Mary Brown’s Implementation of Kudos

February 20th, 2017
Paul Gadie PhD by Paul Gadie PhD

In January, Gift Innovations interviewed Scott McCarthy, VP of Operations at Mary Brown’s, the fast-growing, Canadian Quick Service Restaurant chain. With 2,000+ staff, 140+ locations (95% franchised) and 20+ stores per year since 2014, they have been Canadian Franchise Award winners six years in a row. Their product consists mainly of locally sourced chicken and potatoes, ‘made fresh from scratch’ every day. Their recognition story will be familiar to many organisations.


On a journey

Their journey with Kudos Social Recognition began in late 2015 and has been a very positive experience. Implementing Kudos was viewed by their board as a significant investment with a clear Return on Investment (ROI), measured in terms of greater staff retention, in a better company culture, and a happier workforce. But I am getting ahead of myself!


Business ‘pain’

Mary Brown’s had a number of issues that caused them pain. In regional meetings, Scott heard managers raise the recurring problem of staff retention. Staff walked across the street to work in other franchises for small wage increases. In response, managers wanted to increase staff wages, which meant increasing customer prices.


Research suggested the need for a positive culture of recognition and a means to reward staff for their good work. These steps would address staff retention and create a company-wide culture of recognition – the chief driver of employee engagement.


Finding Kudos

A quick Google search later, Scott had discovered Kudos. It was trialled across a number of stores and customised to enable managers (M2P), and subsequently, all staff (P2P), to give instant recognition. Later, rewards (retail cards/pre-paid credit card) were successfully introduced.


One popular feature was ‘K+’ – the ‘like’ button. This allowed staff, including VP’s, Directors and the CEO, to reach out and ‘like’ the recognition given to other staff, regardless of their location. ‘K+’ had a very positive impact on all staff. It was also a key element, which sold Kudos to the Franchise Advisory Board. As all recognition was seen on the Kudos homepage feed, Mary Brown’s now had the means to recognise and retain staff while building a great company culture.




Implementing Kudos meant reducing the fear factor. Weekly training webinars allowed Kudos successes, improvements and questions to be raised. They encouraged deeper digging into Kudos functionality and were a key element of local management buy-in. Local managers/franchisees used their knowledge to train staff, who engaged on Kudos at break times, lunch times and after work using their smartphones, via the intuitive Kudos app. This approach supported a successful local roll out.


Kudos benefits

Mary Brown’s implemented Kudos at the beginning of 2016. Survey results viewed it as a very positive initiative, reflecting clear ROI. For example:

  • Staff retention issue almost disappeared: 78% of staff wouldn’t go across the street even for higher pay
  • Kudos created a positive, attractive and engaging culture for all staff
  • Lower staff turnover – attractive to new franchisees
  • 60% greater job satisfaction since introducing Kudos
  • Rewards are simple, effective and relevant for all ages
  • 64% of managers see increased employee happiness; 50% reported increases in team cohesion
  • Kudos helped franchisees learn to recognise and reward staff, and built their emotional intelligence
  • Kudos encouraged philanthropy among staff and customers: pictures/events were posted to Kudos and celebrated across stores, locally and nationally

When managers asked whether Kudos should be mandatory for all franchisees, 83% of managers said ‘Yes’

The Takeaway

Kudos has helped Mary Brown’s to become a more engaged and respectful organisation, built on three pillars, which shine through to its customers:

  • Workplace happiness
  • Feeling valued as a person
  • An overall culture of sharing and recognition


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