Carisch, Inc. is a family-owned company that operates 65 Arby’s restaurants in seven states. Building on nearly 30 years of commitment to excellence, its teams strive to put customers first, make great-tasting food, and serve it up in a fun and friendly environment. Like many quick-service restaurants, the operator’s biggest challenge to maintaining a top-notch customer experience is keeping its stores staffed in a tight labor market.
Previously, Carisch lacked an efficient way to deliver schedules to employees. People called or came into their store each week to check the schedule and write it down manually. Not only did this create potential for errors and missed shifts, it brought unnecessary distractions into the restaurants. Any time one of the company’s 1,400 employees stopped by, they were likely to chat with one or two working colleagues for 10 minutes or so — adding up to over 450 hours of lost productivity every week.
Mark Gregory, Carisch’s CFO heard about Crew’s mobile-first team communications and scheduling solution, and brought it to the management team for consideration. “When we saw the Crew demo, everybody felt it would benefit Carisch. We’re always looking for new technologies that make our GMs’ lives easier,” he said. “Larger, technically savvy franchisees were already seeing good results with Crew, and we knew it would be easy to use, stable, and secure. Our president said ‘this is a no-brainer, let’s make it a priority and get everyone on the app right away.’”
Rather than a typical IT rollout over multiple quarters, they felt confident they could deploy Crew rapidly because it is such a solid, self-contained product. IT held four web training sessions over two days, during which they texted attendees a link to download the Crew app immediately. Since it was easy for each manager to invite his or her own team members in just ten minutes, onboarding required minimal support from IT, and adoption quickly snowballed.
Mike Tibodeau, head of IT at Carisch, noted, “Once we decided to implement Crew across the organization, we had full buy-in from the president, every regional manager, and on down, and got it out into the field within a week.”
During the rollout, Mike and Mark closely monitored their Crew Command Center dashboards to track who was using the product, how many messages they were sending, and which managers were posting schedules. After the first two weeks, they noticed that a handful of stores hadn’t fully embraced the solution and followed up directly to find out why. They learned that some managers weren’t comfortable using their phones for messaging, and suggested a workaround – making assistant managers the Crew point people for those particular stores. Within a week, they were active on Crew and the company reached 100% adoption.
The group’s managers now use Crew to post weekly schedules directly to people’s phones, which saves everyone time. The app also makes it easier to find last minute shift covers when needed. Rather than spending 20+ minutes making and fielding calls to track down someone who can fill in, managers simply hop onto Crew and ask if anyone’s available to pick up the shift.
“Having the ability to request shift coverage without exposing people’s private phone numbers to each other is amazing. We often get coverage in just minutes, and haven’t had one shift go unstaffed since adopting Crew.”
Stefanie Barber, a general manager at one of Carisch’s stores, also uses Crew for her day-to-day communications needs, such as sharing important announcements about new recipes or customer greeting procedures, and coordinating with other store managers when she’s short on product or staff. She encourages her frontline teams to send each other birthday wishes on Crew, award Gold Stars, or simply share entertaining GIFs.
Carisch’s corporate management also benefits from direct access to frontline employees. For example, if there’s an issue with the point of sales system that affects cashiers, Mike can quickly post a message on Crew to let people know he’s working on it. Carisch’s HR manager appreciates that she can monitor store conversations across seven states right from her desk.
In just the first few months after deployment, Crew delivered significant productivity and staffing improvements for Carisch’s IT team, store managers, and frontline employees. “We’ve increased our shift coverage 80%, and Crew takes so much stress off of myself and our other managers,” shared Barber. “Our speed of service is faster now that we no longer have to deal with taking call-ins, no-shows or leaving the store short-staffed during the lunch rush while we step out to track down a cover for later in the day.”
Overall, the operator’s employees are happier and more engaged now that they’ve gotten to know each other and built connections through Crew. This positively impacts attitudes, employee satisfaction, company culture, and of course customer service.