For Andrea Rosenblatt and the rest of her three-person team at A. Chef’s Cooking Studio, an actual day off seemed like a far-off dream. In 2006, Chef Andrea opened A. Chef’s Cooking Studio as a studio for cooks of all experience levels – apartment chefs, professional cooks, and first-timers alike come together to sharpen their knife skills, learn the proper approach for mise en place, and enjoy some of the most delicious, group-cooked food in Northeastern Florida.
After more than a decade in business, the Studio continues to thrive today. A few years ago, however, Andrea and her team realized that they never had a chance to catch their breath or take time off. The culprit? Lackluster IT services were holding the business back.
Until Grand Technology Solutions stepped in, the overworked team felt like their technology was working against them. We discovered that Andrea’s three-person staff was doing the work of a full restaurant team and working on the business side of things in a way that led to far too much repetition.
“We each have our own responsibilities toward the business,” Andrea explains. “I am responsible for all client communication, social media and web presence and phone and email correspondence. I also create many menus and recipes.”
Andrea’s Sous Chef, Greg, writes menus and prepares classes, as well as recipes and the weekly production lists: detailed grocery and supply lists that change every week, based on the Studio’s schedule and needs. On top of that, Andrea’s husband Michael is responsible for all procurement and “business” paperwork, from payroll to licensing and everything in between.
“So, we each need computers, and we each need computers that speak to one another,” Andrea says. “Between us, we work from a total of three computers, three iPads, and three cell phones.”
Andrea realized that she needed help with her IT services when she noticed that everyone in the studio was still working on their days off. “We had no time off – ever! We constantly needed to be IN the studio to accomplish anything, because we were all tied to each other’s personal timelines. For example, Chef Greg makes his production lists on Tuesdays, so I have to have menus and game plans updated by then. That often translated into me working on Mondays, my only day off.”
On top of the time constraints, the team found it difficult to stay in communication about what was getting done and when. “No one could find ANYTHING anyone else did – ever!” says Andrea. “There was constant repeat work being done and total miscommunication across the board.”
Andrea knew she needed help. “I have known Paul through both work and social forums for many years. So when he branched out to create GTS, we were first on board to say, ‘HELP!!!’ Right away, Paul came to see in person what we were doing day to day.”
The goal of that first visit was to assess where the holes were in the team’s IT structure and address the personal frustrations each team member felt. From there, we set a plan in action, and Andrea closed the Studio for a full day so GTS could train the team on the new integrated technology.
“What GTS created was a real-time, all-access system that allows for each of the three of us to update, check off as complete, change, or add to any and all Studio files,” Andrea says. “And this is from ANY device we like – iPad, phone, or PC – and the update is instant and related to ALL machines at once. So, for example, instead of going into work on a Monday, I can go get my hair done – while in the chair, I can update the menus so that tomorrow, when Chef Greg wants to create his Tuesday production lists, voila! It’s there.”
Andrea’s favorite addition to the Studio’s system is Microsoft OneDrive, which allows her team to make real-time edits to shared files at any time, from anywhere. OneDrive has helped Andrea’s team find some flexibility in their schedules.
“If for some reason Chef Greg wanted to take Tuesday off and do his lists Monday night, all he has to do is check to see if I have updated recently,” Andrea says. “My information is available to him from any device, anywhere, even his couch on a Monday night! He can then type in his lists, update, and voila again! Now Michael can see on a Monday night that the week’s production is up to date.”
“It’s incredibly freeing,” she adds. “We literally have more time off now than ever. We are working fewer hours than ever in our career, while making more money than ever before. Fact!”
With such a small team, Andrea may have once thought she didn’t need a managed IT provider. “There are THREE of us in my business, and two of us are married to each other! It does not get smaller,” she says. “But this freedom has changed the game for all of us. Plus, when something goes wrong, having a team like GTS you can call to handle things ASAP can have a major impact in the land of tiny businesses. That’s the difference between canceling a day or moving forward.”
Now that A. Chef’s Cooking Studio has been a GTS client for many years, Andrea is awed by the impact managed IT services have had on her business.
“I would recommend GTS over and over and over again,” she says. “This level of support can truly make or break a business, ESPECIALLY tiny ones. I feel like our last two years of advancement in profits and reduction in hours is 100% due to our integrating with GTS.”
Does the story at A. Chef’s Cooking Studio sound a lot like yours? At Grand Technology Solutions, we’re here to help you find solutions to your business IT challenges – and with remote monitoring and management, we can identify and fix those problems before they ever impact your business in the future.
To learn more about Andrea and A. Chef’s Cooking Studio, visit their website at www.achefs.com. To learn more about Grand Technology Solutions and the ways we can transform your business day, visit our small business services page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your customized quote.