Discover the latest updates and achievements from UPshow, our clients, and the world of digital signage and customer engagement.
Better communication generally translates to better sales, customer service, and overall operations. The team at Anderson Management, which operates seven Buffalo Wild Wings franchise locations throughout Montana, understands the impact that timely and easily actionable communication has on operational success.
Until Anderson Management implemented UPshow SHIFT, an employee engagement platform, daily communication was time-consuming and not efficient enough to be useful for team members. The quick-service restaurant industry's fast-paced nature means that communication platforms need to keep up with the speed of information.
Every summer, Anderson Management runs a Twisted Tea promotion, and while previous years have been successful, once Anderson Management began using UPshow SHIFT, the campaign became much more profitable. This year, Anderson Management was able to top last year's units sold after just 19 days of their 60-day Twisted Tea promotion. Sales were projected to increase by 245 percent year-over-year, but by August 2023, the promotion had skyrocketed to achieve a 261 percent increase over last year’s sales. The major change was this year they used UPshow SHIFT to power TV screens in the back of house to communicate with staff.
Prior to implementing UPshow SHIFT, Anderson Management used to gather and send out data to team members manually, which was time-consuming and oftentimes did not reach the employees. “A huge problem was the lag time between the office and getting information to the stores in a timely manner. For example, I was re-running a contest, and every Monday those reports needed to go out to the store so that they could be printed and posted somewhere. So UPshow SHIFT really took away the middleman from these communication issues,” David Moorhead, Anderson Management director of marketing and finance, says.
Even if the message was able to get to the different franchise locations in a timely manner, there was still a barrier in ensuring team members saw the message and applied it to what they were doing. “That is what we've used UPshow for. It is a sales-building tool, as well as a place to highlight a job well done for our deskless employees. We can display the top 10 servers in real time and create healthy competition. You can highlight those servers who are doing a really good job at selling a particular product and attaching Blazin’ Rewards [loyalty program] to transactions,” Moorhead says.
According to Moorhead, UPshow’s ease of use allowed employees to have an incentive in mind that made participating in promotions and rewards programs easier. All of this contributed to a bump in sales. Employees knew how other stores were performing with rewards programs and promotions, and realized there could be healthy competition as day-to-day performance was highlighted across the company.
“UPshow SHIFT is great because it is an employee retention and sales-building platform. It makes employee communication a lot easier too. With UPshow SHIFT, you can put out a bulletin in two minutes to every store in the state instead of sending out an email. It is such a time saver,” Moorhead says.
Kevin Newell, CEO and owner of Supreme Foods, has had his share of experience with imperfect communicative channels. Once, while promoting an LTO product Newell visited a couple of his stores. He talked with the district managers and general managers and thought that everybody was ready for the product to come out. But then, a couple of days before its launch, he mentioned the product to a crew member and it turned out that they didn’t know much about it.
This was one of the moments that helped Newell realize that information wasn’t cascading to all levels of his company’s footprint, which totals nearly 2,000 employees. Newell decided to install UPshow SHIFT in his stores, a portfolio which includes 36 Burger Kings, 34 Popeyes, and 3 Taco Johns.
“We tried it out in a few Burger King stores and we noticed that engagement from our team members, and just general communication with them, was much better,” says Newell. “And we noticed that our operational metrics from speed of service to guest complaints—everything improved!” Based on such successes, Newell then expanded UPshow SHIFT in all of his Burger King stores, and now is repeating the same process with Popeyes.
UPshow SHIFT is a digital employee engagement platform tailored to improve internal communications and reduce turnover. It has a simple modus operandi: an UPshow device is plugged into a TV in the back-of-house. Using this TV and device, Newell and his team can broadcast different types of messages to employees, like company benefits, instructions for how to make new menu items, speed-of-service metrics, and more. Moreover, any new content can be easily uploaded and displayed across all of their franchise stores.
“Employees now have a better understanding of the different benefits that our company offers them,” says Newell. For example, Supreme Foods provides its employees the option of early pay based on the hours they have already worked through an app, with no cost to the employee. However, there wasn’t much utilization of this benefit system in the past. So Newell and his team decided to display this information on the TV powered by UPshow SHIFT. “And next thing you know, a lot of people started using it.” Newell accords a higher retention rate across his businesses because of this intervention.
UPshow SHIFT can also create excitement, increased competitiveness, and connectedness among employees. “We do speed-of-service competitions amongst different stores in similar areas or categories,” says Newell. Since UPshow shows real time data, employees in different stores rally together. “They will say, ‘Hey! Today we’re gonna win the award.’ All of this creates a little excitement, a little competition going on.” Ensuring camaraderie and competition through UPshow SHIFT has facilitated in upholding one of Supreme Food’s core company values—love and respect for their team members.
“For me, it's just that the employees truly feel more connected with the company, they have a chance to communicate with us using UPshow SHIFT too,” says Newell. Employees can use a QR code displayed in the TV to upload their messages to the management team. All of these benefits have vastly improved their operations. “We saw the improvement on those four or five key factors, whether it's retention, whether it's use of benefits, whether it is operational metrics, improved understanding, or different products coming out for us.”
Read the article in QSR Magazine.
By Dikshant Uprety
Bennett Management Corp. is a franchisee group based in Toledo, Ohio, that owns 25 Burger King locations as well as five Tony Packo’s stores. Founded by Bob Bennett in 1965, the company has always strongly believed investing in the education and well-being of its employees would translate to running better restaurants.
“We care about our people,” says Jimmy Harmon, who was named the company’s CEO in 2013. “That’s the number one most important thing to our business. When Bob Bennett started this in the 1960s, he said it was about people pleasing people. We’ve kept that up. We’re very people oriented.”
For as long as Harmon has been with the company, one of the major challenges has been communicating with team members across each store location. Whether that means distributing new recipes, training materials, or a change in company policy, ensuring every team member got the message required a lot of hustling around on his part.
“I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent driving around from store to store playing the messenger,” Harmon says. “Even when you do that, sometimes it feels like 50 percent of the people in your stores know what’s going on. That’s sad to me—so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I can become better as a leader and get those messages out.”
For these reasons, when Harmon and his team first learned about a software solution called UPshow SHIFT, they saw it as something worth trying. After a successful pilot, the company rolled it out across all 25 of its Burger King’s locations, as well as its five Tony Packo’s stores.
Here’s how UPshow works: a screen is placed in the back-of-house and operates as a digital whiteboard visible to all team members. Harmon and his team can remotely communicate to each screen in real time. UPshow has an automated functionality that displays employee birthdays and anniversaries. Team members can also scan a QR code and add an employee bio, recognize a standout job by their teammates, or give other types of feedback.
The boards automatically update based on SHIFT Data, a data-powered solution, leveraging sales, training, and operational data to provide performance updates in real-time in a dynamic, and easily digestible visualizations.
Bennett Management Corp. now uses both SHIFT features for a variety of different purposes. For example, in the ongoing quest to educate and take care of employees, Bennett recently launched a Healthy Recipe contest, where team members can use a QR code to upload a favorite healthy recipe that is then featured on each screen. Each submission enters team members into a raffle for a prize, such as an activity tracker watch.
SHIFT is also used for fun and effective upselling competitions between stores, tracked in real time and displayed on screen. A recent example that showed Harmon just how effective SHIFT can be was something of a family affair—Harmon’s teenage daughter works in one of the company’s Burger Kings. One day, Harmon picked her up from work and asked how many Hershey’s Pies she had sold during her shift—the company was running a contest to see which store could upsell the most that day.
“She didn’t even hesitate,” Harmon says. “She looked at me and she said: ‘14.’ So here’s a tool we put in the restaurant that’s made everyone really care passionately about competing with others and trying their hardest to sell more, and enjoy it while they’re doing it. It’s been a really powerful thing in that way.”
Recently, the President of Burger King, Tom Curtis, and Jose Cil, the CEO of Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, paid a visit to see Bennett’s 25 stores. It was a big deal, Harmon says, and one that felt worth relaying to everyone on the ground. Not only was SHIFT Comms a great way to give employees a head’s up to expect visitors, but it also was a fun way to relay updates about the visit—photos of Curtis and Cil interacting with team members began to populate the display boards.
“As long as I’ve been doing this, communication has been a real challenge,” Harmon says. “How do you get the messages from me, the CEO of our franchisee group, out to every single team member? This has been such a great, positive way to communicate with everyone.”
Read the article on QSR Magazine
Brothers Jason and Scott Zieman own and operate nine Jersey Mike’s locations, as well as five Little Caesars stores, in the Akron, Ohio area. The owner-operators have always been proud of the work culture they’ve built inside their businesses, dating back to the days when they were in the Arby’s system.
“We’ve been doing this for 30 years when you take into consideration our 15 years with Arby’s,” Jason Zieman says. “Until recently, we had never had a problem with staffing. Maybe we’d have an isolated issue here or there, but by and large we did really well taking care of our employees, and they’d stay with us for a long time.”
When COVID hit, that began to change. Experiencing what so many operators across the industry have dealt with, Zieman says the staffing issues began to get so dire that it started keeping him up at night. “That’s been our biggest concern lately,” Zieman says. “And maybe that's why we have always done well historically. Because our team members, and our culture, are important enough to us that we think about it a lot.”
Amidst increasing turnover, the Ziemans starting looking for ways to make their culture whole again. At the annual Jersey Mike’s franchisee conference in March 2022, they were introduced to a solution that would soon change their workplace for the better: UPshow SHIFT, an employee engagement platform that highlights things like employee bios, birthdays, and work anniversaries on back-of-house flatscreen TVs. Employees can simply opt in and upload their info via their smartphone to participate.
“I feel really confident our work environment improves for our team members when they feel as though they're being highlighted and appreciated and communicated with,” Zieman says. “You can hear it as you walk through one of our stores. There’s somebody being wished a ‘Happy Birthday,’ or somebody saying, ‘I didn’t know that about you.’”
The solution appealed to the Ziemans because of its simplicity. Jason Zieman says he is the furthest thing from somebody who believes franchisees need every piece of technology in order to create a dynamic workplace. In fact, he and his brother are often quite skeptical of anything being hailed as the “next big thing.”
“I don’t have social media,” Zieman says. “Maybe I date myself by saying that, but I’m just not a tech-y person. I’m a chalkboard kind-of-guy. But, obviously, technology appeals to the current generation of people who work in our restaurants. I love UPshow because it’s a digital whiteboard. It helps us communicate with employees while they work. No phones, laptops, or managers necessary.”
The platform has other useful capabilities, too. With the click of a button, Zieman can post store-by-store rankings, sorted by any metric he’d like to highlight: throughput, revenue—UPshow can do all of that and more. Sharing these leaderboards with team members created a sense of store pride, he says, to the point where cashiers are now upselling larger sandwiches, meal combos, and cookies and drinks, in the name of friendly competition. In that way, UPshow has helped bring the company’s suggestive selling objectives to life.
The Ziemans also use the TV screens to showcase training-style messaging, like which ingredients go into an LTO, or cleaning protocols that should be carefully followed. Daily checklists can be shown as a reminder, always in view of employees walking past.
Still, when it comes to building culture, Zieman believes it’s the highlighting of birthdays and work anniversaries that have been the most effective part of implementing UPshow at his stores. It’s given his 14 storefronts an ROI that is only intangible insofar as its usefulness exceeds any dollar amount that could be attributed to it—the returning sense of camaraderie is worth every penny.
“How UPshow affects our stores is something I’m not even going to try to measure, because I don’t think you truly can,” Zieman says. “The affordability of it is incredible, and the sky is the limit for the effect it’s having on our culture.”
Lindsay Luke is the human resources manager and training coordinator for Womac Group, a franchisee that owns four Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Michigan. Recently, she found a binder at one of the company’s storefronts that contained pivotal information regarding best practices. One problem: the information was from 2019.
“Nothing in here is up to date,” Luke says, holding up the binder. “If we’re not looking at it on a day-to-day basis, things get missed. Additionally, the information loses relevance over time. It’s why we’ve been switching to digital platforms.”
Luke and her team recently added UPshow SHIFT, a digital solution that’s helping Womac Group communicate pivotal information to its employees in a seamless, real-time fashion. Here’s how it works: an UPshow TV is installed in the back-of-house. All different types of messaging—from training materials, to new menu items, to sales goals—can be displayed on the screen. Luke and her team can quickly add content with the click of a button and have it display at all four of their stores.
“We use UPshow SHIFT for just about everything,” Luke says. “For example, when Boneless Bar Pizzas came out, our corporate team built these amazing videos showing how to build them. UPshow SHIFT allows us to maximize the visibility of training content that usually only lives in our LMS. We display training assets at specified times throughout the day which is really beneficial for teaching our kitchen staff how to make those items during their shift.
The new solution stands in sharp contrast to distributing training materials printed on paper, or notifying employees about changes to corporate policies, for example, on a notice tacked up to a bulletin board. Everybody with Womac Group—from Luke and her team at the main office, to store managers, to hourly team members—has benefited from the transition to UPshow.
Storefront managers like Derek Kolasinski enjoy easily highlighting metrics—like store-versus-store, real-time suggestive selling initiatives and contests—as UPshow is integrated with their Aloha POS system. Stores can also run training videos, like the ones Luke referenced, when team members need an introduction or refresher on how certain food or drink items are made. “UPshow SHIFT has changed our store by helping us create a stronger learning environment,” Kolasinski says.
Kolasinksi also loves the way UPshow helps spotlight employees and highlight milestones like work anniversaries or birthdays. Employees play an active role in this process—they can scan a QR code with their phone and upload their bio, including any information coworkers might enjoy knowing about them.
“Seeing things like your birthday on TV is a cool experience for everyone,” says store manager Derek Kolasinski. “I think updates like that help get everyone engaged, and it helps build a strong team culture.”
Soon, Womac Group will open three more Buffalo Wild Wings locations. Luke says UPshow will continue to be the franchisee group’s preferred communication channel of choice as they expand to different parts of the state.
“We are a company that is always looking for ways to grow, innovate, and evolve,” Luke says. “We learn and grow. Things that used to work may not currently work—our company is truly great at saying, ‘hey, let’s revisit this and evaluate and go from there.’ Things change so fast these days and we have to make sure the way we are communicating with our employees feels relevant to them.”
Read the article in QSR Magazine