As the world’s leading baked goods and coffee chain, Dunkin’ serves more than three million customers every day, and boasts one of the highest customer retention rates in the quick-service restaurant industry. In North Carolina, an eight-store Dunkin’ franchisee group called Pinehurst Donuts recently set out to boost customer satisfaction further by improving its employee communications and scheduling practices.
As with many service organizations, some locations struggled with high staff turnover and inconsistent frontline productivity. Finding shift coverage when someone – especially an overnight baker – called out at the last minute was a major challenge. One of Pinehurst’s general managers, Ryan Tolbert, remembers, “It was always a headache and a gamble getting people to cover because I’d first have to find their current phone numbers, then call or send a group text - all without knowing if they even received my message or were just ignoring it.”
After one Pinehurst store experimented with the free team communications and scheduling mobile app from Crew, Ryan and a few other managers quickly adopted it for their teams as well. “Crew made communicating so much easier, and employees immediately saw the benefits of having access to their schedule right in the palm of their hand,” he said. “The app simply made sense to us, and within 10 days, everyone on my team was using it.”
Ryan and his colleagues discussed Crew’s best practices and benefits during their monthly manager meetings, and over time, adoption grew until it was a no-brainer for the entire group to be active on Crew. As a result, Pinehurst is now a more unified organization, with consistent procedures, training, and tools that keep staff on the same page so they can move between locations when needed. The Crew Command Center admin console streamlines all management communications and gives above-store leadership direct insight into restaurant operations.
“Over the past year, we’ve pushed hard to improve our speed-of-service and increase sales, and Crew played a big role in helping us turn both around drastically. Before, we were lucky if we could hit 180 seconds for our drive-through time during peak hours. But as of right now, we’re going on 18 weeks straight of surpassing our 150-second goal, and our average weekly sales have gone from $15,000 to $22,000.”
Rather than posting weekly schedules to a physical bulletin board, managers now snap a photo each week and post their schedules to Crew. Employees know right away when they’re working, and Crew makes finding shift coverage streamlined and easy. “Crew ended my daily battle to get in contact with people because everybody’s on there and keeps in touch in the same spot,” shared Tolbert. “I can send a shift request out to a group and quickly find someone to cover, because Crew tells me who’s read my posts, and even lets me call or remind them (which helps a lot if I’m trying to cover a shift early in the morning).”
Crew empowers frontline staff to stay informed about the new promotions and products Dunkin’ corporate releases every six to eight weeks. Managers simply push out Announcements with training video links to make sure everyone’s up to speed on what’s coming and what’s leaving. Since employees can watch the videos right from their phones whenever it’s convenient for them, Ryan no longer has to pull people one-by-one off the floor for training during their shifts, a time-consuming step for him and his employees.
By using Crew to proactively motivate employees and recognize quality work, Pinehurst improved the overall customer experience. For example, Ryan posts daily and weekly drive-through times on Crew, celebrating when his team is fast or offering encouragement to do better when they fall behind targets. He brings this approach of constant communication and guidance to guest satisfaction efforts as well.
“We’ve gotten a lot more positive guest comments recently, and when those come in I share them in our group chat so everybody can see what was done right,” said Tolbert. “I also recognize my team with Crew Gold Stars for things like great customer interactions, exceeding drive-through goals, and more. Crew helps me create an environment that’s inviting and fun and where workers are actively engaged with each other, so people want to come to work.”
As a result of using Crew in combination with other initiatives over the past year, Ryan’s store accelerated drive-through times by 30 seconds, boosted customer satisfaction from 58% to reach their goal of 75%, and grew monthly sales by $28,000. Crew also saves Pinehurst’s managers hundreds of hours every month, which they can refocus on optimizing operations and customer service. Across the franchisee’s eight locations, this adds up to productivity worth $26,000 annually. At the same time, shift coverage increased from under 50% to around 95%, contributing to better customer and employee retention.
“Being able to get shifts covered in a timely fashion with Crew helps us avoid the negative impact of missed shifts, such as less one-on-one face time to make our guests feel valued, and people having to work harder and faster,” noted Tolbert. “Crew has been a key factor in dropping our average employee turnover by more than 50%, saving me the 40 hours it takes to replace and train a new employee each time one person leaves.”