The Staab Management Company operates 68 Pizza Hut franchisees in the Midwestern United States, 18 of which rely on the Crew app for streamlined communication across the team. With each of their locations, Staab aims to infuse a culture of investing in people for long-term success. With 35 years of experience at Pizza Hut and over 26 of those as an area coach, Mark Sulzle believes that effective communication is a key lever for business outcomes.
Mark brings this philosophy to the eight restaurants he manages in Nebraska, however it can be a challenge to maintain performance standards across locations and keep everyone aligned with the same goals in mind. Additionally, Mark always looks for new ways to keep employees fully engaged, especially shift managers who are key to the business’ success. After hearing about the Crew communications app from Staab’s leadership, Mark knew it could meet these needs.
After rolling out Crew, team connections and engagement flourished throughout Mark’s locations. Today, each restaurant general manager uses Crew to post weekly shift schedules, orient their staff around performance expectations, and share valuable information about limited time offers, new procedures and more.
Mark uses Crew’s Command Center to send messages to employees with one click, keep a pulse on store-level conversations, and interact with targeted groups – e.g. all of his general managers, each store’s management team or frontline staff at individual restaurants. During orientation, managers encourage all new employees to download and use Crew so they can stay up to speed on announcements and shift cover requests without having to share their personal phone number with teammates. To date, 90% of employees have voluntarily adopted Crew, and one restaurant has every single team member using the app.
“Crew is a great platform for instant engagement across our whole team and makes me feel a lot more connected to what’s going on. Everyone can communicate efficiently and effectively with co-workers and managers, as well as managers with each other and their frontline crews.”
Crew helps Mark nurture a goal-oriented culture and empower people to reach their objectives. It ensures everyone is on the same page in terms of how they’re progressing towards target success metrics, and creates accountability. For example, general managers post their restaurant’s daily speed of service numbers, recognizing improvements or offering encouragement and reminders when shifts fall short on kitchen or drive times. As a result, overall speed of service in Mark’s area has increased by 25%.
“Crew motivates people to push for results, since they always know their goals and where they stand,” shared Mark. He uses the app to share Pizza Hut’s weekly ‘C.H.A.M.P.S’ customer service scores, which track each store’s cleanliness, accuracy, product quality, speed and more. By showing general managers their metrics alongside pre-determined objectives, Mark celebrates his top-performing restaurants and promotes healthy competition, which has already improved results.
Using Crew’s Gold Stars, managers show public appreciation for good work, with positive comments about things like picking up an extra shift or a great cleaning job. Mark also shares exceptional customer comments on Crew, setting a standard for other team members to aspire to.
Now that the Staab organization can immediately reach frontline employees, they’re able to keep everyone better informed. When Pizza Hut recently announced new pan pizza procedures, Mark simply shared the training video on Crew. He noted, “Now that employees can access our materials right from their phones, Crew makes it a lot easier to teach important processes without spending a ton of effort on organizing in-person trainings.”
One key performance indicator every restaurant operator tracks closely is labor costs. In order to hit margin targets, Mark’s general managers have their shift managers post screenshots of real-time stats four times each day. This keeps them focused on bringing their numbers down, and enables Mark and the store’s management to monitor progress and offer helpful feedback when needed. By leveraging Crew in this way, one store was able to reduce costs by 1%, amounting to nearly $10,000 per location per year - a significant win for the business.
An added benefit of Crew is the cohesive community it fosters between colleagues who rarely interact in person. Mark said, “Some of my locations are 100 miles apart, so I can’t be in each store every day, but with Crew I can see what everybody’s talking about whenever I want.” His general managers also enjoy closer relationships, thanks to their private Crew group, and are more likely to help each other out. Crew makes a difference at the restaurant level as well, where the frequent contact generates a positive feeling that helps reduce employee turnover and improve customer satisfaction.
“Today our team feels a lot more connected and engaged with the entire network. That’s because Crew gives everyone a place to come together in a supportive environment that empowers them to make necessary adjustments in real time.”