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A diner was shocked when a Llanelli fast food restaurant played rap music with explicit racist lyrics as she tucked into her meal. Lyrics featuring the n-word were clearly heard at the Burger King restaurant in the St Elli Centre, causing such offence to one diner that she filmed it on her mobile phone and took to social media to air her concerns.
If the only new thing we have to offer is an improved version of the past, then today can only be inferior to yesterday. —Robert Hewison
With all due respect to every foodservice executive, owner and operator reading this, you’re compensated not for what you do daily, but for what your unit managers and teams accomplish every shift.
Planning, strategy and budget discussions may occur in the home office, but execution and results transpire in the restaurant, during the shift. What is a successful quarter, after all, if not 180 consecutive, profitable shifts in a row?
Your marketing department and social media partners may claim responsibility for generating customer visits, but it’s the general manager and junior managers who convert traffic into revenue.
Most foodservice operations have 14 shifts a week, 56 per month, 180 every quarter and 720 each year. Every critical strategy and tactic related to running a profitable operation — service, selling, hiring, retention, food safety, marketing, COGS, training and teamwork — occurs during the shift. It puzzles me that very little thought and even fewer resources are applied to understanding and improving the efficiencies of shift leadership.
What is your company doing to fully understand the architecture of a shift and identify the best demonstrated practices your managers deploy before, during and after each shift? It’s time our managers stop running shifts and start leading them instead.
Shift leadership, like all leadership, is situational. Each shift has its own rhythm, tempo and character, and requires a different management mindset and approach.
Consider all the variables that affect shift success: weather, staffing, scheduling, inventory, equipment maintenance, lunch or dinner rush, and current promotions, to name a few. As a result, there’s a lot of planning, preparation and play-calling at the line of scrimmage.
How do your managers approach each shift? Do they know what a great shift looks like, or is it something they recognize only after it’s over, when it’s too late to impact it? Do they know how to apply course-correction during a shift that’s going off-kilter? Do you exchange best shift leadership practices weekly between managers? Your answers to these questions can be a directional signpost to why your revenue and retention numbers are up, down or flat.
Our research with high-performing general managers shows that great shifts are not planned an hour before opening, or just before the dinner rush. A profitable shift is the cumulative result of what your managers did days, weeks, months and even years before it even commences.
What to do a year before the shift
The connective tissue between preparation and profitability is having the discipline to apply the requisite systems, processes and procedures daily to each and every shift. Spectacular success is always preceded by unspectacular preparation. For instance, we’d all probably agree that a key element of a shift’s success is having the right people in the right places doing the right things. But having your aces in their places today depends on who you hired a year ago, or six months ago, and how well you trained and retained them.
Do your managers patiently apply the screening tools you’ve given them, or do they panic hire? Do they routinely improve the best, help the rest and prune the dead wood? Do they invest time and tools to train their teams every day? Today’s profitable shift is the end result of yesterday’s habitually applied process.
What to do 90 days before the shift
In your monthly manager meetings, align and integrate quarterly goals into period goals and period goals into shift goals. For instance, if your target is $40,000 in higher gross sales per unit per quarter, that’s $13,333 more per month, or $238 more per shift. Specify pre-shift meeting topics and targets that will focus on ways servers can exceed $238 more in sales.
What to do 30 days before the shift
Compile a database of pre-shift meeting topics for the next 30 days. Base it on topics surrounding your key result areas, like service, selling, cost control or teamwork. No manager should ever wonder what to talk about at a team huddle. Put those pre-shift topics on your manager’s calendars and make sure they’re all clear on the targets and focus area.
What to do one hour before the shift
Review the schedule and assess your rookie-to-vet ratio, which will affect who and how you coach; conduct a thorough line check for food safety compliance; do a ready-for-revenue walkabout outside, then inside, the building, seeing what the guest sees, and correct any problems; greet team members; and make sure inventory is aligned with anticipated business, deliveries are in and equipment is working.
What to do 10 minutes before the shift
Gather teams for a pre-shift huddle, or alley-rally. Detail the specific focus and objectives for that shift. If you don’t share specific shift goals with your team, your team will rightfully presume you have no goals, and will substitute their own. Detail the behaviors necessary to achieve the target and solicit the team’s ideas, too. For instance, if your focus is that $238 incremental sales bump, you might begin by reminding them why we sell (better customer service and the low profit margin on the dollar), then practice what to sell, and finish by asking each person how to sell it. Pump them up and spread some energy.
Your paycheck and bonus directly depends on how successfully your teams execute the 180 shifts you have each quarter. Why would you prefer chance over choice relative to shift strategy and execution? If your team measurably improved in just one thing every seventh shift, they’d still be better at 100 things a year from today.
Jim Sullivan is the author of two books that have sold over 400,000 copies: Multiunit Leadership and Fundamentals. Check out his videos, podcasts, apps and product catalog of training resources at Sullivision.com. You can follow him on LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter @Sullivision
With more and more businesses utilizing the services of independent contractors, it’s important to understand some of the potential risks involved. Instacart, the on-demand grocery delivery service, just learned one of these lessons the hard way.Employee Misclassification Lawsuit
Workers who bought and delivered groceries for the company just settled a class-action lawsuit with Instacart, reportedly receiving thousands of dollars in back pay. The reason? Workers claim that they should have been classified as employees rather than contractors. And as such, they’d be owed the same benefits and protections as Instacart employees.
Instacart has since changed its employment structure to classify more workers as actual employees. There still seems to be some confusion over the tipping structure for employees. But the company says that it has made some positive changes in that area as well.
Unfortunately for both businesses and contractors, issues like this aren’t all that uncommon. Although the number of platforms supporting the gig economy continues to grow, the outlook from those within the community is not always positive.
Since the lawsuit against Instacart was first filed in 2016, there’s been plenty of online discussion about the issue.
So, how’s the gig economy working for you? https://t.co/BmGSATbyRr
— ? Andrea K. (@AndieCrispy) March 24, 2017
— Alan Smith (@alansmith4321) December 22, 2016
@Instacart I love your service, but your Driver say something about a class action lawsuit. What that about
— D.F.T.G. (@DFTGVP) December 4, 2016
— ServiceChargeScam (@TheNextWebVan) November 12, 2016
Instacart isn’t the first online food delivery service to be hit by suits in recent years. GrubHub, DoorDash, Caviar were all sued for employee misclassification in 2015.
It’s yet another growing pain for the fledgling gig economy and a reminder to businesses of all sizes of the importance of strongly distinguishing between contractors and employeees.
This article, "Instacart Suit Again Raises Employee Misclassification Issues" was first published on Small Business Trends
John D. Harkey Jr., CEO of Dallas-based Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc., said U.S. restaurants are in a great position for “exporting America” to the rest of the world.
Many American restaurants have expanded overseas, and Harkey said CRO’s El Chico and Cantina Laredo brands have shown strength abroad. The company opened its first units overseas in Egypt, in 2008.
CRO has 109 units across eight brands in the U.S., Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K. The company’s first unit in Turkey is under construction, Harkey said, and its first unit in Puerto Rico will open in June.
Harkey discussed international expansion with Nation’s Restaurant News:
How did you get started abroad?
It wasn’t so much a vision as a pull. We were approached to go there. We had hired a franchise sales person. It was a bit of an afterthought. We didn’t have a franchise department. We had a few franchised stores, all domestic. That was in 2004, 2005. We didn’t even think to give him a defined territory. He found someone in Cairo, but I said no. He asked what it would take to be convinced. I said, tell them to wire me $100,000, non-refundable. It cost that much money to attempt what is a very hard thing to do. … It took months to get all the documents prepared.
Why do American brands do so well in the Middle East?
The Middle East approach is that brands matter. That’s similar to Asia. They have found that branded restaurants — rather from the deliver mechanism, or from the way the food is the prepared, or the service model, or the quality of the ingredients — get more sales than local [brands]. Diners, whether they are expats or locals, see it as a way to get a better quality dining experience, so restaurants do better.
What do you liken the growth to?
It’s a lot like the U.S. was in the 1960s. In the ’60s, it was a field of dreams. You opened it; they would come. Women were entering the workforce. The trend of more meals being eaten outside the home was starting. That’s where the Middle East is. That’s where Asia is. They are underserved.
What cautionary signs do you see for international development?
We’ve had a change in America’s position. As I visit with friends around the world, there is a cautious eye about how easy it will be to transact business and whether there will be additional obstacles. But we are continuing business as usual and going forward with our partners. We’re exporting American technology and know-how. We’re on the right side of the trade equation.
How are your restaurants positioned for further expansion abroad?
Casual dining, which is where a lot of our restaurants are, is one of the toughest, challenging sectors. While that’s happening domestically, we still see a lot of opportunities to American around the world.
Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Penton.com
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless