Monday Oct 15, 2012 by Susan Johnston - Contributor, VentureFizz
Matthew Grace and Philip H. Beauregard met in their early twenties and had been tossing around business ideas since 2007. But it wasn’t until 2010, after the financial crash prompted Beauregard to leave his position in investment banking to pursue other opportunities, that they started working on it in earnest.
“Phil had worked in restaurant since he was a kid, as a bar back, waiter, bartender, then bar manager,” says Grace. “So he thought, ‘what if I could find a way to motivate staff to perform better?’ He came up with this really simple way to reward staff based on performance and put them on the shifts where they can sell the most.”
Getting Objective Logistics started, the pair initially bootstrapped together money from “friends, family, and fools,” as Grace puts it. “We literally spent that first year, 2010, trying to find a customer that was crazy enough to let us disrupt their business and build the software. We finally launched in 2011.
”That first customer was Not Your Average Joe’s, a casual full-service restaurant with 15 locations throughout Massachusetts. “Their CEO is so progressive in adopting new technology,” says Grace, who is Objective Logistic’s CTO. “They were the perfect customer that was willing to build it with us.” His first experience working in a restaurant was last fall when he worked at Not Your Average Joe’s to learn the ropes as a waiter.
Boston-based Objective Logistic developed a labor management platform called MUSE that uses game mechanics to rewards top-performing employee. “We suck up all the employee data, job codes, what they’re paid, when they punch in, and store it inside our website,” says Grace. “We predict how many people these restaurants need per hour of the day, then we run the scheduling process that considers everyone’s availability and fill all those slots.”
MUSE ranks employees based on criteria like showing up on time, being reliable, or the size of their tips. It also rewards top-ranked employees by giving them the most desirable shifts and sections. After a restaurant trade publication ran an article praising MUSE, inquiries from other restaurant CEOs and COOs started flooding in.
Grace and CEO Beauregard even visited Subway’s Milford, Conn. Headquarters to meet with the head of point of sale technology and VP of operations for the national sandwich chain. Though a deal with Subway was tempting, they ultimately decided to continue focusing on full-service restaurants and retail before moving into quick service restaurants. “We were so close to building out a prototype for them,” says Grace, “but we asked ourselves, should we focus on our core competencies? We ended up saying ‘once this comes out then we’ll come back to you.’ It was obviously the right decision.”
Objective Logistics also caught the eye of investors, and last November they closed a $1.5 million round of funding by Atlas Venture, Google Ventures, NextView, & Canary Ventures.
Going forward, Grace says the company is targeting a new release for March 2013. “Everything’s going to be mobile first and work on every mobile browser,” he adds. “We’re also working on new types of innovative rewards.”