At a glance
Ability to export timesheets with a click of a button
Have access to up-to-date, accurate accounts of labor and sales costs
Can easily send updates to staff from mobile devices
Sometimes, taking a leap into the great unknown really pays off. Such was the case when Eleanor Harris and Ibby Moubadder decided to open their Cuckoo Callay café in Sydney’s Newtown in 2013, despite neither having a background in hospitality.
“We both loved food and going out to eat all the time. There were lots of cafes in Newtown, but we felt like we had something different to add. They were redeveloping Newtown Station, so we saw a great opportunity with the site there and just went for it,” explains Harris.
Four years later, with the original café booming, the pair have recently opened a second Cuckoo Callay café in Surry Hills, as well as the 120-seater Lebanese restaurant, Nour, also in Surry Hills.
We both loved food and going out to eat all the time...They were redeveloping Newtown Station, so we saw a great opportunity with the site there and just went for it!
“I was doing all of our rostering by hand… It was like doing a Sudoku every week.”
With business booming and 50 staff across the two Cuckoo Callay locations, finding and managing staff is far and away the pair’s single biggest challenge as business owners.
“Finding good staff, keeping good staff, managing them and getting them to do what they’re supposed to do. Everything to do with staffing is easily our biggest challenge. It’s a very transient industry, so you get a lot of backpackers and students,” Harris says.
With so many casual staff on the books, rostering staff and keeping them aware of their shifts was proving a major headache.
“Originally, I was doing all of our rostering by hand, the old-fashioned way, with no real structure to it. I was starting from scratch each week and having to text and email everyone or have them physically look at the roster. It was like doing a Sudoku every week to fit people in with the hours they wanted, manually add up all the hours, and keep everyone happy by making sure they had enough hours and were working when they wanted to.”
Thanks to Deputy, which was recommended to Eleanor and Ibby by one of their restaurant managers, these rostering nightmares are now a thing of the past. Naturally, this has also made life easier for Cuckoo Callay’s workforce.
“Before, if they were only working on weekends, and we’re doing the rosters weekly, staff would have to come into the store to see the roster or call or text a manager. Now, the roster goes straight to their phones and they can see at a glance how many hours they’ve got.”
Harris also says she found Deputy “unbelievably” easy to learn and use.
“I gave myself a day to have a play around with it and work it all out, as I hadn’t used it before, but I didn’t even need that long. It was just super easy.”
Besides simplifying the rostering process and the associated time saved, Harris says the many benefits of using Deputy have included having up-to-date, accurate accounts of how much they are spending each day or week.
“Payroll is another huge difference – being able to easily export timesheets with just a couple of clicks. Before people were writing their hours down in a book and I was then transcribing everyone’s hours by hand. There were lots of mistakes caused by factors such as some people’s handwritten sevens look like nines, and then you have to correct those mistakes, which takes even more time.”
Having a database of staff that managers can easily access has been another bonus; Cuckoo Callay’s restaurant manager uses this weekly to send out updates about training and other staff issues.
Harris is also a big fan of Deputy’s chat function, with the near-immediate help it provides with any issues, as well as the customer service team’s willingness to go the extra mile.
“I was looking at using a new payroll system that wasn’t integrated with Deputy, so I got in touch and Deputy put together a download export that I could use, which was great. I just put them in touch with the payroll company and they figured it all out.”
“I would absolutely recommend Deputy to other businesses and I have done,” says Harris. “One of the things I like best is that there’s always someone from Deputy available to answers questions and, so long as it’s a reasonable request, they’re always happy to change or upgrade the system to do what we need it to do. That proactive enthusiasm and flexibility makes it highly recommendable.”