The Nowsta Blog

Management tips and labor market insights to help you run your business

Henry Updegrave

Henry Updegrave
Henry heads up marketing at Nowsta: the easiest way to schedule, manage, and pay hourly staff.

Recent Posts

Our Guide to Renting a Commissary Kitchen

By Henry Updegrave June 18, 2019

Culinary businesses without a brick-and-mortar presence face a big problem: Where can they prep and store their food while following sanitation laws? For many, commissary kitchens are the answer. Commissary kitchens provide a legal, fully equipped space to prepare, cook, and store both food and supplies on a part-time rental basis. Businesses that benefit typically include:

Read More

Understanding Shift Differential Pay

By Henry Updegrave June 10, 2019

Scheduling employees for unpopular shifts can be a challenge. That’s why many businesses offer shift differential pay, meaning they pay employees more when they work the shifts others don’t want to. It’s a simple way to incentivize, reward, and retain employees for performing a difficult but necessary service for your company.

Read More

Tip Pooling: Your Comprehensive Guide

By Henry Updegrave May 28, 2019

Millions of servers, bartenders, baristas, and others depend on tips to supplement their income. While direct client-to-server tipping is the most standard practice, many businesses opt to spread the love with a tip pooling policy.

Read More

The Latest in Corporate Dining: 7 Trends for 2019

By Henry Updegrave May 14, 2019

In today’s perks-heavy office environment, companies go to great lengths to retain top employees and build an enthusiastic office environment. Corporate dining is one of the most potent tools available. Although free or discounted office food has been around for decades, creative meal plans and catered meetings are becoming more and more common for white collar employees around the country. In a recent interview with the New York Times, one corporate food supplier explained, “You reduce turnover because you have happier employees. It’s how you stay competitive for a certain sector of companies.”

As corporate dining preferences shift and expand, caterers need more highly-trained food service staff who can adapt to a wider range of client preferences and even, in some cases, work directly with office managers to meet new demands.

So, what exactly are these new demands? We lay out seven below. You'll notice common threads like a focus on wellness and sustainability, but above all else, these corporate dining trends are about elevating the daily work experience for office employees. Let's dive in!

Read More

6 Questions with Hotbox Authors Matt and Ted Lee: Undercover Students of Catering

By Henry Updegrave May 7, 2019

Matt and Ted Lee have the catering world abuzz with their new book Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business. The two food writers went undercover, working as event chefs for two years to get the inside scoop on an industry that nearly everyone has interacted with but few truly understand. We got the chance to sit down with them and learn more about their journey into catering.

Read More

Understanding Meal and Rest Break Laws in Your State

By Henry Updegrave April 22, 2019

Meal and rest breaks are considered a standard perk at most workplaces, and yet they’re not actually mandated by federal law. At the federal level, employers are only required to compensate breaks lasting less than 20 minutes, should they choose to provide them (the one exception being nursing breaks for mothers, a minimum level of which are required by federal law -- we’ll cover this more later). It’s actually up to the states themselves to determine if and when employers have to make these breaks available to employees, which means the standards are different all over the country.

Work break laws can be broken down into four major categories based on the people and circumstances they cover:

  • Breaks for minors
  • Meal breaks
  • Rest breaks
  • Nursing breaks

While some states have no mandated work breaks, most of them call for employers to provide one or more of the breaks listed above.

Understanding your state’s rest and meal breaks help ensure that you’re fully compliant and properly measuring overtime. And if your business has employees across multiple states, you of course need to make sure you’re meeting each one’s unique standards at your different locations. Below, we’re going to talk about each type of meal and rest break law, explain what it means to your business, and lay out which states it applies to.

Read More

How to Write Effective Job Ads for Hourly Staff

By Henry Updegrave April 15, 2019

Hourly employees are often the face of your business. Baristas, servers, and other folks in customer-facing roles have to connect with people and exude your company values, so it’s imperative you find the right people for the job -- and since turnover is high for these positions, you need to be able to do it consistently.

In October 2018, job openings in the US reached over 7 million — outnumbering job seekers by nearly a million. Candidates have more power than ever when choosing which employers they’re going to work for. That’s one reason why more companies have started to treat recruits like customers, optimizing the application experience for candidates and making efforts to promote their company as an attractive place to work.

Job ads are the backbone of any such recruitment marketing strategy. They’re your opportunity to make a strong first impression on potential employees, set the tone for the interview process, and ultimately get more applicants through the door. With that in mind, here are our three tips for writing more effective job ads.

Read More

Federal Overtime Laws: The Latest Updates from the Department of Labor

By Henry Updegrave April 1, 2019

Long-awaited updates to federal overtime laws are finally here. On March 7, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new changes to the overtime threshold exemptions under the Federal Labor Standards Act. This proposal — which is now taking public comment — calls for a higher overtime exemption threshold than exists now, but a lower one than the DOL called for under the Obama Administration.

Read More

Servant Leadership: A Primer with Examples

By Henry Updegrave March 19, 2019

If you run a business or manage a significant number of staff, you know that your attention is being pulled in a million directions at once. Did we underschedule today? Should we be hiring more? Are we going over budget? There’s always something new to deal with.

But with so many problems to solve every day to keep the business running smoothly, it’s easy to forget about the frontline employees who make it all possible. If they’re not consistently learning, growing, and getting better at their jobs, then it’s nearly impossible for the customer experience to improve over time. Even worse, if your staff are disengaged and turning over at a high rate, you’re almost certain to provide a worse experience over time, since you constantly have new people starting from scratch with no understanding of what makes your business successful.

That’s the problem servant leadership looks to solve. Servant leadership is a management philosophy that reimagines the role of the boss as one who serves their team rather than leads them. Proponents argue that by focusing more on what they can do to make their team successful rather than vice versa, leaders can build a more cohesive, autonomous, motivated workforce, which will ultimately get better outcomes for the business.

Read More

2019 Labor Laws: 4 New Rules Revealing the Latest Trends

By Henry Updegrave March 11, 2019

 You always need to be up on the latest labor laws to stay compliant and make sure you’re meeting your obligations to employees. And with 2019 underway, you’re probably (hopefully) already following any new laws in your area.

But what about the rest of the country? Are there new labor laws that could be coming your way next year? Where are the trends heading?

Following labor laws isn’t just about reacting to new rules as they come onto the books. You need to know what laws might be coming soon so you can strategize in advance about what they mean for your business and how you’ll adapt, rather than try and scramble to follow them once they’ve already passed. That means you need to stay up on the trends. In this post, we’re going to tell you about four new labor laws from around the country that could spread far and wide in 2019 and beyond.

Read More

Helping you become a better manager.