CUSTOMER STORY: Gelato Messina

Deputy has enabled Gelato Messina to move to a cloud based system for both rostering and wages. Its full integration with our accounting package ensures greater accuracy in determining pays and has helped establish a great platform of trust and efficiency with our staff. Deputy has a user-friendly interface, is simple and efficient roll out across multiple sites and provides us a worry free payroll system for our employees. The customer service and support from Deputy is fantastic and extremely reliable.

Declan Lee, Director


Established in 2002, Gelato Messina is something of a hot spot for the most delicious and tempting ice creams in town.

This gelato bar has built its stellar reputation on its forty signature flavours which include traditional Italian favourites such as Tiramisu, Pistachio, and Gianduia; popular classics like salted caramel and white chocolate; as well as the eclectic and innovative array of weekly specials like the unforgettable treat of ‘Elvis the Fat Years’ – a one-of-a-kind concoction of peanut butter gelato with fried brioche and banana jam).


Along with such a delectable array of flavours to choose from, a common feature of Messina is a queue of loyal customers, spilling out of their stores and snaking around the block, summer or winter. With ice cream this good, it’s worth the wait. In fact, the wait only adds to the fun experience and vibe of the obsession that is Gelato Messina.

While Messina opened its first store in Darlinghurst, New South Wales, the company now operates six gelato bars in Sydney, two in Melbourne, and has expanded overseas with stores in Hangzhou, China and Las Vegas.

To create its prized frozen treats and deliver exemplary customer service, Messina employs a team of over 120 individuals who perform a variety of roles. This includes a team of pastry chefs and chefs, store managers, assistant store managers and supervisors as well as bar staff/servers and delivery drivers. Overseeing the stores, Messina employs two people to take care of the back office operations and training to make sure everything runs like clockwork.



By the time Director & Co-Founder Declan Lee joined the business in 2009 Messina was growing fast. What started as a cult following in Darlinghurst was growing into something of a Sydney-wide sensation.

While the talented chefs and crew developed ever more inspired confections and crowd-pleasing treats to satisfy their growing number of customers, Messina’s largely manual back-end processes and paper-based systems began to groan under the strain.

“At this time our rostering and work scheduling system was entirely manual,” reflects Lee. “With a growing number of stores to manage, it took a considerable amount of time to plan shifts and roster appropriately trained and available staff members. Everything was incredibly time-consuming and it was hard to be 100% accurate and to make sure you were running things efficiently.”

At this time, business consulting firm, SMB Consultants, was already in the process of moving the finance and accounting side of Messina’s business to the Xero platform. So Lee sought help from them about how to streamline the people management side the business.

“Once Peter Klein & Jeffrey Atizado at SMB showed me the Deputy platform and how it could automate our manual time and attendance processes, I knew it was perfect for us. Xero integration out of the box gave us another big win.”

Benefits of Deputy

Having moved the business onto the Deputy platform, time and attendance management at Messina is now a piece of cake. You could say it’s as smooth as the ice cream confections for which Messina is famed.


“Our staff members simply key in their availability a week in advance so their managers can see who is available to be scheduled for each shift,” comments Lee. “When we create our weekly schedule Deputy gives us a total wage cost and allows us to compare it to previous weeks so we can closely monitor costs and profitability.

“Through the Deputy interface, we can also easily keep an eye on who is working on which shift at which store, who’s running late, or turned up early, and if anyone has worked overtime.”

Favourite Features

For Lee, a considerable benefit of using the platform is the ability to effortlessly assign the right person to the right role.

“The really neat thing for Messina is when we forecast the our weekly schedule, Deputy tells us the wage cost for each store so we can see if we’re over-staffed and adjust accordingly. This is such a handy tool and a really effective way for us to run our business more efficiently.”

From a store manager’s perspective, managing time and attendance is so much easier. “In store, every staff member uploads a picture of themselves when they clock in so the managers can swiftly gauge who’s on,” explains Lee. “The name to face recognition allows us to see at a glance who is on each shift at each store as well as identify who was rostered on at a particular time should an incident occur.”

Smart communication

Messina also makes full use of Deputy’s Newsfeed. “The Newsfeed is proving to be a great way for us to communicate and post all staff messages and announcements. As every staff member has their own Deputy login and can access the platform from their mobile devices, they are able to view company-wide and store-specific announcements anywhere, any place. On a practical level, this means that our staff members are alerted to anything that’s happening that day before they even turn up for work.

“Deputy also allows us to assign tasks to specific team members at any time,” adds Lee. “Individuals get a message or email with the task before their shift has commenced. This enables us to delegate work each week in advance and to function more efficiently.”

Integration with Xero

Xero integration is a real boon for Messina. “With Xero integration, timesheets from Deputy are directly imported into our Xero payroll system so we won’t have to worry about staff getting paid incorrectly,” explains Lee. “All we have to do is update the correct pay formula for each employee. “In fact,” continues Lee, “Deputy ensures greater accuracy in determining pays and has helped establish a great platform of trust and efficiency with our staff. We can also export the employee’s personal details from Deputy directly into Xero, which saves us time and unnecessary paperwork.”


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