Crew Stories: How a High Volume KFC Achieved its 95-second Speed of Service Goal

This month, we chatted with the manager of another high traffic quick service restaurant. KFC, the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain, is committed to the success of its employees. Each manager works at building a unique culture where everyone can be their best self, make a difference and have fun. Eddie Sanchez, the general manager of KFC’s busy Salisbury, North Carolina location, is no different.

He told us how his frontline team uses Crew to simplify communication around scheduling and increase engagement and teamwork. Here are some highlights from our discussion with Eddie:

Crew: Tell us about some of the challenges your KFC location faced prior to rolling out Crew.

Eddie: Previously, it was really difficult to communicate with my staff of 30 and keep everyone on the same page. I was spending hours each week helping team members find shift coverage and answering phone calls about the schedule around the clock on my days off or during family time.

After the schedule was posted on Monday mornings, I would typically receive a dozen calls from staff asking when they were working, often while we had a fully packed drive-thru. And whenever someone inevitably called in sick, I would drop everything to start making phone calls for covers. If one person didn’t answer, I’d have to move on to the next person, then the next person and so on.

All of this took away from my productivity and our ability to fulfill our important speed of service goal. I knew that in order to focus on serving customers and increasing restaurant performance, I needed a better way to manage the team and handle scheduling changes.

Crew: How did Crew help to simplify shift coverage and ultimately improve your speed of service?

Eddie: Posting our schedule and letting employees request shift coverage in Crew was the first step towards ensuring a fully staffed restaurant. This greatly reduced the time I, and other managers, spent answering schedule-related phone calls. With Crew, I can now get shifts covered easily, often within seconds after they are posted, and employees frequently find coverage on their own.

Crew has helped me save so much time, and with those essential hours I got back, I was able to re-focus on critical store operations—like achieving our speed of service goal and training and leading my staff on the floor. I no longer have to endure the pain of reaching out to everyone on a daily basis to accomplish simple team communication, I can just do it through Crew.

Crew: Does the platform help you foster better teamwork amongst your staff?

Eddie: To be honest, we probably didn’t communicate enough before Crew. The team barely engaged with one another, and when they did it was more on a one-off basis through text or phone calls when something went wrong. Now, I use Crew to train my team, lighten the mood, make them laugh, and most importantly to motivate and congratulate them and celebrate our success. We also recognize birthdays and wish each other Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and stuff like that.

I even use Crew to encourage friendly competition within the team by running monthly contests for the best VOC (Voice of the Customer) reviews. Anyone who gets five or more customers to mention their name in a positive review each month gets a prize, and I post all the reviews in Crew. These in-app contests jazz up our team spirit and encourage positive behavior. It’s been great to see how helping my staff communicate efficiently and get to know each other has increased their engagement and helped them feel more like a team.

Crew: What kind of measurable impact did you achieve by rolling out Crew with your team?

Eddie: By using Crew, I’m saving hours each week, keeping my restaurant fully staffed to meet customer demand, and leading a happy, engaged team that’s consistently hitting aggressive 80% VOC and 95-second speed of service goals. With Crew, I’ve been able to push my team and remind them daily—hey, we’re really close to our goal, let’s try to get there! I especially like the simplicity of the platform for communication and messaging, and how it works with KFC’s scheduling system to help me reliably distribute schedules and keep track of shift covers.