Lightspeed offers barista and free meals to attract its employees to the office

Head office expansion, massive hiring, free food and coffee, Lightspeed Commerce is sailing against the tide as many Canadian tech companies tighten their belts and end their drive to seduce professionals.

Posted at 5:14 p.m.

Stephane Rolland
The Canadian Press

Since the start of the pandemic, the cloud computing specialist has almost doubled the size of the spaces it occupies at its head office, located in Montreal in the former Gare Viger, to bring them to 8,640 square meters. The highlight of the renovated spaces, designed by the architectural firm ACDF, is probably the coffee counter where a barista serves the company’s employees.

At a time when telecommuting has become a hiring argument, Lightspeed, which offers a flexible telecommuting policy, hopes its offices will contribute to employee satisfaction. “What we wanted was to create a unique experience when people come back to work,” explains CEO Jean Paul Chauvet in an interview.

“We don’t force anyone to come, but we do a lot to ensure that people are there, adds the manager. In the morning, there will be breakfasts. At noon, there are a multitude of meal options, salads, sandwiches. Even in the evening, we have lunch boxes that people can take home. »

The company has about 300 open positions in Montreal, where 800 of its 3,000 employees work. “We are still in hiring mode. There were 300 open positions last quarter and we filled them. There is constant growth. »

The attentions of the Montreal company contrast with the gloomy period that many Canadian techno workers are going through.

Accustomed to easily finding capital to fuel their growth ambitions, start-ups have started to manage their finances more tightly due to the sector’s debacle on the stock market, the rise in interest rates and the return to a more “normal” life which has reduced consumers’ appetite for certain virtual services.

For example, the ready-meal specialist Goodfood Market announced a 2.8% reduction in its workforce while the company lost customers in the wake of the health restrictions. Fintech Wealthsimple, for its part, put hiring on hold recently.

Even the American web giants are experiencing a new austerity. Netflix announced in May that it was laying off 150 people, or 2% of its workforce, after registering an initial drop in subscriber numbers. Relative misfortune, Facebook employees, for their part, learned this spring that they would have to do their own laundry with the abandonment of the laundry service offered to them.

A favorable context

Lightspeed, for its part, is in a more favorable context. The relaxation of sanitary measures benefits its customers in shops and restaurants, underlines Mr. Chauvet. “People have such a desire to come back to the physical world that, for us, it creates a big demand for our products. »

That appetite was reflected in the company’s most recent quarterly results, which reported revenue growth of 78% in the three months ended March 31. CIBC World Markets financial analyst Todd Coupland said the results reinforce his bullish thesis. “The small and medium business market for innovations is large while the adoption rate of cloud computing is still low. »

The complexity for small businesses that must manage their online presence at the same time as their physical activities represents a business opportunity for Lightspeed. “As people continue to buy online and go there, it is even more difficult for restaurateurs and merchants, notes Mr. Chauvet. Our platform is even more in demand than it was before. »

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