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    How Dunkin' Franchisees Can Emerge Stronger from COVID with Text Recruiting

    In today's modern climate, hiring has taken a shift from emails and physical interviews to text recruiting and video interviews. Tune in as Desmond Lim, CEO and founder of Workstream, shares more about how big brands like Dunkin' franchisees have utilized text recruiting to hire quality candidates in the current pandemic.

    Read on for the full transcript:


    Ed: Good afternoon everybody. I want to welcome you to this afternoon's last webinar of 2020 and in a lot of ways we saved the best for last. We're certainly hopeful that we'll be able to have some in-person meetings again that they'll be able to resume in 2021 at some point but until that time we will continue to bring you critical, helpful and timely information that we've done thus far. I want to move into today's program and get it going Emerging stronger from COVID with text recruiting” and it's my pleasure to introduce our presenter today. Desmond Lim is the co-founder and CEO of Workstream. In fact, Desmond is a former restaurant operator and he was the first in his family to go to college when he immigrated to the United States and he did pretty well at school - he went to MIT and Harvard. He has helped hundreds of franchisees from not only Dunkin' but Chick-fil-A, McDonald's and a host of other franchises with recruiting, HR, advising them on technology software and so it's my pleasure to turn the program over to Desmond Lim.

    Desmond: Thank you so much Ed. It is very nice to be here today, it is truly an honor of mine to be the final one to share on this topic today. So thank you so much Ed for giving me the chance to share more. Today's title is about how Dunkin' franchisees can emerge stronger from COVID with text hiring. I'm very honored to have had a chance today to partner with Dunkin' and DDIFO today to share a bit about what I have learned in my over 10 years of being in this space, both in this restaurant's tech hiring. Just to share real quick, I'm one of the founders for this company called Workstream. It is a text-based hiring software and today I'm very glad to be able to go through this five to six topics here. I will start with a very quick overview, secondly I will be diving into what is the current hiring scene during COVID, third I will share a bit about how can you use texting to hire faster, fourthly I'll be going in to talk a bit about how can we hire safely through this contactless hiring. Fifth, I'll be going through just a couple of quick cases studies so you all can learn more. Finally, I will share this one to two slides about our current software and Q&A. 

    Introduction to Desmond and Workstream

    (06:52 - 09:14)

    Desmond: Just to share a quick overview about me, as Ed has like very kindly shared, I used to run my own like restaurant for over 10 years. So I have been in this space for over the past 10 years and I really know the gaps and the pain. So current hiring landscape during COVID, this is one of our current partners and current clients Jaya, she runs about 15 stores for Dunkin' and in our chat with her, she was sharing about how hiring has been hers and her team's very top challenge because trying to find people who really wants to get back to work has been very tough and she shares about how using texting has been a way that's been really helped her team that is very safe and fast. So hiring and trying to keep talent has been a top goal for many Dunkin' owners. This is one of the things that perhaps some of you have faced, which is, fewer driven people wanting to show up to work because they could actually collect unemployment benefits from this government. It has been harder to hire talent in a way that is seamless and safe and it really takes so much time to set up interviews with people because you keep trying to go back and forth over email, over calling trying to play phone tag and more. And finally, people don't like show up so for me, I have actually faced all of this over the past 10 years and I must say that over the past eight to nine months during COVID, every one of this pointer here has been made worse, it has been really much more challenging. And that is what I really hope to share today about why text is really one of the best to find talent faster and also better.

    Benefits of Text Recruiting

    (09:15 - 12:12)

    Desmond: If you see the age of about 18 to 34, it is really the age where texting is the way that many of these folks want to engage. Texting, or rather, SMS has an open rate of more than 95% as compared to email - it really only has about 20% to 25% and if you talk about calling it is even worse because  it is very hard for us today to really take phone calls because there's just so many spam calls that both you and I get every single day. But if you look at the chart on the right, other than having a very high open rate, texting has a very quick time for people to get back in a space of about one to one and a half minutes, so it's very quick because people today is always on their phone and they're always very quick to get back. I know that when I am on my phone, I'm always very keen to get back faster, whereas for this email you can see it takes about one and a half to almost two hours because everyday I get maybe about two three hundred emails and I'm sure for every one of you Dunkin' owners out there, you must get at least three to four hundred emails given your very busy schedule. So this is one of the two to three key pointers why texting has really been one of the best ways to engage and to reach talent today, many of them who will be very keen to work at your stores. So diving in a bit more why it is faster and also safer. Texting really cuts the time to screen on board and to hire people. As you can see from here, through a series of texts and through a series of this video, you will be able to engage with people in a way that is very safe and very fast. You will be able to share content questions, quizzes over texting and that is just so much better even more so during today's time during COVID. It is a very good way to safeguard  you, your GMs and your teams for the first one to two rounds. It is always safer to text them and to be able to ask them some of this questions over texting and over online forms and through this, you will also be able to find better people who are much more engaged savvy and being able to use software and tools better. I think these folks will be a much better fit for your team.

    Contactless Hiring

    (12:13 - 16:46)

    Desmond: So what is contactless hiring? It is truly an end to end hiring flow that is fully virtual everywhere from sourcing screening scheduling to trying to onboard people. I would truly say that this is the best flow that you can think of that is very virtual, online and through this texting from sourcing trying to post onto all the major jobs boards like Indeed, Craigslist, Glassdoor, even having something called text-to-apply poster which I'll be very glad to show to you all soon. Secondly, for this screening you will be able to upload quizzes, questions through forms which will be very helpful for you to actually screen out people through their phone and through this texting. Thirdly for this scheduling, you will be able to get people to self schedule timings to come to meet with you through trying to use various tools that you can use and people can also self choose interview slots and then you can meet with them via phone calls, Zoom and more. Finally, for this onboarding, you can even manage W-4, I-9 for any kind of like online forms that you have or any kind of training videos and guides you can do that online too.

    So a quick tip that we have over here. If you want to hire them fast, being able to get back to them quickly it is very key because if you perhaps spend like a few hundred bucks to post on Indeed but if you only get back about two to three days after, it is a very big waste of this money. Trying to hire fast is very key and texting is really one of the best way to be doing that. This is a text-to-apply demo that you can see over here, if you all have your phone today please take out your phone, open up your camera. If you can scan this QR code that you see in a screen over here, you should be able to go into a link where you can apply for a job from your phone. I would urge everyone who is on the call today, please open up your phone and scan this QR code that is on the second half of the page here. So this is something that we do for many of our current partners and like clients, we print out this poster and put it at their store as so anyone who comes into the store, they can easily text to apply from their phone. We can even give out this as very small name cards that people can take and go.

    Tip number two. What we have learned is that if you can maximize screening that is a very good way to save time because what we all know is that what we want is actually quality. We want people who really want the job who will show up, who can stay on for at least one to two years. So through what you can do over here is being able to quickly screen through people and all of that can be done through texting. You can ask a series of questions through texting and really all of that can be very helpful. One of the tips that you can do is, you can even get people to upload videos. So you can get people trying for a job to upload a one to two minute videos of them talking, so through that you will be able to learn whether or not they are a fit or not.

    Workstream Clients

    (16:47 - 18:38)

    Desmond: So here's a few quick case studies that I have here to share. This is the one for Dunkin' you can see that one of our current partners Jaya, she has about 15 stores and she has been with us now for the past one to two years. This is one of our other client Cinnabon and tis on the ends, you can see how they have sent more than 28,000 texts and being able to source more than 17,000 like applicants last year and for every single store they have been they really have have been able to save more than 10 over hours and this is across 48 stores. One more case study I have here to share is with Jamba, so today with Jamba we partnered with more than 200 over stores helping them to use texting to be able to source for people faster and better and we really have been able to through texting, help them to source for more than 150,000 applicants. That is more than 3x what they have sourced for in the past. Through texting, it has really been a much much faster way to source for people and to be able to hire them and to save time for every one of your current GMs. As you can see here from Tara, she owns about 65 stores across Carl's Jr., Jamba and more. She talks about how hiring has been one of her top challenges and how she has been able to use texting to save time, to set up meetings and to hire them.

    Workstream Product

    (18:39 - 22:30)

    Desmond: So I'm gonna share a few quick slides here about Workstream. What you see here is this all-in-one applicant dashboard through our software, we will help you to post into 25,000 job boards. Indeed, Craigslist, Glassdoor and more and then everything will flow into one single dashboard that that is going to be very seamless and as I said we today partner with more than 25,000 job boards from Glassdoor, Google, Facebook, Indeed and more and we use AI to help you to run the math and science to learn about what job board should you post at. Should you post on Fridays at two o'clock, Tuesdays at three should you post on Craigslist should you post on Glassdoor. So all of that is what we use AI to really help you be able to hire faster, so that is what we all can do from here. Our current product is built for higher volume hiring as you can see over here, through this two-way texting and our software, you will also have the chance to upload videos through our software. Everything is all built on a phone, you can even send out offer letters through our software even try to embed slides so all of those can be very helpful through the tools that we all have to offer. Finally, I just love to share over on this slide, you will be able to see a very good overview across every single stage across every single row even across every single state. So it is very easy for you to see a quick overview about where are folks coming from, are they coming from Indeed, Craigslist, Glassdoor and more. We have raised about $12.5 million in funding from folks such as CEO for Zoom, CEO for Yelp, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Jay-Z, James Harden, Joe Montana and more. We are very humbled to get trust of this folks to be able to grow. This is a quick overview of some of the clients who really believe in what we are doing and what we have to offer. I'm sure we'll be very glad to share these slides afterwards with the whole team here too. So this is a link that we have built for the group here please feel free to go to so please feel free to go to If any of you want to try out our product, we'll be very glad to offer you this special pricing due to our current partnership with the team here, so please feel free to go to this site Do feel free to email me


    1. Is there special pricing for Dunkin' franchisees who sign up for your service?

    • Please feel free to go to this site over here Yes we all have been very glad to partner with Ed and Joan from DDIFO so we are very glad to be able to offer special pricing for you all to try it out because we know that during this timing it's very tough during COVID. One of the strengths that we have is that we all have current templates with some of our very best Dunkin' owners who have used us for the past two years and more and they really have been able to use texting to hire faster so we would love to partner with you all and share with you some of this job templates and some of these hiring practices on how we can help you to hire faster.

    2. Apart from several brands, are you working with any other Dunkin' franchisees today?

    • Yeah we have been working with this Dunkin' franchisee, we do work with a few in Boston, East Coast and more so we have been really lucky to partner with them over the past two to three years. We have seen that it's a very interesting difference for many of this Dunkin' who is both in a city and for those who are in suburbs and we have been very thankful to be able to partner with both of them even more during COVID. What I've heard from some of our current Dunkin' owners is that in this suburbs, things have been going fairly well because people are still very open to come out to buy food or to do drive-throughs rest. In cities, it has been a bit challenging because people are mostly staying home, they are not showing up for work so we really have been able to partner with many of these Dunkin' owners to be able to help them allocate their current hiring needs more towards this suburbs.

    3. With Workstream, do I need to be constantly on my computer in order to respond to applicants?

    • The quick answer is no. We have built the mobile app for every GM, for every owner to be able to use the app from your phone. So that is the very good thing that you can actually use Workstream on the go from your phone from an app any time that you want so that is the very first point. Second point that I have to share is through our current workflow, we have a lot of automation built in that will be able to help you to save time. So with many of these automated steps, we will be helping you to ask questions, set up videos, even trying to schedule meetings. That is how we save you and your GM tens of hours every single week because rather than having to call people every single day, you really get them to show up through our software. We will help you to schedule meetings, we will help you to ask questions, set up quizzes, even set up video call all through texting. So point two is that through our software we would help you to take time away from your screen so that you can go back to your business and your ops and to be able to grow even much much faster.

    4. I've often heard that Indeed, Facebook and ZipRecruiter were your top three job boards, which job boards do you personally recommend that I as a Dunkin' franchisee use to get the best return on my investment? 

    • Yeah so what we have learned is that every city, every job, every brand it is fairly different. I don't think there's one single or two or three top best job boards that you would actually have to use, which is why I feel like through our software, there is actually three main ways that we would actually help you to hire people and source for them. The first way is through our software, we use AI to help you to post onto 2 to 300 job boards so that we can help you to save money and to save time and we can also help you to open up to many more new channels. Think about GoogleJobs, Craigslist, Facebook jobs and more. So through all these channels, we can really help you to open up to many more channels. Secondly, we also have this text-to-apply poster which is very powerful. Through this text-to-apply poster, you can put up these posters at your store and people can come into your store and text to apply from your phone so all of that will be very helpful. Thirdly, through our software we also have this referral software that is very powerful. You can share this referral link to many of your current teammates so what I'll say is that I feel like every Dunkin' owner here, you should not use just one or two job boards or one or two sources, you should always be trying to broaden your sources of this people, try to post to more channels use this text to apply and use texting because I feel that if you're able to actually go to more sources, it is actually going to save you money and time and be able to source for people faster.

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    Desmond Lim

    Desmond Lim is co-founder and CEO of Workstream, an automated hiring platform for companies hiring hourly workers. He is a graduate of Harvard and MIT Media Lab, former product manager at WeChat, and investor at Dorm Room Fund. He is based in San Francisco and lived in Palo Alto with his wife and two young daughters.

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