7Shifts, a provider of automated scheduling and other labor software for restaurants, has raised $80 million in a funding round led by the big tech investor SoftBank.
The Series C round follows close on the heels of a $21.5 million investment last May led by Danny Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Investments, which also contributed to the latest round. The flood of capital reflects the growing hunger for technology from both restaurants and investors.
Founded in Saskatoon, Canada, in 2014, 7Shifts makes software designed to ease scheduling, time clocking and staff communication for restaurant managers. It can help them predict, for instance, how much staff they’ll need on a given night, and makes it easier for workers to trade shifts with one another.
The company has come a long way since March 2020, when it furloughed a quarter of its staff as revenue fell, said CEO Jordan Boesch. But by that September, sales had bounced back, and it brought back most of those furloughed workers. Then, in January 2021, it onboarded a record number of new restaurants, a trend that continued for months. It added a total of 10,000 restaurant locations last year.
“[Restaurants] had to make a lot of changes during COVID, and they realized they didn’t have any insight into their labor workforce,” Boesch said of the growing demand. “All of a sudden, having a pulse on your people became a more important part of it.”
After last year’s fundraise, the company wasn’t in any hurry to raise more money. “But we did notice that there was an appetite in the market for restaurant technology,” Boesch said. Then SoftBank came calling. “It happened quicker than we anticipated.”
The company will use the funding to continue building tools for all parts of the “employee life cycle,” from hiring to payment and retention. It will also work to improve integrations with other tech suppliers to provide restaurants with more seamless systems.
“We are still not seeing enough systems that integrate, that talk to each other very well in the restaurant space,” Boesch said.
The funding will also help 7Shifts continue its pursuit of bigger chains.
“Traditionally our sweet spot has been independents, but more recently … we’ve been working with more and more multiunit brands,” Boesch said. “We’re seeing there’s a need for a really simple tool for them that they’ve been left without.”
7Shifts’ clients include &pizza, Salt & Straw and Meyer’s own Union Square Hospitality Group, among others. All told, its platform is used by more than 25,000 restaurants and 650,000 restaurant workers in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
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