Success Beyond COVID-19: Tips and Tactics to Help QSR and Lodging Franchises Thrive

Webinar Series

Success Beyond COVID-19: Tips and Tactics to Help QSR and Lodging Franchises Thrive

Webinar Series

Success Beyond COVID-19: Tips and Tactics to Help QSR and Lodging Franchises Thrive

In this webinar you will learn about…

  • Gather innovative ideas and creative strategies to implement to help keep your business afloat
  • Learn how to reframe your business plan for the “new normal” by leveraging information from other local businesses and organizations
  • Find ways to plan for your business recovery efforts post-COVID and ensure that your staff is ready to move forward

The COVID-19 crisis introduced an unforeseen challenge. It shattered the work world as we know it. Now, thanks to government support and the American population, we have come together to commit to creating a future of success and survival. With businesses closed and massive layoffs across the country, finding a way to survive financially during these trying times is absolutely paramount to longevity and success. 

Lead by industry experts, this webinar will be filled with “survival tips” to help you and your business navigate these unprecedented times. You’ll hear advice and tips from peers in the QSR and lodging industries regarding strategies they’ve implemented and plans they have for the future. You’ll also learn more about the impact of CARES Act, what it means for franchise owners and how to make the most of it for your business recovery plan.

View On-Demand

Guest Speakers

Jeanniey Walden

Chief Innovation & Marketing Officer

DailyPay

Barb Powell

Vice President of Operational Support

Millennial Restaurant Group

John Theisen

Co-Owner

Brew City Pizza

Webinar Transcript

Duration: 60 minutes

Natalie:

All right. Again, good morning or good afternoon, depending on where you are. I’m Natalie from DailyPay’s event team, and I’d like to welcome you to today’s webinar on Success Beyond COVID 19: Tips and Tactics to Help QSR and Lodging Franchises Thrive. Before we get started, I’d like to go over a few items so you know how to participate in today’s event. You will have the opportunity to submit text questions to today’s presenters by typing your questions into the questions pane of the control panel. You may send in your questions at any time during the presentation, we’ll collect them and address them during the Q&A session at the end of today’s presentation.

Natalie:

And now, I would like to introduce Jeanniey Walden, DailyPay’s Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, Barb Powell, VP of Operational Support at Millennial Restaurant Group, which franchises Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, and John Theisen, Co-owner at Brew City, Pizza, which franchises Domino’s pizza locations. All right, Jeanniey, take it away.

Jeanniey Walden (JW):

Thanks so much, and thank you Barb and John for joining us today on this conversation. I was saying earlier before all of the attendees joined that this is probably one of the first webinars that I’ve led where we’ve received so many questions before the webinar even started. So I really appreciate both of you as experts sharing your time with us today and also your expertise and insights with all of the attendees on the webinar today. We’ve got a lot of information to cover, not only for restaurants, but also for hotels as well, specifically focusing in the franchise business. If both of you would just like to spend a moment sharing your background, Barb, you can go first, that would be helpful as we get started.

Barb Powell (BP):

Okay. Well, thank you and thanks for the opportunity to participate today. My background is all in restaurants, most specifically the quick service. I’ve spent time working for franchisors, I’ve been involved with franchisees, which I am today, I’ve worked for large companies, KFC and Yum!, smaller companies, a west coast based sandwich chain for years. So restaurants and the quick service is really all I know. I started out of college as a restaurant manager, worked my way up through supervisor positions, then involved in HR, all sorts of different things. So I definitely have a restaurant background.

JW:

That’s fantastic, and really excited to have such a wide breadth of expertise. I love that you worked your way up from the beginning. John, how about your background?

John Theisen (JT):

Thanks for the invitation. I’ve worked for or in Domino’s stores pretty much for my entire adult life, started in 1984, opened my first franchise store in 1989. Today, me and a partner own 35 Domino’s stores. So pretty much my experience was exclusively in carry out and delivery of pizzas, but have held every position in our company that gives me a pretty solid background of what we do and how to do it.

JW:

That’s great. That’s great. I have a younger daughter who’s a senior at a military boarding school, she’s home now. But when she left for school, her biggest request for holidays was an Amazon gift card or an iTunes gift card, and once she was at school for about three months, her number one request was a Domino’s gift card. So I can tell you that we might have another Domino’s expert in the house, just from the consumption side of the world. But really, I think it’s great that you both have such a fantastic background and probably have lived through some really interesting business challenges from a professional perspective, but probably none like what we’re experiencing today.

So I’d love to talk about what we’re going to accomplish with both of you today over the next 60 minutes. The first thing that I thought of is in discussing this… It’s time to do a little bit of a reality check, because these are unprecedented times for all of us, regardless of what industry we’re in or what role we have as an employee within our organizations. Because nobody’s gone through a pandemic like this before on a worldwide basis, and you’re really going to be sharing our insights from the three of us with all of you attending the webinar about what is the best path forward, a little bit like weathermen. None of us know what’s actually going to happen, we’re just using our best guesses and our insights to share that with you.

We’re also going to share with you four takeaways, at least four top areas of focus that you should consider regardless of what industry you’re in that can help your business, not only survive but thrive as we move forward and go through different phases of reopening. The third item that we want to accomplish is really looking at, is there anything after this call that you must do? The one takeaway that I would like to emphasize is we believe the must-do is you need to reframe your business plan, regardless of what it is, regardless of what it’s looked like in the past, to become adjusted for the new normal. The only way to do that is by leveraging information from other businesses and organizations.

I share with my marketing and innovation team at DailyPay the importance of joining different community calls, industry calls, even if they’re not focused on your industry or in your specific community, just to see how the pandemic has affected everybody, what people are thinking. I was shocked and surprised when I joined a marketing call last week to find out how many large scale events, even scheduled towards the end of this year, are looking to move virtual, and some of them have already decided, like Dreamforce, that they will be virtual. That’s a huge change.

While DailyPay is not a marketing business, when an organization like Salesforce decides to make a Dreamforce conference virtual, it has ripple effects through all of our industries and really is a sign of the times for what we should be thinking of. So my suggestion for all of you on this webinar is to focus on thinking about everything you’re going to hear today from Barb and John and a little bit from me and take that back and reflect on how that could apply to your industry, to your business, and certainly to your employees.

Finally, the fourth thing we’re going to cover is, what are the next steps? How do you look at new ways to plan for your business recovery efforts and really ensure that your staff is ready to move forward? I think we’ve all seen in the news a lot of conversation and commentary about employees wanting to have hazard pay, they want to have more bonus pay, people in manufacturing plants being challenged, other organizations where there haven’t been as many challenges. There’s just really a lot of opportunity where as a business leader, we are often looking at, what do I need to do for the good of my business, for the good of my clients, but also that third element, which is so critical, which is the good of your employees, to make sure that they’re both physically and financially healthy and able to be productive.

So if we go to the next slide, what I wanted to share is some insights and information that we’ve identified through our research at DailyPay. So when the pandemic started to pick up early March, we created a Daily Workforce Index, and we started to track the hiring patterns of different industries: Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), the hospitality industry, supermarkets and grocery chains, call centers, and really identify and help to share insights just about who’s hiring, who’s not hiring, who is staffing up, but just can’t find enough people?

In addition to that, we also started looking at, for those employees who were using DailyPay to access their earned pay before their company scheduled a payday, what were they using it for? This is something that has been user provided, voluntary information since the DailyPay service has gone live. We’ve been following up all along, but it’s traditionally fallen into people using the money for covering their home mortgage bill or their rent, looking at covering transportation costs, looking at covering miscellaneous costs for a variety of things ranging from, “I want to improve my credit score and pay a bill off early,” to, “My child unexpectedly got sick,” or, “I was in a car accident and I need to fix the fender bender,” all across the board.

When all of the media hype started to come up about the mandate to be quarantined, to social distance, to start working from home, we started to see a significant shift in that mid March time period, where we saw about a 400% increase in DailyPay transfers being taken out before pay day, specifically tagged as being taken out to prepare for the pandemic. I think this was at a time when all the media wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen, how long we were going to being a quarantined status, how aggressively the pandemic was going to affect everybody in the United States.

But the reasons that we started to see were, I need to get gas so that I can pick my child up from college, I need to stock up on medical supplies, I need to stock up on water. It was almost like we started to see the stockpiling from 1999 going into Y2K happening again a little bit, because nobody was really sure what was happening. But we also started to receive a lot of thank you’s of saying, “Thank you for allowing me to get hand sanitizers and to get masked so that I can be prepared to still go to work because I am on one of those frontline jobs, I’m one of those essential employees.”

So we found that really interesting. As we started to continue to follow what was happening with the trends around employees using money for COVID, if you could go back to that last slide, we started to see a shift happen in March, late March into early April, where the concern and the frantic pace started to decrease, but there was a significant increase in the usage of DailyPay for groceries, which makes sense, as all of us were home, kids were staying home from school, people were coming home early from college, people were not going into the office. A lot of people were grouping together with other family members, so we were seeing an extended family quarantine. So of course, you’re going to eat more food and drink a little more, so you need to have food and beverages in your house.

So we started to see an increase of usage for groceries, but shockingly, we also saw something that we had not seen before, which was an increase in usage for cell phone data plans. I think that’s when we started to realize that people were really quarantining and they might be on a data plan for their cell phone that only has a certain limited amount of data, which in a normal world would be fine for them, but when they’re sitting home streaming all day and all night to pass the time, that they’re running out of data plans. So we thought that was interesting.

We saw another shift around early April through the end of April, which was a very positive for us at DailyPay. We started to see a decline in the COVID related usage. We saw less people taking out money because they had COVID-19, because they were trying to treat it for a family member, because they needed to buy groceries because their family was in quarantine or self-quarantine and couldn’t come out. We started to see a slow increase for usage in living expenses.

A lot of what we have seen in the past, people trying to make it from one set of weeks through another one and unexpected bill comes up. But in this case, we started to see specifically living expenses from people who hadn’t used DailyPay in the past or hadn’t needed to use it for those reasons before. Very recently, from the end of April, and we’re still seeing it today, we’ve noticed a 30% increase in usage for rent payments and for covering expenses for financial COVID impact within the household. This is critical, I think, for everyone on the call, because especially if you’re managing a group of employees, you often think about, how can I safeguard my employees? Am I paying them enough? Is there a bonus pay? Am I extending their sick leave? We’ll hear a lot about that from a number of organizations and what they’re doing in a few minutes.

But we also need to realize that there are others in the household that are being affected by COVID. So there might be a spouse, a significant other, a partner who is having a sort of impact. They’ve lost their job, they’ve switched jobs and they’re in that odd three week cycle from their last paycheck at the prior employer to their first paycheck at the new employer, moving all the way through to both people have been impacted in some way, even if it was a short term furlough.

So what we’re starting to see and what we started to hear is a significant increase of people saying, “I’ve never needed DailyPay before, but now that XYZ is out of work, I need to use it. Thank goodness I have it, so we can make our expenses while I wait for unemployment to kick in for my significant other, or while my significant other is getting back to work at another company.” So I think there’s some really interesting insights that we’re seeing in this first part of May, where companies are not only having an impact on the direct employee but their families as well, which is very interesting.

So that’s a little about what we’ve been seeing from the employees side and how COVID’s been impacting employees directly. If you go to the next slide, we’ve also been tracking how employees are choosing to make decisions in the COVID-19 kind of new world of work. In a recent survey that we conducted with a number of DailyPay users, we received some really interesting feedback. The first stat is that 63.8% of employees have used DailyPay for a COVID related expense. As I said, it might be preparing for it, it might be helping to get people through it, it might be in this post-COVID world to manage expenses. But the reality is what COVID-19 has done to all of us, it’s really done to all of us, every working American, because it’s had an impact in many and interesting and insignificant ways.

The second interesting stat we found was that 90% of people who have had access to DailyPay during COVID-19 said it helped to reduce their financial stress. We love that. Obviously, at DailyPay, we love helping people feel a little more financially safe and working with so many great employers to enable their employees to have access to this. Sometimes it’s not about taking the money out early before payday. As much as it is, it’s knowing that you can if you need to. 60% said they’ve been using DailyPay to monitor their earnings more frequently, and this is something common that we see with DailyPay all the time.

DailyPay users have typically demonstrated a 300% increase in productivity, or they’re three times more productive than non DailyPay users, simply because if you use DailyPay, you can log in and you can see how much money you’ve earned for this pay period, and you can decide, is this enough to cover my bills? Should I pick up another shift? Is it safe to take off Friday? Oh, there’s an unexpected expense coming up, one of my children didn’t tell me it was school photos or something else, as kids very rarely mention those items in the backpack. But then they can decide what they need to do with their hours to make their ends meet.

And then the last statistic is that 39% of respondents say that they’ve been using DailyPay to save their earnings more frequently. This might be surprising to many of you on the call, but this really makes us smile. Inside the DailyPay app, of course, you can access your money before payday. But more importantly, you can also earmark savings automatically as you earn it, so it kind of hides your money from you until payday so you don’t spend it, or you can go in and do spot deposits.

I think one of the realities that all of us have seen and come to terms with during the pandemic is that regardless of whether you’re a franchise worker in a hospitality industry or in a restaurant industry, nobody seems to have saved enough money to make it through unlimited quarantine. So being able to continue to save so that we have money for the future is fantastic. So we’re really seeing both ends of the spectrum here, people needing their money to make ends meet for families who have been affected financially by COVID-19, and people who have not been negatively affected but are still using DailyPay to save.

So that’s just some interesting data from what we are seeing in general across all of our employees across all different industries. I’ll pause there and see, Barb, John, do you have any reactions to this data? Is this kind of common sense to you? Did any of it surprise you at all?

BP:

Hi, this is Barb, and I can speak to this. I know that the results that we’ve seen is we get weekly reports from DailyPay about usage and the COVID-19, when the pandemic really started, we saw definitely a lot of the same patterns. I also tell you that our employees that we have been able to keep really do enjoy the feature where they can track the hours that they’ve worked and therefore what their monetary earnings are as well, and that’s one of the survey questions actually that was asked is, that they truly appreciate the fact that they can monitor that, and because of that, it’s causing them, when they can, and as we have hours, to try to pick up more shifts. So I definitely think our results speak to exactly what you’ve reviewed.

JT:

In our case, we had good participation before. We started about in January, so it was before the virus started. But our people definitely appreciated what we had done. Until then, based on their usage and their comments… We didn’t really do any kind of survey, but just in casual conversation with people either using it or not using it, the ones that were using it really liked it. Based on their activity, they definitely liked it. The people who weren’t yet using it just didn’t really have an opportunity to sign up, didn’t have a need to, but we’re definitely appreciative of the ability to do it if they needed to.

That’s great. That’s great. It’s really fascinating. Before I started working at DailyPay, I didn’t follow the economic trends as much as I do now, but it comes in so handy, and it’s great to hear both of your perspectives on this. I think if we go to the next slide, what we really wanted to share with all of you who are attending this webinar today is we’ve pulled together some top tricks and tips that leading fast food restaurants and hotels are using during the pandemic, and we’ve just shown a couple logos of companies that DailyPay is currently working with. We’re excited to work with the biggest seven out of 10 of the top leading fast food companies, and we’ve got a growing list of hotels who have certainly been hit the hardest.

JW:

As we go through the rest of the presentation, we’re going to be talking about what specific companies are doing, many of them our clients. Barb and John, I’ll be asking for your insights and see how similar or different this is to what the two of you are doing at your organizations. But I think the one thing to keep in mind for all of us as we go through this is, there is no silver bullet. I think I might be stealing that from Josh Berson, I heard him say that. I think that’s a great statement. But there is no one right way or wrong way to manage through this. I think it’s all very different based on the company that you’re associated with, the company that you’re representing, as well as the location of your businesses throughout the United States, especially as markets are opening up at different times, and certainly the cultural impact of your organization and the safety of your employees.

So on the next slide, we talk about the four areas that we’re going to follow and some of the best practices that we’ve pulled together. So the first one is local needs awareness. As I said, what works for somebody in Atlanta, Georgia might not be the same strategy or tactic that works for somebody in New York city, especially since there’s a very different focus on who’s open and where and what the rules are in the different areas. So there definitely needs to be a very acute focus on what the local needs for your organization are. For everyone that’s listening, please take what we were saying back and apply it locally to what’s happening in your business.

Market responsiveness, including partnerships is the second best practice. I’m so excited, because so many of our DailyPay clients have created partnerships, either with other DailyPay clients or other companies out there to help them creatively and innovatively get through the pandemic and still enable their companies to support the needs of their consumer.

So the second best practice that we’re going to talk about is that market responsiveness and how to create those partnerships that make things happen.

The third is being committed to employees. I don’t think there’s really any company out there that hasn’t made a very vocal, outward facing statement on how they are taking care of their employees, but it is very different. Some companies are in a position where they can give back to their employees at much higher levels, larger levels than other organizations, some companies have more funds or have been able to get more support from the government than others. But some companies are also, not just focused on their employees, but the community as well, which is great. We’ll talk about that a little bit.

And then last but not least, communication, communication, communication. I think this one does apply to all of us no matter what business we’re in. The more that you can over communicate with your clientele, with your potential future clientele, with your existing employees and with your community, then the better it will be for your organization. Because you might have the best intentions, but if your prospective clients don’t know about that, you never know what could go wrong. I live in the Jersey shore, in the top of it, and there was a [inaudible 00:23:53] Burritos outside, right on the top of our little boardwalk town section that unfortunately had to shutter their doors because of the challenge of financially challenging impacts of COVID-19.

It was really sad speaking to the owner of that store. He just had the best intentions and had the best plans in the world, but couldn’t communicate them effectively enough to get the community to rally around driving the business to his store to give him the ability to get through this crisis. So it is affecting us all, but the more communication you can do, the better. So if we go to the next slide, I’m going to start sharing some examples and then also asking Barbara and John for their impact. The first area, again, is local needs awareness. On this slide, you’re seeing the logos for Lizard’s Thicket and Bite Squad.

When DailyPay found out that Lizard’s Thicket they get had partnered with Bite Squad, who’s also a DailyPay client, to enhance the delivery experience for customers and continue to drive revenue when the in-store dining service stopped, we couldn’t be happier. We started to take a look at how else Bite Squad was responding to this, how they were able to jump in and help the community. Similarly, with Mt. Olympus, the water and theme park resort, their local needs awareness didn’t necessarily involve a partnership, but it was everything that I just talked about with being aware of what the local needs of the community were, and they plan to stay open for the enjoyment and still today, their message is, “Hey, we’re staying open, but we’ve added significant sanitary efforts,” knowing that they’re not going to get many people to come.

But I think throughout this presentation, you’ll see some of the hospitality chains that are staying open for travelers where it’s a necessity, for families where it’s a critical necessity to have somewhere to stay, and also for first responders and home health care workers. So I think that’s fantastic. Barb, I would start with you and say, how are you approaching what’s happening from a local needs awareness standpoint? What media are you following? What’s influencing your decisions on what you’re deciding to do with your business?

BP:

So Blaze is a newer concept, and it was really founded on social media as opposed to more traditional means of buying TV commercials and those types of things. So from the inception five, six years ago, that’s how we grew the brand. We did things like we had… when we opened a new location, we’d have free pizza day, and we would use social media, Facebook, those types of things to encourage people, and word spread quickly. So I would tell you that we’ve really stuck to the grassroots side of things during this situation.

In a lot of cases, our restaurants are located in… We’re a franchisee, we do business in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida, and we have over 20 restaurants. Most of our restaurants are located in centers where we found that most of the center was closed except for places to get food. So we got very aggressive locally doing what we could do, put up banners, flyers, those types of things to draw attention to the fact that we were, in fact open, even though our dining rooms couldn’t be, and we could take care of the guests’ orders, whether they’ve wanted to call us or they wanted to place it online, we have an app, or doing curbside. They could literally pull up, we would take their order, make it for them and bring it back out.

So our approach has really been at the very local level in each of the cities in which we do business, trying to let everybody know that we’re open. Our Blaze corporate has done a fantastic job of our app users, the people whose emails we’ve captured. They send out daily emails, whether it’s an offer or just a reminder that we’re still open. So I think we’ve taken a very kind of local, grassroots approach to that.

JW:

Yeah. I love that. I love that Blaze is built for social media from the beginning. So I think you have a little bit of an advantage. John, how about you? Sorry, I think I stopped you from answering.

JT:

That’s okay. In our case, Domino’s takes a really good leadership position. Many of you have probably seen the 10 million slices giving away advertising. We’ve done a great job at that. So in our case, a lot of people have come to us, so we haven’t really had to put a lot of effort into finding people, but we empowered all of our people that work in our stores to come up with ideas of people that might need help. So all of our vendors, we would contact them, do you know a church organization that’s providing food? Maybe we can feed their volunteers. We’ve given food to homeless shelters. A lot of our day to day team members have come up with really good ideas for people that might need help, so it’s actually been kind of a twofold thing, we’ve found people that need help, and we’ve found people in our stores that have been able to find people that need help. So it makes them feel pretty good about their job. We’ve used that as a way of why we haven’t addressed any hazard pay type issues, which we’re not doing, but we are able to do a lot of other things that are able to help a lot of people. So that’s how we’ve approached that.

JW:

Absolutely. Yeah. Like DailyPay. I think it’s great, because I feel like both of you have shared insights that… Out of this, you’ve almost created or identified new ways to approach your vendors, new ways to approach the community, and probably some of those things you’ll still continue to integrate into your business moving forward even once the pandemic is just in the history books. Do you both feel that this is helping you to be more innovative for future business ideas and opportunities?

BP:

Yeah, I would say for sure. Again, with Blaze, we were founded on the guest experience, guests coming in, making their own pizza, going through that experience. So in our case, while we had started delivery through third parties towards the end of last year and we implemented some larger pizzas and so forth at Travel Better, our base business really was people coming in. So as we saw in Kentucky first, followed by Tennessee and then Florida, that our dining rooms were not able to accommodate people coming in, we’ve really had to get creative about how we can let people know that what they used to come and eat and experience, that we can still provide that great product to them, just in a way that meets the pandemic criteria.

Along those lines, one of the things that we’ve recently rolled out are some-do-it-yourself kits. So not only do we have all of our menu items, our 11 inch thin pizza or the bigger 14 inch thicker pizza for guests to use, but we’ve also created an avenue for them to come in and pick up different bundles to make their pizza at their home with their family, who they’re working with and schooling with and so forth, and encouraging folks to post that information, again, via our social media sites to really build that family atmosphere. So we definitely are being pushed, which is great, to think about new ways to brand who we are and who we’re going to be in the future.

JT:

In our case, I think it just reaffirms us that all the time and money that we’ve spent on training in the past has really paid off. Our business is changing almost every day. In the beginning, we didn’t use hand sanitizers, so that was tough to source, but we got that, we got all of our people trained. Hand sanitizer isn’t a replacement for washing your hands. We traditionally didn’t use gloves, okay, so now we’re using gloves, but that’s not a replacement for washing your hands. Masks came in, now we’re using masks, pretty much a hundred percent, that’s a change.

So in our case, I think our takeaway is that A, the amount of time and money that we spend on training is certainly worth it, and B, that we have the ability to change a lot in a short period of time, and that going forward, that process, hopefully, will be much easier when we don’t have to implement three or four different things that are new every other week, and that that’ll calm down and our people will definitely be a little less anxious about changes going forward.

JW:

For sure. For sure. In fact, John, that was one of the questions that was submitted, which was, for stores that are still open and delivering, are your team members wearing masks in the store even if they are not coming in contact with the public?

JT:

In our case, yes. Every team member, every driver, every person working inside of our store currently is wearing a mask. We started out with disposable ones, and now we have reusable ones.

BP:

I would say the same thing, that we have a combination of both the disposable and that the reusable, but we definitely… Especially as we’ve seen in Tennessee and soon to be, Florida, some of our dining rooms are opening back up at somewhat limited capacity. But our workers are definitely wearing them even when the dining rooms are not able to be open yet.

JW:

Got it. Great. That’s fantastic. So I think that’s a good summary of local needs awareness. If we go to the next slide, let’s talk a little bit about market responsiveness. I mentioned earlier that some of the hospitality brands that we work with like Oglebay are offering free rooms to frontline medical professionals, which I think, again, is fantastic. They published a quote on their website that said, “Words cannot express how truly grateful we are to the medical professionals who are fighting on the front lines to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said David Lindelow, the president and CEO, “Our hearts go out to all that are impacted.”

Anyone in [inaudible 00:35:29], Benwood, Glendale, Moundsville, New Martinsville and [inaudible 00:35:33] communities will receive free accommodations where they can recharge without the concern of transferring the virus to loved ones at home, especially the elderly. So we are seeing a lot of really interesting efforts as far as market responsiveness goes from the hospitality side, even though their hotel chains and their locations have been significantly negatively impacted. But on the retail side, and even looking at the QSR side, we’re seeing a different type of market responsiveness. I think everyone’s aware that Kroger has been all over the news. They’ve already hired 23,500 employees nationwide and were looking for 20,000 more in the coming weeks. They’ve done a number of different initiatives to become more responsive to the market, including shortening the time between application and employment and onboarding to an average of 72 hours.

They’ve also formed partnerships with local, regional and national businesses, including Frisch’s, which is another DailyPay partner, Marriott, McLane Food Service, Shamrock, Sodexo, Cisco just to look at taking people who have been furloughed or are in vulnerable positions, even if it’s just temporarily, to give them the opportunity to have gainful employment. So there’s a lot of good that’s happening out of this. A lot of companies are coming together in ways that they didn’t think they necessarily would or in ways where it’s not about a profitable conversation or a profitable partnership as much as it is doing what’s right for the community and for the organization.

So one of the questions that we received in relation to this type of slide that I’d love to get both of your opinions on, Barb and John, is of the partnerships that you have, even if it’s with organizations like delivery service providers, DoorDash or Grubhub, what have you found to be the best at this time for your sales and the best partner to be working with if different than best in sales? Do you have any insights to share in that category?

BP:

So as I mentioned, back in September, we introduced a new larger pizza that traveled a lot better. Our delivery options have always been through a third party. So when we launched this… we as a franchise, because some of the system had implemented third party delivery prior to that. But we were with DoorDash and Postmates, and I would say to you that I think they’ve been just great partners in trying to help all of us from, Blaze corporate to the individual franchisees, manage and maneuver in this time when, again, we were primarily a… people came in and they sit down and they brought their families and their teams and their… We did a lot of fundraising and those types of activities in the restaurants, helping us to get that same product to the people in a timely and cost effective way by running specials with no delivery fees or Blaze corporate helping the franchisees with something like that.

So all of the partners that we’ve worked with… We recently, literally in the last 30 days, just started a relationship with Uber Eats. So we now have those three as our platform for delivery. But they’ve really been phenomenal partners through this in trying to figure out what this looks like going forward, and of course, that’s been an integral part of us being able to have the kind of sales that we’ve had. Because if we didn’t have the third party delivery, we can’t have people coming into our restaurants, so what do you do? So we’re very grateful that we had implemented that and that we’ve got the great partners that we do have.

JT:

Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m not really able to give good insight on that. We’ve always employed our own delivery people. We have some internal metrics that we measure by, so I don’t really have too much of a comment on any of the outside vendors that do that.

JW:

Great. That’s fantastic and totally fine. I think we can move on to the next slide, which is really focused on companies that are committed to their employees and to the community. I know that you’ve both shared so much about how you’re making sure that you’re taking care of the safety of your employees and their loved ones at home. But outside of that, we’re starting to see some really fantastic news pop up. Arby’s, that’s a client of ours, is offering $1 kids’ meals through the drive through. I was surprised when we… Unfortunately, at my house, our dishwasher broke because, of course, when you can’t leave the house or go anywhere, something major happens. We had to run to Home Depot to get the piece to fix it.

After standing in line at Home Depot for a really long time, I looked up and realized there was a Taco Bell right next to the Home Depot that had a line around the corner for the drive through and down the street. It was crazy to see that and exciting at the same time. At that point, I had the opportunity to reach out to one of the marketing managers that we work with at Arby’s, and she was saying the drive in is where it’s at right now, and people are still very excited and very grateful to have a place to stop if they’re visiting family members who may have been affected by COVID or doing something nice for the community, and if they can do something to give back, then they certainly are.

So exciting to share that Arby’s is doing the $1 kids’ meals, but also that Flynn, in general has done a number of initiatives in this area, including launching a $1 million COVID-19 relief fund focused on child hunger and restaurant industry reliefs, which is great. But similarly, in the hospitality side of it, we’re seeing organizations like the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa continuing to pay employees even though they’re shutdown. I think this was something of critical importance for a number of hotel chains, casinos and other types of employers, where it wasn’t that… You could even do something creative. The business had to be shut down, but your employees were relying on you.

So understanding that this resort and spa is expanding their sick leave and pay policy for any member diagnosed with coronavirus, as well as… Flynn is doing the same thing. Also, in this case Grand Traverse is extending pay for people when they just can’t come in for a time period until they can assess the situation. Does so much good for employees and for the community. One of the questions that we received while we were talking, and specifically as it relates to this slide is, how are both of your companies focused on extended sick leave and pay for those employees who have been impacted by COVID? Not suggesting that that happened when they came to your place of work, but just… it’s happening to all of our organizations, regardless of even best practices.

BP:

So I guess I would respond by saying that we’re certainly following the guidelines that are out there. So folks who have to take care of somebody who may be at high risk or they have children that aren’t in the daycare or school, we’re certainly accommodating their needs and pay requirements. We do have a paid time off policy for our full-time workers, so we’re certainly allowing them to do that. At our Disney location… We have a location at Disney Springs, and that’s been closed permanently since March 17th with, at this point in time, no real good answer as to when we might reopen.

So with the employees that we have there, we’ve tried to work them into working at our other locations in the Orlando market, keeping the managers on the payroll, those types of things. But again, I think it’s very unprecedented times as to how and if you’re able to react that way depending on the financial structure of your organization and what, if any, relief you can get.

JT:

On our side, we’ve… In our Domino’s stores, we have instituted a policy that anybody who’s been required to quarantine, we’ve been able to pay them for all of their time off. We’ve probably got about 30 people out right now that are quarantined. Fortunately, none of them are due to their own illness, they’re due to illnesses of people that they’ve lived with. But for all of those people… The vast majority of our hourly people don’t have paid time off, so we’ve elected to pay them for their quarantine time, which is… for most of them has generally been two weeks, unless they’ve gotten sick at the end of their quarantine, unfortunately, then they’d be off for another seven to 10 days after that. Fortunately, we’ve been able to pay them for that period of time, which, again, is another reason why… another way that we’ve addressed the hazard pay questions well. We’re paying people when they’re off, when otherwise we wouldn’t have.

In addition to that, we set up our own internal fund to help the families of people who are having issues. If it’s not the person that directly works for us that have to be off, but somebody who provides income in their family that’s off, we’ve been providing money for them for their basic necessities, food, groceries, rent, utility bills and things like that. So we think that’s gone long ways to help our team members realize that the job that they’re doing is important and good for them.

JW:

Oh, that’s amazing and that’s fantastic. That just gives me chills, because it’s so great to see communities, organizations, employers, companies like yours, John, that are really just coming together for the needs of the community. At DailyPay, we took a step back and thought, is there anything that we can do as an organization other than make the service available? So we did decide to do some significant cost restructuring, cutting internally so that we could actually waive the fees if employees wanted… if employees of all your companies, all of our client’s companies needed to get their money out earlier. So we waived the next day fees.

It’s been great to just go to sleep at night knowing that 24/7, 365, if one of your employees earned their money, but they need to get the money out the next day to be able to go to the store at off hours or be able to take food to a family member or do a delivery service for the community or even race the chicken and meat crisis that’s getting all the hype in the news right now and make sure that they get to the store when those deliveries are first made, that they can and they have access to funds instead of waiting for payday when everyone gets paid and then trying to stand in lines at stores. So I think what both of you are doing is fantastic, and so many companies out there are taking those steps and really being committed to employees and the community, which is great.

In those best practice scenarios, I think… On the next slide, as I said earlier, this is new for every company and every scenario, and nobody knows the right answer. But we did start to brainstorm internally at DailyPay, and I know that both of you have pooled ideas together, either with your own individual entities or your franchise parent organization on different tips and tricks that can be used at this time that may have worked for you or worked for somebody else in the DailyPay family that you can take away if you’re listening to this webinar.

One of them that we wanted to share was getting back to thinking about hiring and really rethinking it all. Some of the ideas and insights that we came up with is the realization that recruitment is really different now. Part of that survey where I showed you the stats early on also came to some interesting findings that 16% of the people who responded to the survey actually said that when they lost their prior role and they were looking for a new role, they sought out companies that would provide them DailyPay. They didn’t apply for any company where they wouldn’t have flexibility around their pay schedule, which we thought was really interesting.

So it seems like simply by saying that you’re offering DailyPay could actually help when you’re looking to return to work, bring employees off of furlough, look for replacements for employees who couldn’t return from furlough or just as a business as expanding, and understanding that turnover is going to happen when we all start to get back to work and starting to staff up. So understanding that offering something like DailyPay is a great retention tool. Is there anything unique or interesting that either of you are doing or heard of as it relates to recruitment that you give as a takeaway for people listening to this webinar?

BP:

I’m afraid that I don’t have anything here. We have definitely seen a little bit of hiring going on. But as it relates to what you’ve said, we moved to DailyPay towards the end of 2019 and have used DailyPay on all of our postings for jobs as well as… We actually have two restaurants under construction down in Florida as we move through this pandemic that we hope will open soon. So we’ve used the DailyPay logo on our coming soon now hiring banners. Again, just the feedback has been that our people are encouraged by the fact that they have that as an option. Those people who work for us, but also those people that we’re looking to to recruit, they really feel like that’s a great advantage.

JT:

We’re a little bit more recent to DailyPay. I think I mentioned earlier that we started in late January, early February. But the results are overwhelmingly positive. For the foreseeable past, we were all hands on deck in hiring, and that has certainly gotten a little bit different right now, but the DailyPay component to our hiring has definitely been effective. As long as we’re talking about DailyPay and hiring, I knew that we had chosen a great corporate partner when I got the email that said that DailyPay was going to be waiving the next day fee. That was an incredible email to see, our team members recognize that that’s a great benefit. So I just wanted to thank everybody at DailyPay. I’ve emailed a lot of people that thank you, and I really, really appreciate what you’ve done with that.

BP:

[crosstalk 00:51:59] those comments for sure. It was a very nice surprise.

JW:

Yeah. Well, like I said, we’ve been thinking, and we continue to spend a lot of time every day thinking about what we can do to help all of you with your businesses, with the employees and really make sure that we can get back to a flourishing economy at some point in time in the near future. I think we’ve got about five minutes left. So we’ve got a final slide, which is great, and this is just a summary of some of the best practices and tips and tricks for both hotels and QSRs that we’ve either heard from our existing clients, that we have seen in the news or that have been shared with us through some of the listeners on the call. So thank you very much for your contributions.

But with hotels, consistent fresh content on your website, and I can attest to this. Now, long time ago, I used to work with a number of hotel chains, where people could only take vacations once a year, but they would mark it all year long, and I couldn’t understand why in the beginning and someone explained to me, you have to keep the brand top of mind, and that stuck with me for many, many years. So consistent fresh website content, so that people stay… you stay top of mind with them as they’re dreaming about the vacations that they plan to go on, maintaining that flexible cancellation policy, continuing to learn, as we talked about, and being responsive to the market, focusing on employees, especially through upfront communications, and staying connected to guests who have canceled reservations.

I know there’s a number of weddings, bar mitzvahs, parties, retirement parties, just significant life events that had been planned that have been since canceled that could tend to bring large groups of people. So keeping those client contacts available for future and for maintaining that goodwill, I think, will go a long way. For QSRs, offering discounts and take out/delivery. I think everyone is doing the takeout and delivery right now. From a discount standpoint, Seamless is not a DailyPay client, but I do give a shout out to what they’ve been doing and the New York New Jersey area, offering $10 an evening if you order dinner on Seamless to help support all the restaurants that use them.

Creating partnerships with other companies for hiring, for delivering, looking at creating a restaurant experience at home. I laugh, because my older daughter loves Chili’s, and I… We we’re having a social distancing lunch date, and I picked up food from Chili’s and saw take-home margarita kit, which I thought she would love and so ended up upselling my own ticket so that I could bring that at home for her. But understanding that, my younger daughter and I are always looking up recipes online of how we can recreate the famous cookies or tacos here at the house and really building brand loyalty that way.

Communicating procedures and updates to your employees. John, you mentioned this and really training, training, retraining and educating people. I think that is a great comment. And then insisting on cleanliness. Taco Bell recently came out with a press release that they want to be known as the safest QSR out there post-COVID, and so I think that that commitment to cleanliness is really going to resonate with a lot of people. I was talking to some friends outside of this industry a little earlier today, and we were talking about how… what we’re questioning as far as travel, and I’m definitely a road warrior, but a post-COVID, are we going to just hop back on planes and stay in hotels and not give it a second thought? Are we actually, as you said, John, going to continue to wash our hands more frequently and pay more attention to how clean everything is?

I think it’s going to be long lasting impacts for all of us. So with that said, I would love to show a video that the DailyPay team made before we just wrap up the call and thank both of you. But as the DailyPay team, all of us, from engineering, to back office, to legal, to the marketing team and friends and family, we’re thinking about what we could do to do things differently. We created a little video, it’s all from DailyPay employees and their friends and family, to just talk about how the world’s changed. I’d love to show that just as an end to this great webinar. Thank you both Barb and John for your time.

{Pay Different Video}

JW:

I know we’re right up against the hour, but I do just want to say we don’t have time for Q&A. But Barb, John, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it, and if you have any closing comments, we’d love to hear them.

BP:

Just best of luck to everybody out there. Thanks so much for the opportunity today. Take care.

JT:

Thanks for having us, and it’s been a great talk.

JW:

Sounds great. Thanks everybody. For those of you still attending, our next webinar will be May 19th 2020 with Barbie Winterbottom, the CSRO of BIC Graphics, talking about rebuilding trust in the workplace post-COVID. So hope you can all join that, and look forward to speaking with you soon.

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