Running one quick-service restaurant is difficult enough. Now try hundreds.
When Checkers & Rally’s — a traditional American fast food chain that serves up burgers, fries, and shakes across the continental U.S. — was faced with the challenge of operating over 800 total locations, their management team decided it would be best to franchise out. In other words: Have experienced, value-driven entrepreneurs manage some locations and grow the brand, with the corporate side of the company managing a watchful eye to ensure all locations are performing the best service.
Yet, the main benefit of franchising — a decentralized system of ownership — doubles as its Achilles heel. If an organization suggests a change that they want to permeate through the entire company, dissenting franchisees can be a roadblock.
Faced with understaffing across all of their restaurants, Checkers & Rally’s leadership looked to provide a new hiring software option to help their franchisees keep up with employment demands. And they didn’t just bypass these roadblocks; they eliminated them altogether. How is that possible?
Well, Checkers & Rally’s took an approach to change management that a lot of companies are afraid to do — they challenged it head on. And with the help of Paradox, they simplified the process for their franchisees while simultaneously upgrading their talent acquisition.
Here’s how they did it.
How Checkers & Rally’s and Paradox fostered adoption.
It was taking Checkers & Rally’s locations nine days to interview candidates for open roles. Given the nature of quick-service restaurants and the fact that candidates apply for up to 15 jobs a week, hiring in that space needs to be quick — or else you run the risk of losing out on candidates and, ultimately, money. Checkers & Rally’s knew they needed technology that would make their hiring faster if they wanted to survive in the market.
Checkers & Rally’s tackled this challenge by implementing Mia, a conversational AI assistant that can interact with candidates 24/7. Through Mia, Checkers & Rally’s franchisees enable their managers to hire faster; she automatically captures and screens candidates, and if applicants are deemed qualified, Mia will instantly push them to schedule an interview based on location manager availability.
But speed isn’t the only asset Mia brings to the table. She’s also entirely customizable— franchisees can configure the technology’s preferences based on the needs of their location. That means complete job customization, as well as individualized job advertising and promotion.
And the software is built so that any franchise manager can use it.
“The great thing about [conversational AI] is it’s simple,” says Brad Williams, VP of franchise restaurants at Checkers & Rally’s.
One problem: Checkers and Rally’s franchises had already integrated a previous hiring tool that owner-operators were conditioned to using. Change management is a fickle beast; showcasing to hundreds of people that they can upend their hiring system — regardless of how incredible a new solution may be — was going to be difficult.
So how do you persuade hundreds of people to do something? You commit.
And Checkers & Rally’s did.
They were determined to help all of their franchisees grasp Mia’s capabilities, and got a helping hand from the Paradox solutions team to carry out their goal. Every Thursday for 12 weeks, the Paradox team hosted open Hypercare trainings, where franchisees and restaurant managers could ask questions and better understand the software being gifted to them. That way, the less tech-savvy managers would have no trouble integrating the new technology into their day-to-day routine.
This commitment, along with the intrinsic simplicity of the product, saw conversational software become a success among the Checkers & Rally’s franchise community. After three months, over 80% of all franchisees, equalling 90% of all Checkers & Rally’s locations, had adopted the software.
That’s change management done right.
Increasing candidate pool. Decreasing time to interview.
Adoption numbers are cool, but not the end-all be-all. You need results to back it up, or the business’ bottom line will suffer. Luckily, franchisees saw no shortage of those either.
“Right away, [franchises] started seeing results,” Williams said. “The first gut reaction was ‘this is different.’ ”
Since Mia’s implementation, franchisees have captured over 50,000 candidates, with 97% of them completing their initial screening conversation. And with an 87% interview acceptance rate, as well as an overall increase in candidate communication, they’ve brought their time to interview completion down from 9 to 3 days.
“We had to turn [Mia] off because we were getting so many applications,” Williams said. Software that works so well that you have to stop using it; that feels like a pipe dream, but it was reality for these franchisees.
Mia has even helped franchisees staff a particular shift that had been notoriously hard to fill: the late night. Checkers & Rally’s restaurants earn a lot of their revenue during their last hours of operation — for some franchise locations that’s as early, as 6:00 a.m. — but always struggled to find candidates willing to work when most were sleeping. Without employees, locations would have to close early. Mia’s advanced candidate capturing capabilities changed that — and now these locations are able to stay open later into the night, generating more revenue for franchise owners.
Increased amount of candidates applying? Check.
Faster process to get those candidates scheduled for an interview and onboarded? You betcha.
More revenue generated for locations? Yep, that too.
All in all, that’s a trio so good it rivals lettuce, tomato, and onion.
The power of a committed organization.
When trying to establish change in a large, decentralized organization, it’s imperative that systems are put into place to make that process as streamlined and efficient as possible. Checkers & Rally’s partnered with Paradox and did just that: with an effective implementation process (coupled with a simple software), they established a high-impact hiring technology throughout a significant majority of locations.
Every business wants software powerful enough to drive real results. But not every business is prepared to commit to the change management necessary to implement that software.
But as Checkers & Rally’s proves: when you’re willing to commit, you can see a really incredible difference.
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