location and are easily accessible. This, has expedited any business audits that may be requested from the government. Dencan is now prepared for any audits that come their way. Prior to Push, if and when payroll records were requested by the government for audits relating to statutory holiday pay, Dencan had to go back and search for their old records and then manually calculate the pay. Now it is just one click, and the numbers are automatically calculated and available in Push. They now have a sense of relief knowing that they are onside with labor compliance.
Right away, Dencan noticed Push’s personalized approach to meeting their specific needs. Push recognized the complex environment of Dencan and understood the difficulty of the “one size fits all” model of software. With Push, the opportunity of flexibility has allowed Dencan to optimize their team’s workflow. With a tailored solution to their business’ needs, Dencan has noted that “Push [is] a partner...not just a software provider.” Rather than providing a one-and-done solution to a single problem, Push has continuously worked with Dencan to improve its operations in every aspect. Never outright saying no to a request, Dencan notes that Push’s commitment to figuring out simple solutions to complicated problems
Without a question, Push Operations has brought a new level of efficiency, business intelligence and decision making capabilities to Dencan. Push’s ability to be flexible to Dencan’s unique needs has been the key to their successful partnership. When it came finding the right software solution, solving Dencan’s existing issues was the bare minimum for Push. To put Push’s adaptability into perspective, Dencan notes that “sometimes you come out with a canned product, that canned product does not work for for all businesses. Push is able to offer a flexible solution, tailored to individual business' needs.” With Push, Dencan is able to closely and actively work with a team that understands their restaurant-specific needs.