ShiftNote is a startup based in Shawnee Mission, Kansas that has a web-based manager logbook and an employee scheduling tool. Unfortunately, many restaurants, hotels, and bars still use inefficient paper logbooks to schedule employees. ShiftNote helps businesses improve communication, spend less time figuring out what happened on the past so that they can focus on the future, and maximize sales by minimizing labor costs.
ShifNote started five years ago and has been bootstrapping ever since then. The company currently supports over 20,000 users worldwide. ShiftNote chief executive officer Matt Thompson told me that the company is now averaging around 16,000 log entries per day.
Thompson told me that he grew up working in restaurants so he knows what the strengths and weaknesses in the industry are. He also received a hotel and restaurant management degree from the University of Missouri. Thompson spent time working at Houlihan's and Landry's (Rainforest Cafe) with a specialty in restaurant openings. One of Thompson's mentors is Wayne Stancil, the divisional vice president of Landry's.
"He [Stancil] taught me that communication is the foundation of everything you do within a restaurant. You have to be able to observe behavior, direct it, and then follow-through. And you cannot do that without great communication amongst your management team," Thompson told me in a phone interview.
Earlier this year, ShiftNote launched a new program called Scheduler. This software is used to make it easier for managers to create and edit schedules online. Employees are able to swap shifts and request time off through the service.
"Managers can quickly approve or deny these swaps," added Thompson. "They can also create future schedules for weeks and months by work groups. We also have an auto-scheduler, which has an algorithm that takes strengths, weaknesses, and availability into account for each specific employee. This ensures that they are scheduled for the more high-volume sales days so that the best people are available on the best days. Schedules can be copied and modified very easily. We believe that we have saved managers in charge of scheduling between 4 and 6 hours per week."
During the holidays, managers are able to track overtime and can set holiday pay. Schedule templates can be created to save time in the future also. ShiftNote Schedule allows users to make entries to the daily log and track important data like labor stats and task assignment. The service also has secure document storage.
ShiftNote generates revenues through a subscription model. ShiftNote costs $34.95 per month for 1 location and unlimited users. ShiftNote Scheduler costs $64.95 per month for 1 location and unlimited users.
When I asked Thompson who some of the company's customers are, he told me that they work with several franchises like Landry's, California Pizza Kitchen, Panera Bread, Freddy's, Culver's, Morton's, and Applebee's.
The company also works with customers that are outside of the food industry. Shiftnote also works with Tommy Bahama, Holiday Inn Express, and Double Tree by Hilton.
Pros and Cons Of Being In Kansas City
When I asked Thompson what he believes the pros and cons of being based in Kansas City are, he told me "There's a lot of energy and entrepreneurial support here in Kansas City. There's a lot of technology support also. Google Fiber is a great example of that." Kansas City is the first place that Google decided to provide their hyper-fast 1Gbps Internet connection service called Google Fiber.