Isabel Mayfair: staying open for service using Brigad

Santa Cruz Co. boasts a fantastic triad of independently designed restaurants in Central London. The director and founder of the group, Juan Santa Cruz, came to the restaurant business in 2004 already possessing bountiful experience in finance and, ‘a keen interest and passion for hospitality and design’, and it’s obvious. Isabel is meticulously designed for a flawless experience beginning as soon as you enter the building. The organisational structure within their service is impeccable, despite facing the current problem that all restaurants are experiencing at the moment - a shortage of staff.

Isabel - Latin indulgence in the heart of Mayfair

Opening in 2017 in the heart of Mayfair, they have created a restaurant that reflects the style of the neighbourhood they inhabit - glamorous, fun, and memorable. The decor exhibits the original 1905 architectural design, with Beaux-Arts-inspired tables and chairs, all reflected in the hypnotic ceiling of spherical convex gold plates. Isabel is a high-end restaurant serving beautifully plated Mediterranean and Latin dishes created with locally sourced produce. But even the high-end restaurants haven’t avoided the perfect storm of COVID-19 and Brexit which has created an epidemic of understaffed restaurants.

We spoke to Wioletta Nowak, HR Manager of Santa Cruz about her struggles to maintain a fully staffed restaurant in these extraordinary times. As a well-established restaurant with an exceptional reputation in the industry, the combination of French, English, and Latin influences is abundant throughout the perfectly curated menu of food and cocktails. And understandably, the service must reflect this entirely. Using Brigad has ensured Wioletta has professional and trained staff to complete her rota.

Optimising service hours

A tactic Wioletta, and her team at Isabel, have taken is to reduce their service hours, closing Sunday and Monday to allow a decent break for their hard-working staff. This enables their staff to feel valued and return energised for their new working week. Of course, they still encounter days with absent staff and Brigad has enabled them to continue providing exceptional service by simply posting an available mission on the app, and receiving one of the professional and hardworking Brigaders.

Using Brigad has allowed Wioletta to continue opening Isabel for service without compromising on their quality of service. Brigaders can come for one day or a few weeks in a row, and the flexibility of creating the missions on their terms enables them to find the perfect jigsaw piece for the puzzle of absenteeism.

Using Brigad to plough through the hardest stages of the pandemic

In fact, at one point during the pandemic, Brigaders made up almost the entirety of Wioletta’s staff on shift. Without using the app, the restaurant would have had to inevitably close for evenings. Brigad ensures Wioletta can provide consistent service, on her terms, a further example of how flexible using Brigad is.

Wioletta’s favourite aspect of Brigad is the accessibility of the app and the ease of booking a Brigader in for the vacant shifts. She explains how she can complete these actions from her desktop, or on her phone on the move without losing time or compromising on efficiency. Wioletta emphasises 'the fact that it's so easy to use is very important', for her busy role at Santa Cruz Co.

The Brigaders who come to work at Isabel learn about the intention of Santa Cruz Co. restaurants and develop their skills to further their career through new experiences. As all our Brigaders work in various restaurants, this means they are exceptionally versatile and keen to constantly keep growing and developing in their learnings. Brigad enables restaurants to optimise their resources and solve the ultimate organisational challenges that hospitality presents itself with in these current climates.

A final word

After over a year of unpredictable circumstances, the hospitality industry is understandably weathered, but using Brigad can help fill in the extra missing shifts. Without having to ask her staff to go the extra mile, Wioletta allows them to take their time off as Brigaders aren’t there to replace your current team, but to act as a support to them. Allowing your staff to take the time off they need, ensures they feel valued and respected, whilst a freelancer takes over for however long is necessary.

The flexibility of the app means that organisational challenges can be overcome with a simple posting of a proposal. Once the Brigader has accepted, you can contact them to confirm any information and they will arrive on the day, fully prepared to fulfil their mission! It’s extremely simple, as we then take care of all the paperwork.

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