Five Guys' workforce is onsite and spread across Europe, which meant it was a constant struggle to get key information to every team member. Before Oak Engage, Five Guys relied on traditional methods of internal communications; this included posting updates on notice boards in staff rooms or emailing stores company information separately. The operations department depended on stores’ general managers to disseminate information through traditional forms of communications like via email, which then cascaded down to team members. This made it easy for messaging to get lost or confused.
With a large deskless workforce on different shift patterns, it made it difficult for staff to access information or directly communicate with people. It quickly became clear there was a need for an easy-to-use tool that everyone could access. An app was the most popular choice, so Bastian and his colleagues set to work interviewing third-party suppliers.
Bastian Bauermeister, Head of Internal Communications
“Before Chatty Patty, before an internal communication app, we had no real way to communicate with our crew members, it was really difficult. Oak provided a well-rounded app that did a bit of everything and we thought that was perfect for us. Whatever we’ve asked for from Oak we’ve absolutely received and that’s hugely reassuring.”
Built by Five Guys for Five Guys
The team had three priorities when it came to the app: it had to be easy to download, easy to use and reflect Five Guys’ brand identity. The name of the app, Chatty Patty - was the result of a competition. Oak offers a fully personalised, innovative service and Five Guy’s brand identity was represented throughout with the iconic red and white colours and a very fitting name for their app. Bastian said: “We wanted people to recognise Five Guys in the app, we also wanted people’s input when it came to building it.”
Bastian added: “We knew an app would work because the majority of our workforce are aged between 18 and 30. It’s important to look at your workforce and get a good idea of their preferred communication methods before jumping in.”
Keeping employees engaged and informed
It was key for Five Guys to keep employees up to date with critical news and information. Oak sends push notifications out to employees to ensure they’re always informed. The app also has a timeline where everyone can interact, share and post their own content which has made their employees feel more aligned and engaged throughout the business.
Bastian said: “Oak is almost addictive. It feels like a window into our restaurants. We’re celebrating promotions, we’re celebrating new hires to the business and that gives us confidence that our teams feel good.”
A lifeline for team members
Five Guys was in the process of testing Chatty Patty when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Government guidance meant that most restaurants had to close, creating even more distance between teams. This gave a lot of urgency to the project and the decision was made to launch the app within 48 hours. The app was the only place teams could gain access to important updates, which resulted in a 97% adoption rate.
Bastian commented: “Chatty Patty became a lifeline during the pandemic. We used it to reassure our teams, check in with them and keep them posted on how the business was managing. I strongly believe that our ability to stay connected with our workforce during this time is a large part of why our retention rates remained strong – 90 per cent of our people came back to our stores.”
In such a short space of time, Chatty Patty has brought the Five Guy's community closer than they could have ever imagined and Oak will continue to support them to make sure they’re getting the most out of the platform and in turn making their workforce happier and more productive.
Five Guys has a programme called ‘the more you learn, the more you earn' and Chatty Patty empowers employees by giving them access to the right tools and training.
Bastian added: “One of our values is that we're a big family, and part of being a family is reaching out to everybody. We want to tell the griller that she's doing a great job, keep on doing what you're doing, but we also want to encourage her to access our great training materials.”
Bigger and better
Following the success of Chatty Patty, the platform has been expanded to add more features. A 5 minute monthly podcast from Five Guys CEO, as well as a weekly update from the operations team, giving employees the right information to run the restaurants successfully. Another feature is a bi-weekly newspaper called The Extra Scoop, which includes staff news on promotions, great achievements, new store openings and other snippets.
Five Guys are also using the app to champion employee recognition. Bastian said: “Oak Engage has rolled out a feature that lets us give stars to deserving individuals. We’re keen on making recognition more public so people can share their support and pride for the company.”