Wages are Up, Traffic is Down, and Guest Satisfaction is in Flux: How You Can Beat the Crisis

Wages are Up, Traffic is Down, and Guest Satisfaction is in Flux: How You Can Beat the Crisis

Running a hospitality business – restaurant, hotel, or another guest-focused venue – is harder than ever before. Minimum wage increases are usually great for your workers, but they put pressure on employers to make changes throughout their business to accommodate these adjustments.

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Harri On the Rise...Why We're Celebrating

This quarter has been tough on our competitors in talent technology platforms. There’s news of consolidation, leadership changes, and potential layoffs -- all cause for concern. Meanwhile, here at Harri HQ, we’ve spent these past couples of months celebrating some exciting milestones and we couldn’t wait to share them with you:

Top Start-Up

Cue the fanfare! Harri has been recognized as a Top-50 Startup in the United States by LinkedIn. The professional networking site weighed factors such as interest in the company, engagement with employees, job interest, and retention to rank the most sought-after startups where professionals want to work and more impressively, stay. LinkedIn cited Harri’s ability to make life easier in the hospitality industry – a tough sector with one of the worst employee turnover rates – by owning all stages of the hiring process, from sourcing hotel and restaurant workers to managing employee schedules. What an honor. "Five years ago,” says CEO Luke Fryer, “we began the Harri journey with a vision of creating the next generation of broadly capable, industry optimized, employee management technology. This was and continues to be an audacious but increasingly achievable goal that's validated by moments like this."

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Growing Our Team

While the job market suffers elsewhere, we’re happy to announce that we’ve just hired our 100th engineer and are on track to double that number in the next 12 months. Finding and retaining a skilled engineering team means we can continue to develop a powerful suite of tools to help you with your talent needs, create seamless and user-friendly platforms, and deliver unparalleled customer service.


Expanding Our Global Footprint

Not only are we growing our own staff, we’ve hit a fantastic landmark in growing our customers. Since launching in the United Kingdom in May 2016, we’ve acquired so many great brands as clients. In fact, we just recently signed our 50th customer – Dishoom!

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Dishoom is an Indian restaurant chain that pays homage to the old Irani cafes of Bombay. Inspired by true flavors of home cooked Indian food, Dishoom’s founders are re-creating the community hubs they have seen to exist in the restaurants of Bombay. Among their dozens of awards, The Sunday Times recently ranked Dishoom 36th in their ‘100 Best Companies to Work For.” We count ourselves lucky to have such an innovating brand on board - not only is the food sensational; they are pioneers of great candidate experience and we are excited to help them grow through their people!

Powered by Harri, Customers Expand

When we help you build and manage your workforce, you’ll find that you have much more bandwidth to focus on other aspects of your business. That’s why we’re so excited when our partners expand into new locations and concepts. We’re on the same team.

Take ThinkFood Group. We’re currently helping them with talent acquisition and management for their brand-new location in Disney Springs, Florida. The concept, Jaleo By José Andrés, will feature Spanish tapas, paella and sangria.

We’re also stoked to be a part of Snooze, an A.M. Bakery’s incredible growth. After a record six new openings in 2017, the chain is on pace for eight new restaurants this year and 12 in 2019. We recently spoke with their Senior Vice President of People Resources, Brianna Borin, to find out her best practices for ensuring quality talent management as the enterprise continues to grow.

“People are your biggest asset. The second you lose sight of that, things can go really wrong, really quickly -- especially if you’re growing as fast as we are as a company,” she recently told us. “You have to power those assets to be the best asset they can be. Use as many tools and resources that can aid you in doing that well. It’s really critical.” (Watch the inspiring conversation here.)

This is just a snapshot to share that we’re celebrating big wins in how we’re building, growing, and investing in the next-generation talent technology platform for hospitality. In spite of what you’re reading about the fate of some of our competitors, rest assured, the future is bright.

Product & Feature Updates: May 2018

We're excited to share our latest product and feature releases for May 2018!

These enhancements may affect your account. Check out the highlights below, and please check in with all appropriate members of your team to ensure you're implementing the updates that will best serve your business.


As a hospitality professional, you need more control over every aspect of your business. This feature gives you even more control over the jobs you post. With Advanced Job Post Settings, you can now set jobs as ‘Evergreen,’ meaning they have no expiration date. You’ll also be able to pause a job, which will remove it from Harri, your Career Portal, and other job boards. You also have the ability to set a number of hires when creating a job post, set a fill date, and set actions when marking a job as filled, ensuring it’s mandatory for managers to move candidates to either the ‘Hired’ or ‘Skipped’ columns.

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Schedules are the glue holding everything together. A well-built, insightful schedule has the ability to not only put the right people in the right places, it can also improve the experience of scheduling managers and improve team engagement. Our improved table view option prints the week's schedule on less pages with more info, and can also be grouped by employee, day part, and revenue center.


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Everyone looks at things differently, which is why we’ve added new sorting options to our pay data sheets, including the ability to sort employees by first and last name (these options have been added to the timesheet, as well). We've also added labor cost/total wages to the Pay Data Sheet, and made improvements to both the employee name column on the Pay Data Sheet and the Pay Data Sheet header to make it readily available when managers scroll down.


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Are you an operations or finance professional looking for more visibility into what makes up your total labor cost? Our new Detailed Employee Labor Variance Report enables you to view actual hours worked and labor costs vs. scheduled hours worked and variance. It's easily customizable and aggregated, too: You have the ability to aggregate across the time frame of the report (timeline can be customized). We call this report 'detailed' because additional categories for wage and wage penalties are broken down (spread of hours and overtime pay is included), giving you even more visibility into what makes up your total labor cost.


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In Q1 we added a new feature to our TeamLive communications capabilities called TeamLive Channels. This feature allows managers to communicate with their team members via position, category, and custom groups. Managers will also be able to send messages to specific groups - like servers - without spending time creating a group and adding servers to it.


2018 Minimum Wage Increases Guide

On the first day of 2018, minimum wage increases will go into effect (New York’s changes will go into effect the day before, on December 31, 2017).

On July 1, 2018, Maryland, Oregon, and D.C. will follow suit with increases of their own.

The ever-changing landscape of the hospitality industry can be confusing and overwhelming - that’s why we’ve created a guide to help you navigate your state’s changes.

Check it out below:

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New York State*:

  • $11.00 per hour in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester counties
  • $10.40 per hour in the rest of New York state ($11.75 for fast food employees in fast food places outside of New York City)
  • $12.00 per hour for 10 or fewer employees, or $13.00 per hour for 11 of more employees in New York City (*see below)
  • *Local laws may require different minimum wage rates. For more information regarding New York City, see below.  

New York City - Non-Fast Food Employers with More than 10 Employees:

  • Non-tipped employees, minimum wage: $13.00 per hour (min. overtime rate: $19.50)
  • Food service employees, cash wage: $8.65 per hour (overtime wage $15.15, tip credit $4.35)
  • Other service employees, cash wage: $10.85 per hour (overtime wage $17.35, tip credit $2.15, tip threshold $2.80)

New York City - Non-Fast Food Employers with 10 Employees or Less:

  • Non-tipped employees, minimum wage: $12.00 per hour (min. overtime rate: $18.00)
  • Food service employees, cash wage: $8.00 per hour (overtime wage $14.00 per hour, tip credit $4.00)
  • Other service employees, cash wage: $10.00 per hour (overtime wage $16.00, tip credit $2.00, tip threshold $2.60)

New York City - Fast Food Employers:

  • Fast Food Employees, minimum wage: $13.50 per hour (min. overtime wage: $20.25)


  • Alaska: $9.84 per hour
  • Arizona: $10.50 per hour
  • California*: $11.00 per hour with 26 employees or more; $10.50 per hour with fewer than 26 employees.
  • Colorado: $10.20 per hour
  • Florida: $8.25 per hour
  • Hawaii: $10.10 per hour
  • Maine*:  $10.00 per hour
  • Michigan: $9.25 per hour
  • Minnesota: $9.65 per hour for large employers (annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more); $7.87 per hour for small employers (annual gross revenue of less than $500,000).
  • Missouri: $7.85 per hour
  • Montana: $8.30 per hour
  • New Jersey: $8.60 per hour
  • Ohio: $8.30 per hour (gross receipts of $305,000 or more); $7.25 per hour (gross receipts under $305,000)
  • Rhode Island: $10.10 per hour
  • South Dakota: $8.85 per hour
  • Vermont: $10.50 per hour
  • Washington*: $11.50 per hour

State Minimum Wage Changes Effective July 1, 2018

  • D.C.: $13.25 per hour on 7/1/18
  • Maryland*: $10.10 per hour on 7/1/18
  • Oregon:
    • $12.00 Portland metro area
    • $10.75 urban counties
    • $10.50 rural counties on 7/1/18

*Local laws may require different minimum wage rates.

What Employers Can Do Now: 

Get Your Scheduling Down to a Science: Analyze your most crucial shifts and recognize the strongest members of your staff in order to strategically schedule your team (tools like Harri's TeamLive can help managers and operators with schedule alignment, labor costs, and budget).

Consider Adjusting Your Hours:  By tracking your stores’ sales patterns, you may gain valuable insights to determine the working hours that are most productive for your business. For example, if you frequently experience a spike in customers/sales around lunch Monday through Friday, but find there's a slump during evenings on the same days, you may want to consider closing earlier during the week and focusing your marketing efforts towards weekday lunch. (Pro Tip: Your POS weekly and monthly reports should be a great indicator of these trends.)

Take a Close Look at Menu Item Prices: This is a last-ditch but sometimes necessary effort to combat minimum wage increases. Analyze each menu item and break it down by cost (with the help of your culinary team), and consider comparing vendors. Know that you may lose some customers at the expense of your menu changes. If you decide to increase your menu prices, communicate to your guests that your business has done so in order to stay open, pay your employees fair wages, and continue to serve them!