How Nowsta Saves One World Catering Over 300 Hours Per Year
with Lynn Schwartzberg, General Manager
One World Catering General Manager Lynn Schwartzberg describes her company as “the best restaurant in town that caters,” but that might be too modest. One World is the catering arm of a company that operates several restaurants and food services businesses in and around Bloomington, Indiana. Using the freshest local ingredients, it caters off-site events throughout the area, has a thriving corporate delivery business, and just opened a 500-person venue of its own this year.
But despite the company’s success, Lynn knew One World needed a more efficient way to manage the 60+ part-time employees who work its events. One World relied on time-intensive, manual processes to schedule shifts for event staff, track their hours, and run payroll. After an unsuccessful stint with scheduling software Staff Smart didn’t solve these problems, One World finally found the solution it needed when it switched to Nowsta. Read on to learn how Nowsta saves Lynn and her team over 300 hours per year!
Thinking back on staff management before Nowsta, Lynn says, “It was complicated.” Every week, One World’s office employees would email event staff with a list of upcoming events and how many people they needed for each one. As responses trickled in, the office team would decide who should work when and manually confirm the schedule with each employee via email. All in all, One World spent about five hours per week on scheduling. In addition to being time-consuming, this system also led to conflict between office staff and event workers who didn’t get their preferred shifts.
Time tracking was also difficult. A manager would bring a paper timesheet to every event for staff to sign in and out on — a process that virtually guarantees inaccuracies. Every payroll period, One World’s office staff would have to find the timesheets for every event, manually tally up each employee’s total pay, and enter it into their Oasis payroll software. The process took the team roughly 4 hours every two-week payroll period, and there were frequently mistakes to correct.
Lynn knew that One World needed software to expedite its staff management processes, and started evaluating options. She looked at Nowsta but initially judged it as being too expensive, and went with Staff Smart instead. “In hindsight,” she says, “it was a classic example of being penny-wise but pound foolish. Staff Smart never stopped being a frustration.”
The issue with Staff Smart was that it didn’t actually change One World’s scheduling process very much. Office staff could save some time by using Staff Smart to send an email of open shifts to One World’s employees, but still had to manually assign each of them to their preferred shift — staff couldn’t just sign up themselves. Staff Smart also couldn’t integrate with Caterease, the software One World uses to book events, meaning someone would have to recreate each event for a second time in Staff Smart. It also couldn’t send time tracking data to Oasis, so One World’s payroll process remained unchanged.
On top of all that, One World’s team simply found Staff Smart difficult to use. Lynn recalls, “It wasn’t intuitive. Nothing was where you’d expect it to be and the workflow made no sense.” After six months, Lynn decided to move from StaffSmart to Nowsta.
Once One World made the switch, the Nowsta team worked to get them up and running quickly. Our support team imported their staff list and integrated with Caterease so that new events appeared in Nowsta as soon as they were booked. The Nowsta team also built a custom report that allows One World to load time and attendance data directly into Oasis, saving them hours on payroll.
“At first, staff groaned when they heard we were switching platforms,” says Lynn. “They thought it would be as hard to use as Staff Smart.” But those fears were quickly assuaged when Nowsta trained the team on how to use the platform — everyone caught on right away. “I can’t emphasize enough how easy and user-friendly it is. Everything Staff Smart couldn’t do, Nowsta can.”
After a smooth transition, Nowsta has completely streamlined One World’s staff management processes. Instead of asking staff for their availability over email and assigning shifts based on the responses, One World’s office employees simply build the schedule in Nowsta and share open shifts with staff, who can then claim them on a first-come, first-served basis. Nowsta even lets One World give first dibs to their most qualified staff, before opening them up to everyone else to take the remaining unfilled shifts. This helps One World ensure they’re always fielding the best possible team for each event.
Instead of using paper timesheets, staff can now punch in for work using Nowsta’s electronic time clocks. Back of house staff sign in using Nowsta’s tablet app, which is installed on an iPad hanging up in One World’s kitchen. Front of house staff on the other hand can clock in from their phones on Nowsta’s mobile app, with GPS technology verifying staff only punch in when they’re on-site. After each event, Nowsta automatically notifies the team if any employees’ recorded hours don’t match the work schedule, which makes approving everyone’s hours fast and easy.
Each pay period, Lynn or one of her team members clicks to export a time and attendance report automatically formatted for Oasis. Importing this auto-generated report is rather than building it from scratch based on the paper timesheets takes significantly less time and results in far fewer payroll errors.
With Nowsta, Lynn’s office staff now spends just 30 minutes per week building the work schedule and filling event shifts, compared to five hours under the old system. That means Lynn no longer has to schedule office staff to work as much, which saves her roughly $400 each month. “That alone actually pays for Nowsta,” Lynn notes.
Payroll, meanwhile, now only takes Lynn’s staff 30 minutes per two-week pay period, compared to four hours under the old system. “Payroll is due every other Tuesday at midnight, and we used to work right up until the deadline. It was stressful! Now, we get it done by noon on Mondays.” Lynn also notes significantly more accurate payroll reporting, as Nowsta can easily manage wrinkles like staff working multiple positions at different pay rates. She estimates that 50% of payroll reports they created manually had some kind of error, while almost none do under Nowsta.
Overall, Nowsta saves One World over 300 hours per year, run payroll more accurately, and save enough on office labor that the platform pays for itself. Not only that, but it’s made life easier for One World’s event staff. “People understand what they have to do now. We can send notes to the staff working a specific event to give them directions or special instruction,” Lynn says. “Nowsta is exactly what we needed.”