Preserving Personality Amidst an HR Transformation

August 09, 2019

The restaurant industry is facing challenges. Paylocity helped The Boiling Crab simplify their solutions and scale their business.

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Top HR executives and leaders driving the future of HR are setting their sights beyond business growth with forward-thinking goals like improving operational excellence, executing business transformations, and innovating for success, according to Gartner’s 2019 Future of HR Survey. Leading and facilitating change is a considerable challenge to be piled on top of the primary responsibilities HR professionals already bear, like benefit administration, payroll management, and recruitment, all while optimizing spending and productivity.

The restaurant industry is facing even more challenges yet, like rising labor costs and a shrinking labor pool. Nation’s Restaurant News reports that a significant factor for restaurants struggling to staff has been “a labor landscape reshaped over the past few years by a strong economy and a declining unemployment rate, which topped 10% in 2009 and has dropped steadily since, reaching 3.8% in March. The result for restaurant operators has been a shrinking labor pool.”

And while regulatory changes are impacting restaurant recruitment as well, such as overtime eligibility and tip credit, the forecast is not entirely bleak. “The restaurant industry is expected to add 1.6 million jobs over the next decade, with employment reaching 16.9 million by 2029,” according to the National Restaurant Association. 

Restaurant owners and their HR teams are looking to technology to help them mitigate all these external pressures, streamline and improve operations, and boost recruitment. According to the National Restaurant Association, “four in five restaurant operations agree that technology helps increase sales, technology makes their restaurants more productive, and use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage.”

In fact, 67% of executive leaders across industries responding to the Gartner Digital Enterprise 2020 Survey agreed with the statement “If my company does not become significantly more digitalized by 2020, it will no longer be competitive.”

Growth Necessitates Change

It’s a common concern for businesses like The Boiling Crab Restaurant Group, which has always found its own way to do things, to want to retain its long-held traditions and environment while navigating the change that comes with implementing new technology.

It was a top priority for The Boiling Crab to hang on to their culture built on keeping things simple, having a good time, providing customers with caring and friendly service, and never failing to pursue a passion for excellent seafood. 

These key ingredients, together with warm hospitality and quality products, have helped the Louisiana-style Cajun restaurant to expand to 21 locations and nearly 1,000 employees, since opening its first location in Southern California in 2004. 

The company knew its small corporate staff needed a more automated and efficient way to handle payroll and HR. It quickly realized that the ADP solution they were using for payroll was inadequate, as it did not have the ability to scale, nor the flexibility to meet the unique needs of its business approach and structure.

But with this impressive growth of new restaurants and new franchisees came a considerable increase in workload and complexity, particularly for HR. The Boiling Crab’s leadership knew it had to rise to the occasion. As they explored options, high among their priorities was to preserve their “have-a-good-time” commitment, casual workplace environment and happy employees—with turnover rates significantly below industry average.

New Levels of Flexibility and Efficiency

The Boiling Crab selected Paylocity for its flexible and scalable solutions that would help simplify management of its many locations and employees. One key way Paylocity achieved this level of streamlining for the company was by creating one Company Set with six Company IDs for various parts of its business, where its previous solution through ADP required payroll to be siloed by location. This setup allowed HR to run each entity independently for day-to-day management, with the ability to roll up all data at a corporate level for reporting, tax filings, and more.

Paylocity also set up The Boiling Crab with the ability to easily upload payroll information into its accounting platform and general ledger. A Paylocity general ledger specialist built out a custom file that provided the HR team with point-and-click access to any single line in the ledger across its entire pay history, eliminating the extra work and time needed for manual entry. Even better, all of this functionality is now available in one convenient place.

“You can see your turnover, your labor costs, your retention, your headcount by location— all kinds of criteria—and you can filter it,” said Melissa Kill, The Boiling Crab’s HR Manager. “It’s really neat. You don’t have to run a report. It just pops up.”

In addition to greater visibility into their data, The Boiling Crab is able to use a combination of custom and standard reporting through the Paylocity Data Insights Dashboard for improved decision making. 

With all of these impressive capabilities, it was no surprise to Kill that her suppliers also prefer Paylocity, often telling her it was the easiest system to use. 

Prepared Now for the Future

The Boiling Crab has been so impressed with these benefits and the personalized, responsive customer service it has received from Paylocity that it recently added two more Paylocity products—Benefit Administration and the Compliance Dashboard. Automating these areas will allow the small HR team to support further expansion without adding staff.

And though The Boiling Crab doesn’t require its franchisees to use Paylocity, it does recommend it—and so far, all have adopted it as their HCM platform. As more franchisees come on board, including the company’s plans to expand internationally, The Boiling Crab is well positioned to handle the growth with Paylocity solutions built to scale.

“One of the things that we like about Paylocity is it just makes sense,” Kill said. “Paylocity seems to be created by people who do HR every day. They get it.”

Learn more about how The Boiling Crab Restaurant Group successfully partnered with Paylocity to scale its platform. 


Date Posted: August 9, 2019