Carousel Provides Back-Of-House Employee Messaging Capabilities For Stores Of Large U.S. McDonald’s Franchisee

October 7, 2022 by Dave Haynes

When word was pushed out about the Australian software and solutions firm Coates Group winning a a global deal as the digital signage provider for McDonald’s, some industry people would have shrugged and said, “Well, good luck with that.”

They didn’t question the deal, just whether it would play out that way – as world HQ can make deals but countries, regions and even individual franchisees might instead go down their own path. Like these guys, who have 43 restaurants around Pennsylvania and Delaware, and have opted to use the CMS software of Minneapolis-based Carousel Digital Signage for employee messaging in its McDonalds locations.

It’s important to clarify that the McDonald’s announcement was about Coates being the single global Digital Menu Board (DMB) Content Management System (CMS) provider, and Carousel is not being used for that. But I’m thinking there are not a lot of franchise owners looking to add MORE software and the costs to use and support it to their operating budgets. Somebody, may a big point of sale concern, will eventually come up with a solution that offers everything software-related needed by QSR operators, and get end-users away from multiple services, logins and fees. Maybe it exists but comprehensive means compromise in what it all can do???

Whatever the case, here’s the story in PR from Carousel:

Headquartered in Lititz, PA, the company adopted Carousel Cloud to simplify employee communications across its Harrisburg-area franchise network, with an eye on potential expansion into customer-facing areas.

As a franchisee, Rawden Joint Ventures follows McDonald’s lead for many technology upgrades, but also has the freedom to procure and install technologies that help them run a successful QSR business. “As the business evolves, so does technology,” said Matei Mihai, Operations Supervisor, Rawden Joint Ventures. “McDonald’s upgrades the technology architecture about every five years, and that includes about 80 components ranging from point-of-sale systems to digital menu boards to entire drive-thru systems.”

Mihai orders these systems for Rawden Joint Ventures’ locations as corporate upgrade initiatives are confirmed, and manages teams that install, repair, and maintain these systems. With these corporate initiatives and associated responsibilities comes the freedom to make some of their own technology decisions. Among their chief goals was to deploy an indoor digital signage network that would help Rawden Joint Ventures establish its own franchise-wide corporate culture and communicate corporate-level messages more effectively.

“We receive training updates from corporate that include new products, promotions, incentives and initiatives,” said Mihai. “These are traditionally communicated in print. When the papers start piling up in the crew room or completely take over the walls, it becomes very cumbersome and ineffective. We wanted a new way to communicate that was dynamic in nature, and easily managed from a single point.”

Carousel Cloud software now helps them communicate these messages along with referral programs, college tuition programs and employee recognition notices, for example. Overall, the Carousel Cloud network supports a mix of McDonald’s and Rawden Joint Ventures corporate content, all of which is created by and credited to the Rawden Joint Ventures team. The wealth of content being created alone made ease of use and centralized manageability strong priorities – two reasons they chose Carousel Cloud. However, it was Carousel Digital Signage’s interoperability with Apple TV devices that solidified their choice.

“Before Carousel, we used another digital signage system that required updating USB sticks and taking them from store to store,” said Mihai. “I later switched to media players that allowed me to make remote updates, but I found it difficult to log in from one account to another. We already had a separate technology partnership with Apple, and they recommended Carousel as one of the top digital signage companies that could help us remotely send content, commands, and updates, and use Apple TV devices for media players. Best of all, it helped us keep everything simple, which was not the case before. Everything is now accessible and user-friendly.”

Mihai notes that operating in the cloud is a big reason for that improved accessibility. He and other network operators can quickly and dynamically update content across the network. Employees quickly notice when new content is updated, as screens are positioned adjacent to the smart clocks where employees clock in and out each day. “Everyone in the store crew will look at that screen for at least 30 seconds each day, and they will see 30 seconds of different content each day,” said Mihai. “With that repetition, they realize they are taking in valuable information. We find that employees view the content for longer periods as time goes on, because it is meaningful to them and where they work.” 

The software provider can, of course, only provide a platform and make suggestions around content approaches.  I’d respectfully suggest there is way, way, way too much happening on the screen in the supplied PR photo, and that teeny text will rarely get read and absorbed. As always, it’s a glance medium, not a stop-and-read-for-awhile medium – especially not in bustling food prep areas.

  1. craig Allen keefner says:

    In the midst of HR/employee shortages, the value equation for employees is too often overlooked. Employees are face of the company.

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