Life in fast food moves at an incredible pace.

This industry is a daily grind. Burgers, fries, and drinks need to be served to customers in service times measured in seconds.

Since its origins in the 1940s, McDonald’s has been at the forefront of the American fast food scene. Known for “billions and billions served,” McDonald’s has more than 16,000 store locations in the United States. Each one faces a daily challenge of serving breakfast (now, available all day), lunch, and dinner. In some instances, locations never close.

The demands on store staff and management are high. And, it will continue at a rapid pace as stores continue to look for competitive edges with revamped menus and new ordering and payment technologies amidst a frenetic and constantly changing digital economy.

It’s certainly a grind and one that confronts managers and owners of franchise locations on a daily basis. That’s in addition to running the internal operations: hiring, scheduling, and other operational aspects required to keep McDonald’s the most successful and valuable fast food brand in the world.

At a time when retail and food companies are looking to get their products into the hands of younger, upwardly-mobile consumers, one McDonald’s store has made a breakthrough that has solved some of their internal workforce management challenges.

Here's how Branch has helped one Michigan McDonald's bring employee self-service to the global leaders in fast food service.

Working With Employees Where They Are

For the crew of the Grand Rapids McDonald’s, Branch has been a huge asset to their team, especially \ improving the daily tasks of Julie Bostwick, Guest Services Manager. Julie is in charge of handling customer complaints, promotions for new menu items and sandwiches and basically ensuring things are setup right for customers to come back time and again.

Name: Julie Bostwick Role: Guest Services Manager
Vertical: Restaurant, Fast Food

Branch Messenger Features Used:

  • Shift Swap
  • Time-Off Requests
  • Schedule Reminders
  • Pay Calculator
  • Instant Messaging
  • Group Messaging
  • Streamlining Scheduling

At McDonald’s the crew room is the hub of employee engagement -- it’s the place where they can have breaks and meals, take place in onboarding and training, and hold team meetings. It also was the place employees would go to find their paper schedules.

Now, with Branch, employees at Julie’s McDonald’s can simply track their schedules on Branch.

“They just really like it because the schedule used to be posted just in the break room and they would write it down and lose track of it,” Julie recalls.

Now, there’s no doubt about who is working when and where. Before, employees would lose track of their schedules or forget what hours they were scheduled for. It was a frequent occurrence to track down employees and call them, taking valuable hours away from managing the store and guest relations experiences.

“Everyone likes having the schedule readily available. I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t have a cell phone. Everyone has access to it all the time,” Julie says.

Removing Distractions

Like any line of work, phone calls become a disruption to employee and management success. Time taken out of the workday to call and check on employees drains productivity, and the fast food industry is one that relies heavily on success and consumer satisfaction measured in minutes.

Branch has helped Jillian collaborate and chat with fellow managers anytime, no matter where they are, without stepping off the frontline to take calls.

“I like being able to communicate with the other managers,” Julie says. “ It’s really convenient and handy. We don't’ really phone call each other a lot. It’s kind of disruptive -- a phone call you have to put down whatever you're doing immediately. With Branch, we can communicate without that kind of pressure.”

Flippin’ Hours

Now that the scheduling system have been taken from paper to app, employees have streamlined their schedule shifting digitally on their mobile devices. And, it’s improving the store operations.

“I would say it’s been a big help as far as getting shifts covered,” Julie notes. “It’s a daily thing to see people posting things -- ‘Hey, does anyone want my hours; Can anyone cover my shift; I don’t feel good.’ It’s been a big help with that. And also, definitely, the schedule being posted on it, weekly, is a huge help. You can just open it up and make sure what time you’re in.”

A Team That’s Also a Family

For many of us, our jobs keep us closer to colleagues as much, or more so, than that of our loved ones.

For the employees at the Grand Rapids McDonald’s, they’ve become a close knit group. The app has not only helped them streamline scheduling concerns, but it’s also become a hub of collaboration and communication -- a place where they can cheer on their accomplishments, both inside and outside of work.

“People chat on Branch,” points out Julie. “Just passing along information about our personal lives. That was the first time I saw pictures of a particular employee's -- a very popular employee’s new home and their new dog and we celebrated that at work. Everyone saw that and shared it. We’re close where we work, so it was really nice.

Little things like seeing employees rally around one another can go a long way to boosting morale and keeping people productive. Those are boosts for her store, which is seeing big shifts in how their employees stay engaged at work.