40+ restaurants across Sweden
Bastard Burgers is a Swedish premium street-food burger chain known as much for their delicious burgers made from locally sourced ingredients as for their uniquely colourful and vibrant company culture. What started as a hole in the wall in Luleå, Northern Sweden, in 2016, the chain will have more than 40 restaurants up and down Sweden by New Year’s Eve 2020 - and well over 500 employees. Ziik has been a crucial aid in their explosive expansion as well as a vital tool in developing a digital-first restaurant concept. Or, as Chief Operating Officer, William Engmann refers to it: the first digital hamburger. Here, he tells us why they turned to Ziik – and why it has been so important.
The keys to our success have been our focus on quality, being better than our competitors, and hiring the right people. The founders of Bastard Burgers were a group of friends that went into it with passion, developing recipes and building the first restaurants themselves. But when they got to about eight restaurants, they began to realise that passion alone wasn’t enough if they wanted to keep growing. You have to be able to run things according to shared standards and procedures without being physically present yourself. And this is where I got hired. I have had a long career in franchising and was brought onboard to help realise Bastard Burgers’ ambitions for expansion.
When I started, I looked around and saw all this information kept on paper, updated with hand-written notes. Recipes were shared on post-it notes, and if we wanted to change a recipe, we didn’t have a way to share it with all the restaurants. It was quite clear from the beginning that we needed to write everything down in handbooks and manuals. And then we needed a centralised way of communicating and sharing information up and down and across the company.
The primary requirement for the system we were looking for was that it had to be mobile. Some of our restaurants haven’t got a computer. And our employees are all around 20-25 years old, so they’re all part of the first truly mobile, always connected generation. The mobile is their interface to the internet. Secondly, the system had to offer a handbook solution, where we could share all our handbooks and guides, and where updates were immediately pushed to all users in real-time. Pretty soon we found that Ziik was the system for us.
We began using Ziik in spring of 2018, and since that day it has made our operations so much easier. We simply keep everything in there. All our handbooks and guides, supplier contacts, you name it. Ziik is the bible in Bastard Burgers when it comes to reading how things work. The first thing new hires are told is to read everything on Ziik! That is why Ziik has been so crucial to our big expansion. We were eight restaurants when we started using Ziik, soon we will have over 40 and we’re going to expand into Norway and New York as well. You can’t do that without an efficient way of communicating and sharing information
Ziik has been absolutely crucial to our expansion. Bastard Burgers’ brand is about fun and passion, sharing a feeling, a vibe. The same is true for our company culture, and Ziik is a big factor in driving this company culture and has helped making us an extremely digital company. We have digital meetings and try to do as much as possible digitally. Creating the digital hamburger, as I call it. Part of our mentality is to be wise, and that also means working wisely. We share and communicate new things every day, and we use video and other media to support the messaging.
Our culture is as much a part of our success as our burgers. We have hired a guy who works exclusively with developing our culture and values, both internally and externally. We want to bring a distinct Norrland flavour to our culture and to the rest of Sweden. And there is a serious side to it as well: We want all employees to be union members, and we pay our part-time staff six months’ salary when they go on maternity leave. We take our social responsibility very seriously. That is probably why we have 100s of applications for our job openings. It’s all part of the Bastard Burgers balancing act between having fun and being serious. We’re very focused on quality and business – and on having fun. And that is mirrored on our Ziik platform.
Ziik is an easy, informative platform, that is simple to set up and manage without needing an IT team to do it. If you need a communication and information sharing platform it’s great. We want to be a ‘digital everything’-company, and Ziik is a big part of that ambition. One of the clever things about Ziik is that it looks like all the social media platforms you already know. That means people instinctively know how to use it. New hires simply download the app, enter their details - and start using it. No training required.
The generations that are coming out now and entering the workforce are super mobile and super connected. They expect and demand something like Ziik from their employers. They don’t do paper. And they want to connect, to engage with their work, their colleagues.
Using Ziik is also a way of staying in control of our business data and documents. If we didn’t provide Ziik, they’d find some other way of sharing information.
Our tone on Ziik is more business than social media. We’ve found out that if you post too much, people start switching off. But we have a policy of always posting things on Ziik before we post or break them anywhere else. All official communication in Bastard Burgers goes through Ziik. Mostly from HQ to our employees. Either in groups or all at once. We also get a lot of feedback going the other way. Ziik is great at making the gap smaller between HQ and restaurants. And it’s a great way for HQ to stay in touch, to keep an ear to the ground, so we don’t lose track of the bread and butter.
We were one step ahead of the corona virus thanks to Ziik, because we were already working digitally. Everything we need to work, to share news and updates with everyone at once, it’s all in Ziik. In fact, we even grew our business during the crisis. We managed to hit all our monthly numbers, and then some. Going forward, we need to develop the app even more, and it’s cool to be able to call Ziik to discuss what we need, and to find out what they already have on the drawing board. We have grown from 8 to 40 restaurants with Ziik and we want to be able to keep growing with them.