Lemonade Restaurant Group
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HR & OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES
- Scale Business Expanding Locations
- Rapidly Hire, On-board & Train Employees
- Automate Tedious Tasks for Managers
- Engage and Retain Top Talent
- Maintain Focus on Customer Service
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Lemonade is the culinary concept and creation of Chef and Founder Alan Jackson, which is best described as a fast-casual café setting serving up seasonal southern California comfort food. The heart of its mission: provide clean, healthy, but inventive cuisine drawing on the seasonal and international influences of its LA-based operations, while catering to individuals who are on the go, but care about what they eat. With many different seasonal salads, pot roasts, vegetables and various soups changing on the menu, diners have the opportunity to select from a cornucopia of healthy options for a “grab-and-go” lunch or dinner. The perfect marriage of quality and convenience. “It’s like opening your refrigerator and being able to pick what you want,” remarked Jackson.
Signing up with Employance at eight Los Angeles locations, Lemonade is now at twenty-two and expanding rapidly – and attributes much of their ability to scale quickly to the features Employance offers.
Jackson and team wanted to share their passion of LA’s adventure for food and an appreciation of fresh seasonal ingredients by bringing the flavors of Lemonade to new markets across the country including San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County. They succeeded – currently with twenty-two successful locations and more opening every month.
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Lemonade’s decision to expand outside their established market quickly called for organization and attention to some old and new challenges. First and foremost, ensuring the cornerstones of their brand – convenience, affordability, healthy and inventive, fresh cuisine – were to be maintained. A question arose: would current business practices and procedures in place, allow a scaling increase? Problems such as managerial time devoted to hiring, on-boarding, training and scheduling needed to be addressed. A business environment allowing solutions to these and other tasks such as ease of sharing information between employer/employee in multiple locations, was needed.
Lemonade’s Co-Founder and President, Ian Olsen, reviewed these hurdles and realized that his General Managers were spending more than half their time on paper tasks related to the hiring and on-boarding process. Managers needed to be able to spend more time on customer satisfaction and improved employee communication. Olsen saw the strength of Lemonade’s brand in providing consistency of the customer experience through full employee engagement. Compromising customer service was not an option during the expansion.
In addition to the need for rapid hiring and reduction of menial tasks for managers, Olsen foresaw the customer experience and customer service that Lemonade had become well-known for wouldn’t be achieved without consistency and engagement of the employees.
Knowing that their client satisfaction not only stemmed from the convenience and quality of their product, but also in the customer’s experience, Lemonade knew that as they prepared for growth, they needed to do so without compromising their customer service.
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“Looking to focus on growth, we wanted a solution that would alleviate not demand more time from our managers, so anything we leveraged, the ramp-up period and learning curve would be important,” said Olsen. “But, our key drivers in the selection process were realizing a comprehensive solution that was easy to use, geared for our business and would ultimately allow for rapid hiring and securing of top talent to ensure the best possible customer experience.”
Luckily for Lemonade, a solution was waiting for them in the cloud. Employance and Lemonade quickly made a connection, and it seemed to be a match made in heaven.
“Employance – is 100% dedicated to our [service-based] industry,” noted Olsen, “and its modular, cloud- and mobile-based single platform was the turnkey solution we were looking for to help us attract, hire, collaborate and manage employees to support our growth.”
Lemonade quickly saw how the robust Employance platform could span their entire employee life cycle from hire to retire automating tedious manual tasks. It would allow them record and manage all employee interactions from initial application and tracking to screening, hiring, on-boarding, training, daily logging and even performance and time-tracking/payroll management online, in the cloud for access anytime, anywhere.
“Lemonade is all about capturing the LA spirit of adventure about food,” said Olsen. “We realize that in order to have a great experience, you need both a great product and a connection to your customers. As we scale, Employance is helping us with this by ensuring we have the right platform to hire top talent, as well as, ensuring the right employee engagement to stay true to our brand,” added Olsen.
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Within an implementation time of 4 weeks, Lemonade immediately noticed a reduction in time-to-hire. It was estimated, based on previous manual processing experience, that General Managers were now spending 50% less time on hiring and on-boarding, a substantial and meaningful reduction. Associated paperwork was eliminated, freeing them to focus on higher-level responsibilities.
Olsen explained that, “we’ve experienced a more qualified candidate pool. How we access and manage applicants within the platform has significantly improved our ability to share information during the hiring phases. We track all applicant information in a digital file, starting from the initial interaction to on-boarding, then into training, scheduling and performance management.”
The ability to manage all employee files within a single platform has streamlined Lemonade’s on-boarding process. Improved efficiencies for training have also occurred by leveraging the same platform. Within the training module, Lemonade now uploads text-based recipes, as well as instructional videos that are easily accessed and shared among kitchen managers and staff. If a menu item is new or has simply been off the rotation for some time, it can easily be archived.
“Utilizing the Employance training module has improved our ability to ensure all locations are correctly preparing menu items,” noted Olsen. “In one case, we had a General Manager who forgot how to make a new menu item. He and the Kitchen Manager were simply able to log into their account, view the video that was pre-loaded and watch a quick refresher on how to prepare the new menu item.”
“Not only is the tool beneficial for our managers, but its accessibility via mobile devices and in-restaurant tools has been great for engaging our employees. At the end of the day, it frees up our entire staff to focus on what really matters – providing the best customer service and experience possible.”
Ryan McKenzie, CEO of Employance added, “in addition to offering our clients an integrated platform for managing all of their human capital needs, it is our goal to be a partner and deliver a solution that empowers the employer-employee relationship for improved performance and engagement. Lemonade is another example of our partnership goals. We are thrilled to help Lemonade ease the burden of local hiring. As they continue their rapid growth, it is now easier to hire better quality talent, on-board, train and schedule employees with our proven Employance platform. This will ensure their GM’s and AGM’s spend more time engaging with employees and focusing on customer experience.”