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Restaurant Chain Manages Rapid Expansion, Engages Bilingual Workforce With Ultimate Software's UltiPro

Stocks in this article: ULTI

Ultimate Software (Nasdaq: ULTI), a leading cloud provider of people management solutions announced today that Zoës Kitchen, a rapidly expanding Mediterranean-inspired fast-casual chain, is leveraging UltiPro’s end-to-end human capital management to effectively manage its growing workforce, proactively anticipate and handle turnover, and more easily and quickly recruit and onboard employees.

Growing about 40% each year, Zoës Kitchen needed an HR solution that could help it implement its strategic plan for organic growth while simultaneously holding down costs. Zoës Kitchen has approximately 1,200 employees in many states — of which about 20% are fluent in Spanish, so it was important that the company’s new HR technology provider deliver information to employees in both English and Spanish. Zoës Kitchen went live on UltiPro in 2010 and has since transformed its HR operations to handle new locations and more employees with greater ease, speed, and precision.

“We have two people handling HR and payroll for our company. Our goal with UltiPro was to maintain our lean administrative team despite business expansion, and we have accomplished this objective,” said Laurie Halvorson, HR director at Zoës Kitchen. “We added 16 locations in 2011, and we didn’t have to add administrative headcount, which is a huge achievement for our business. UltiPro’s 24-7 direct access for managers and employees has made a significant business impact because individuals can get and update information independently, and UltiPro’s workflow features keep the HR team informed and current.”

According to Halvorson, a key factor in the success of the project has been high adoption of the solution among employees across the organization. Making information immediately available to employees in multiple languages has been one of the most critical elements for Zoës Kitchen. “Employees can select their preference for an English or Spanish version of UltiPro. We can even provide their paychecks in Spanish,” said Halvorson. “UltiPro’s options for bilingual capabilities at Zoe’s definitely have fostered better communication throughout the company, and our employees appreciate that we use an HR solution that caters to their needs instead of the other way around.”

Halvorson has also saved time and improved service delivery because Ultimate Software delivers end-to-end functionality to manage people-centric business processes. UltiPro delivers a cohesive HR suite of Web functionality — streamlining processes and providing HR with real-time data that is available for analysis and that incorporates employee demographics as soon as an individual first applies for a job. “With Ultimate, we have one HR vendor, one solution to train employees to use, one bill to pay, one group of people for customer service, and one platform for reporting and business intelligence,” said Halvorson. “It’s so much more efficient to have one go-to place with UltiPro rather than five or six components that are band-aided together like we had before.”

Because UltiPro allows Ultimate’s customers to report on any of the information that covers the entire employee lifecycle, managers and executives are more easily and quickly able to analyze areas for improvement, such as the most effective methods for recruitment and turnover. “We have given our managers metrics they can access instantly and then slice and dice as needed in order to better manage turnover, which impacts all retail-oriented organizations,” said Halvorson. “We immediately saw an improvement in turnover after delivering these metrics to our leadership.”

Managers at Zoës Kitchen also have the ability to handle the entire hiring process from their locations. Pre-employment questionnaires help them narrow the talent pool to candidates who are the most qualified. “UltiPro has helped us leverage technology to improve our time to hire and quality of hire. Plus, I think it is a lot less expensive than the old-fashioned way of recruiting,” said Halvorson. “We can select the best people more quickly and before they are hired by a competitor. UltiPro gives us a strategic advantage in finding the best talent available.”

Once Zoës Kitchen identifies a candidate and his or her offer is accepted, the restaurant chain relies on UltiPro Onboarding to ensure that new hires quickly receive appropriate information and that the company has the necessary information for payroll compliance. “Our new hires love the onboarding process. They love that is eco-friendly and that they get a solid overview for what our company is all about. New hires become acclimated before they even start with us,” said Halvorson. “UltiPro integrates with E-Verify, a federal program that makes sure potential employees are authorized to work in the U.S., which adds another level of advantages for us as a business. We appreciate all the benefits that UltiPro has provided our HR team, our business, and our employees.”

Ultimate’s cloud technology provides businesses with numerous advantages. The solution’s end-to-end functionality is delivered through the most convenient, scalable platform and provides instant business intelligence to end-users,” said Greg Swick, chief sales officer at Ultimate Software. “For Zoës Kitchen, two distinct benefits are that the solution can be configured for its unique business requirements and that it can handle rapid, continued expansion without having to add headcount. We’re very pleased that our partnership with this successful restaurant chain has generated remarkable business results.”

About Zoës Kitchen

Zoës Kitchen, a modern, fast-casual restaurant concept founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 1995, has 65 retail locations spanning across the U.S. in 12 states. Zoës’ menu features Mediterranean-inspired comfort food with made-from-scratch recipes using fresh ingredients. Zoës is a wholesome place to eat for families and people with active lifestyles. The company is built upon a philosophy of balanced and healthy living, including spending time with family and friends over simple, tasty and freshly prepared food. Learn more at www.zoeskitchen.com or at www.facebook.com/ZoesKitchen.

About Ultimate Software

Ultimate is a leading SaaS provider of people management solutions, with more than 7 million people records in the cloud. Built on the belief that people are the most important ingredient of any business, Ultimate's award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, and talent management solutions that seamlessly connect people with the information and resources they need to work more effectively. Founded in 1990, the company is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and has more than 1,500 professionals focused on developing the highest quality solutions and services. In 2012, Ultimate was ranked #25 on FORTUNE'S “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. Ultimate has more than 2,300 customers with employees in 115 countries, including Adobe Systems Incorporated, The Container Store, Culligan International, Major League Baseball, The New York Yankees Baseball Team, and Texas Roadhouse. More information on Ultimate's products and services for people management can be found at www.ultimatesoftware.com.

UltiPro is a registered trademark of The Ultimate Software Group, Inc. All other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners.

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