Hear what Leith Hill, President and Founder of Ellary’s Greens, did before starting her own business, and how Planday has changed the way she runs her restaurant.

What were you doing before this and why did you make the transition to owning a restaurant?

I was not in the restaurant industry previously, and sometimes I feel like that’s been a huge advantage, and in other ways I feel like that puts me behind. I have my Masters in Social Work, and worked in social work before my kids were born. Then when my kids were born, I was Chair of the Board of Directors at a small school on Long Island. I did that full time for 8 years. I oversaw major improvements at the school, and raised a lot of money for them. I liked doing that work, but it wasn’t my passion.

I’ve always had food in my head and in my heart. Healthy food, really delicious and nutrient-rich food, has been my passion for my whole life. And certainly for the last 21 years since I had my first child. But I was making smoothies in New Orleans at age 9, and started really seriously cooking at age 12. So food has always been a big passion for me.

How did you manage your business before you started using Planday?

Our scheduling has been an evolution. We started on the back of an envelope, which did not work well at all. One of the things that we really like about Planday is that we’ve gone from daily or weekly scheduling to monthly scheduling. That’s been fantastic for all of us. It enables the team to know what their whole schedule is, and to see if there are going to be conflicts.

Employees switch shifts well in advance, if they need to. That’s been really helpful to us on the management side, to see what the overall staffing picture looks like. Planday is going to become really important to us in the coming weeks as we open our second grab-and-go location.

In the beginning, there will be people who float between the two locations, and Planday will allow us to see where everyone is. We’ll need some seasoned people to go up and train the new workers at the second location. We’ll be able to track that really well with Planday.

Ultimately, some of the restaurant employees will end up moving full time to the second grab-and-go location. We’ll need to track who’s getting trained on the restaurant side, and whether or not they’re staying at the restaurant location or going back to the second location. There will be a lot of shifting around.

Having Planday is going to allow us to very fluidly see both locations and both schedules. It will give us a great, overall picture of what we have and what we need. Not only currently, but as we expand.

How has using Planday changed how you conduct business?

There are two main changes we’ve experienced. We used to do scheduling upstairs and it would take hours and hours and hours. The team members would come up to the manager who was doing the scheduling and say “I can’t work on this day, and I can’t’ work on that day, but can you put me in on this day.”

All of that is gone now. Because Planday is so much faster, we’ve actually been able to bring the computer downstairs to our office, so it doesn’t take up space in the restaurant. It’s about 1/8, or even 1/10, of the time we used to spend on scheduling.

But the team also really likes it. They can switch out their schedule or their shifts easily. They no longer go to the manager and ask for changes. Now we know what their schedule is in advance, we plug it into Planday, and if they need to make changes, they can make it amongst themselves. And we get a notification of the change. It’s freed up our managers’ time and reduced the stress level of our team members, because they have control over their schedule.

Finally, how do you wind down in the evenings?

I try to talk to my kids on the phone. I do a few more sit ups or exercise. I catch up on personal texts and emails, because I’m a big connector. I love my family and friends, and I end my day with a kind of emotional dessert: connecting with people who are really important to me personally. I end my day with my family, with some exercise, and with friends through email or text.

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