Language selection


7shifts helps restaurants and staff manage shift work

Canada in Asia-Pacific
Trade diversification
March 2019

The 7shifts marketing team: Kirsten Cates, Kris Booth, Emily Brazill and Chris de Jong (left to right) work together to come up with creative ideas to improve their marketing website.

Jordan Boesch’s life has changed dramatically since he taught himself to write code six years ago.

Members of the 7shifts development team: Sufiyan Samnani, Johannes Lindenbaum, Matthew Palsich (left to right) in a bi-weekly product demos meeting where each team presents what they have been working on.

Boesch, then 25 years old, was looking for a more efficient way of compiling shift schedules at his dad’s Quiznos fast-food franchises in Saskatchewan. Armed with coding skills, he started a new company called 7shifts. The company now employs close to 90 people and sells its scheduling software to 10,000 restaurants in more than 20 countries around the world. In fact, most of the revenues for Saskatoon-based 7shifts come from outside Canada.

The 7shifts app is accessible anywhere with an Internet connection. It not only relieves restaurant managers of some big headaches, but enables employees to view their shifts on a smartphone and swap duties with their co-workers.

Being a Canadian company has some big advantages, Boesch says.

“There’s a stereotype that Canadians are really nice, and those traits mirror really well when it comes to providing support in the hospitality industry,” he says.

Though globally oriented tech companies are a rarity in Saskatchewan, Boesch has no regrets about sticking close to home.

“There’s an overwhelming sense that we want to build big businesses that aren’t in New York or San Francisco, and that we can do it here. Specifically on the prairies, there’s a tough, gritty attitude around getting things done and building a big business.”

What’s more, he says, “We’ve got great tax supports and credits here in Canada that we’re able to take advantage of to compete on a global scale. Governments are all working hard to make it a great place to work and live.”

Chris de Jong, 7shifts’ marketing director, adds that “Being Canadian forces you to pay much more attention to where you’re selling. You’re not just selling to folks down the street. You have to really understand their local situation.”

The 7shifts platform is already available in French and English, and the company is now translating it into Spanish, mainly with an eye on the Hispanic market in the United States

Tushita Patel (left) and Evan Taylor (right), members of the 7shifts development team, solve a complex programming problem.

As 7shifts broadens its horizons, one concern is that protectionism could crimp growth. De Jong cites recent moves in the U.S. to reverse “net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers should treat all communications equally, no matter where they originate.”

As De Jong sees it, “It’s very important that our federal government advocates strongly for the interests of Canadian companies doing business in the United States, because these kinds of rules and regulations could have a serious impact on how we operate. We need trade agreements that are open and that advocate for Canadian companies.”

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