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HotSchedules CEO Discusses Cultivating an Ecosystem of Trust

As part of Deloitte’s annual 2015 Report on America’s Economic Engine , HotSchedules’ CEO Anthony Lye was interviewed to get his opinion on how mid-market companies are adjusting and succeeding in an effort to proactively and reactively shift focus as a result of market pressures. Here’s an excerpt of the report: HotSchedules Chief Executive Officer […]

As part of Deloitte’s annual 2015 Report on America’s Economic Engine , HotSchedules’ CEO Anthony Lye was interviewed to get his opinion on how mid-market companies are adjusting and succeeding in an effort to proactively and reactively shift focus as a result of market pressures.

Here’s an excerpt of the report:

HotSchedules Chief Executive Officer Anthony Lye knows how important trusting relationships can be to the success of a business. The company he leads, a vertical industry-oriented company focused on restaurants, relies heavily on referrals from its customers, who use HotSchedules’ cloud-based and mobile-enabled software to automate back-office operations like staff scheduling and inventory management.

“Outside of a few global brands, most of the restaurant industry is dominated by middle market and small business operators that pay quarter-to-quarter,” said Lye. “If our product doesn’t perform then we don’t get paid and we can’t grow our business. Establishing trust with our customers is absolutely critical to both our current and future revenues.”

Helping restaurants cut costs is central to that mission, given how thin profit margins are in the industry. In the main, it’s still a paper-based economy, outside of the point-of-sale terminals staffers use to take and fulfill orders. HotSchedules’ applications help operators ensure they have the right amount of servers and food supplies at the right times, reducing a restaurant’s labor costs by as much as 4 percent annually and preventing food spoilage.

But constant and consistent communication is also key to gaining customers’ trust, Lye said. “We have to meet our customers in their environment and understand the challenges they face. We have to be experts within our shared domain,” he said.

“The opportunity to completely transform an industry like we are only comes around once in a lifetime,” Lye said. “The people who work here are proud and excited to be part of that change.”

In addition to on-site visits, HotSchedules employs its technology to make sure it is always “visible” to its customers – the restaurant owners, and their staff. Messaging capabilities are built into its applications so managers can get immediate customer service and servers can use their smartphones to interact with the HotSchedules service to arrange shift swaps or other scheduling activities. “The application will even tell them how far away from work they are so they can be sure to get there on time. HotSchedules provides direct customer support to every single user of its service, telling every employee when they need to be at work,” Lye said. “That takes a lot of the burden off the restaurant managers and helps us create an ecosystem of trust.”

HotSchedules’ focus on trust extends to its nearly 600 employees. To help keep them engaged, the company offers flexible work hours and work-from-home options, and spends more on real estate so employees are inspired by their workplace. Instead of hiring candidates right away, the company often contracts with them first to see if they are a good fit for its culture. “Hiring slowly helps significantly with attrition,” Lye said. It also gives future employees time to buy into the company’s business model. “The opportunity to completely transform an industry like we are only comes around once in a lifetime,” Lye said. “The people who work here are proud and excited to be part of that change.”

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