How Nowsta Makes Scheduling Easy for Top Notch Staffing
to manage it all
Staffing events throughout New York and New Jersey
Top Notch Staffing has been helping caterers hire the workers they need for more than 15 years. Headquartered in Spring Valley, New York, they’ve since expanded to Monroe and are preparing to open a third office in Lakewood, New Jersey.
Top Notch has a total staff list of over 500 and hires out about 100 of them a day on average. Trust us — getting that many people to events across New York and New Jersey is no small feat. Between identifying who’s suitable for each event, finding out if they’re available, and getting them on the calendar, there are several moving parts and chances to make mistakes.
Top Notch began working with Nowsta in September of 2017 to streamline their scheduling process and alleviate the stress of its day-to-day operations.
For a long time, Top Notch ran its business on Google. They used Google Voice to communicate with staff via phone and text, and would schedule them for events on a shared Google Calendar.
The Google-based system got the job done, but not efficiently. “We had to remember a lot of stuff or check it manually,” says Director of Operations Miriam Mitzman. For instance, office employees were responsible for maintaining a list of the staff available for each day in the Google Calendar and removing them as they assigned them shifts. If anyone forgot to update the list, it was easy to double book staff for conflicting events.
Last minute changes — a reality of the catering business — were also a pain point. “The end of the day was just pure chaos,” says owner Sam Gold. Top Notch frequently had to scramble to find staff for events scheduled on short notice or to replace employees who canceled at the last minute.
“It would be 9:30 at night and we’d be sitting there asking, ‘Okay, who can work tomorrow?’” Miriam would have to mass text staff to see if any of them could fill the open shifts, and show up the next morning hoping enough of them had accepted. Assuming they did, she’d then have to text everyone back, confirming to the newly scheduled staff that they’d be working, and letting the rest know that their services wouldn’t be required. The process was time-consuming and added to the double-booking issue.
Another thing Sam and Miriam had to keep track of manually? Key staff attributes like vehicle access. “If I’m scheduling someone for an event two hours away, I need to make sure they have a car,” says Miriam. Top Notch kept information like location, vehicle access, and skill set in each employee’s Google Voice contact profile, and would have to go in and check it before asking them to work.
Knowing that there had to be a better way to schedule, Sam and Miriam began using Nowsta at Top Notch’s Monroe office in September of 2017. The scheduling process improved immediately.
Instead of texting staff to ask if they can work, Miriam now uses Nowsta’s shift publishing tool. She can bulk invite a group of staff to take an open shift on a first-come, first-served basis. Once someone accepts, they’re automatically scheduled on the Nowsta calendar and the shift invitation expires for all the other staff. That means no texting to confirm the employee can work or to let the others know the shift has been filled. “Publishing has definitely helped us schedule shifts faster, which is especially helpful when events come up at the last minute,” says Miriam. Nowsta also warns her when she selects an employee who’s already scheduled for a conflicting event, reducing instances of double-booking.
“The first-come, first-served way of scheduling has been a huge help. We used to have employees who wouldn’t respond right away when we asked if they could work. But now they know if they don’t grab the shift right away, they won’t get it.”
Of course, Miriam doesn’t want to publish every shift to her entire roster. That’s where tagging and filtering come in handy. With Nowsta, Miriam can apply tags to staff members based on their skill set, experience level, vehicle ownership status — anything, really. When it comes time to schedule, she can filter by tag to ensure she’s only publishing shifts to the right employees.
Nowsta enables Miriam and the rest of Top Notch Staffing to get shifts filled faster and make fewer mistakes — instances of double-booking and no-shows have both fallen substantially. She and Sam were so impressed that within a few months, they brought Nowsta to their Spring Valley office as well. “We plan to get the new Lakewood office on Nowsta from the start,” Sam adds.
Nowsta lets Sam and Miriam relax a bit more as well — even when new staff requests come at the end of the day. “The level of stress in our office has definitely gone down,” says Sam.