We’re 5 guys in North Carolina.
We serve thousands of restaurants across the country and we pour all of our effort into taking great care of them and making sure our software is fast and reliable.
The 5 of us have been at this for more than a decade and are enjoying what we do more than ever. We are all raising kids and spending loads of quality time with our families...which is because of how we run this business. At this point, we could certainly try to speed things up and pump cash into marketing and sales - but we'd end up stressed out over the results and with something we don't enjoy owning anymore. So there is zero stress and complication here. There are no investors or partners or fancy offices we feel like we need to go to or plane tickets or meetings or sales calls or performance reviews. We still just focus on creating simple, useful, highly available software and taking seriously great care of our customers. As it turns out, those things never go out of style. Technology comes and goes, but the basics stay the same. We just keep trying to nail the basics.
How we got started
Wes Aiken created the schedule on paper for an independent restaurant while in college in the 90’s. He’d spend hours every Sunday piecing it together, and frustratingly watch it become irrelevant within minutes of hanging it in the back of the kitchen. But that was how restaurant schedules were handled back then. Meanwhile, Wes learned to write software and in 2007 he created a simple web-based solution to make scheduling and communication easier for restaurants.
Along the way
A couple of happy paying restaurants in Raleigh N.C. got us moving in the right direction. We then tried a bunch of stuff to create more awareness, from individually emailing thousands of restaurants about Schedulefly, to working with a PR company, to using social media, to developing partnerships, to going to the National Restaurant Association trade show, to flying across the country to meet with a large restaurant chain with hopes of growing faster. Here is a funny story about that trip.
But the thing is, we knew all along we were in this for the long haul, and we realized that we wanted to wake up every day to work on things we enjoy and things we are good at. We knew that marketing and PR and partnerships and social media and trade shows and traditional advertising just wasn't for us. That's not what makes us happy. So instead, we stayed focused on keeping our software really simple, on being incredibly easy to do business with, and on taking great care of our customers, with the intent of growing by word-of-mouth. And we put all of our creative energy into projects like our book and video and podcast series, to help spread awareness of our brand by creating content that educates and inspires people in the restaurant industry.
What's happening now
Schedulefly is making life easier for over 300,000 hospitality people at more than 7,000 restaurants across the country. Our customers love Schedulefly and tell other people about it, so we've grown through word-of-mouth just as we intended. We frequently get contacted by venture capital firms wanting to invest into Schedulefly, but while every other company in our space has raised millions of dollars from investors, we don’t take those phone calls. We run the business the same way we always have, just the five of us with a focus on growing one independent restaurant customer at a time. We don't have sales people or partners. We don’t have ads following you around the internet. But we are still growing by 1,500+ new customers per year and renewing 99% of our customers every month, and if we ever tried to manage our growth, it would be to slow it down, not accelerate it. What matters most to us is taking great care of the customers we have, not just getting new ones. We have a small team of five people, we all love what we do, and we wake up every day thankful to be a part of something so fun and meaningful. This is our dream company.
Thanks for reading our story,
Wes, Tyler, Wil, Charles and Hank