Fredericton-based Quick Service Software (QSS) provides web-based back office software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for quick service restaurant clients. QSS services big name customers across the globe, assisting with financial reporting, inventory and labour cost management, and more.
Co-Founder and COO Greg Noel created the company’s flagship product eighteen years ago in his spare bedroom. It began as a side project; his wife Jocelyne worked in the quick service industry and recruited Greg to help with automation for a client. This led to him building a new platform on his own time. The result was Clearview, software now used in over 8,900 quick service locations.
In September 2015, Japan’s Panasonic Corporation acquired 51 percent of QSS. That deal has led directly to the company’s latest news: QSS will provide its software to all McDonald’s restaurants in Japan — nearly 3,000 locations.
ONB spoke with Noel to discuss this exciting news.
ONB: First let’s run down some of your big-name clients.
Noel: Our clients include many well-known brands. McDonald’s is obviously a notable name; this past July we completed the full implementation of our software in all McDonald’s restaurants in Canada. Tim Hortons is another major client; QSS software is now found in approximately 4,200 of their locations. We also work with A&W, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Dairy Queen.
Your headcount is in the mid-70s. Safe to assume this new McDonald’s Japan news means even more growth?
Absolutely, we’re always hiring. In March of this year, we announced the creation of up to 50 new full-time positions with the support of Opportunities NB (ONB). That announcement really helped put our name out there within the community, and having the Panasonic name included in the conversation has been a tremendous boost. People may not know QSS but they definitely recognize Panasonic.
In the last few years, we have seen tremendous growth, about 25 percent each year thanks largely to our work with McDonald’s Canada. We’ve been working closely with ONB Workforce Strategists to determine which programs best help with our HR needs, and how best to find great talent. We’re getting that international growth we were hoping for when we first partnered with Panasonic in 2015. That was the catalyst for the growth plan we’ve been working on with ONB and we’ve already achieved a lot of those goals. We were at approximately 45 employees when we started that plan, and as you noted we’re now at 75 and growing.
Tim Hortons has been entering new markets as well. That must have implications for QSS.
Yes, they’re expanding globally and aggressively. We’ve won three of those international contracts already. Our software has been used by Tim Hortons restaurants in the Middle East for several years. Recently, Tim Hortons has expanded into the UK where they opened their first restaurants in May and in September the first restaurants will open in Mexico. Tim Hortons is targeting 250 and 500 restaurants in these respective markets over the next five years.
One of our current postings is for bilingual customer service specialists with Spanish language skills. That is to help support those new locations in Mexico.
ONB is always keen to help clients recruit. Tell us what makes QSS an attractive employer.
I think many people are, understandably, looking for stable employment with stable companies. That describes us perfectly; our parent company is not going anywhere, and neither are any of our major clients. Names like McDonald’s and Tim Hortons are going to be around for the long haul.
Also, our corporate culture is important to us and we work hard to ensure all our employees are engaged with what we do and the value we provide to customers. We have an excellent benefits package (with no deduction to the employees), health and wellness incentives, as well as retention and bonus programs. We also have a performance management program where all employees meet face-to-face with their manager every month — this ensures we stay in tune with their needs and can help them with career growth.
You’re keen to bring NB expats home as well. What do you see as advantages of living and working here?
New Brunswick’s scenery is gorgeous, and I think we underestimate the appeal of being able to walk outside the office and feel like you’re in a different world. It’s the serenity that is so big for my family. I love that the company can move at a rapid pace day-to-day, but when work is done I can truly relax. You see trees here, not just concrete. That quality of life is our biggest advantage.
What I love about Fredericton specifically is the strong staff we’ve managed to find, many of whom have been with us almost since the beginning. We’ve built an amazing team here and wouldn’t be where we are today without every one of them.
It’s fun to look back and think about how it began, creating it all in that spare bedroom in our old house. Now we’re selling globally. It’s really cool to think that our team is helping run restaurants all over the world.
Images via Quick Service Software
Written by Jason Boies