In this episode of the OrderUp Show Tommy sits down with Murk Maddock, an ops services guru,. They discuss Murk’s career and his thoughts on the state of the restaurant industry today. He’s a very interesting person take a listen below.
In this two part series of the OrderUp Show Tommy walks us through the rise and fall of the largest sandwich chain in the world.
He also gives his thoughts on what he would do to save the chain. He’s got experience in this area as he was involved with a very similar situation in the late 2000’s with another iconic sandwich chain out of Denver.
Give it a listen at your leisure. It has been broken in to two separate podcast episodes below.
We are constantly talking to restaurant leaders about procedures, checklists, food safety etc.. One of the issues that is commonly raised by these managers is that they are struggling to get their people to do what they are supposed to do. This happens more than you can believe and I literally can’t understand it. Restaurant companies cannot get their employees to follow their procedures.
Some of this can be attributed to how your systems are set-up. Paper is useless for holding people accountable.
From a sales perspective, this is great news for us, because our system drives accountability and visibility into daily operations. When people adopt our platform they can see, right from their phones, what is getting done and what isn’t.
If I’m completely honest with myself, I used to put the bulk of the blame on the employees for not following procedures. I just thought they were being lazy, some of that is true, but what I’ve come to realize is, this issue is a FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP!
Leaders control what they can control, they prioritize tasks, they implement systems, they follow-up in a timely manner, provide feedback, and ultimately they hold their manager’s accountable.
We were recently talking with one of our clients who has been on the platform several times, I will talk about that more below, and he can’t get his people to use it. He gets on the phone with us and he is frustrated. We are going through all the things we can do to get his people to use the platform more and then he says it. “They are just so busy, I don’t want to add more to their plates.”
He is the reason that his people don’t use the platform. He is the reason that his restaurants aren’t hitting their goals, or are as clean as they should be, delivering the customer experiences he wants.
It’s his failure of leadership, failure to hold his team accountable to following their procedures is why they aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing. All the issues that he purchased our platform for, are not getting addressed because he isn’t holding his team accountable to fixing them.
So now when I hear people telling me their restaurants are struggling because of xyz. It is a huge red flag for me, I stop listening to all the symptoms they are discussing and try to figure out which leader is the disease.
This leads me to the second thing I want to discuss in this blog. People leaving OpsAnalitica only to come back 6 months to a year later.
Recently people who started with OpsAnalitica who left have been coming back and some of those people have left again. It is the craziest thing. Here is what is happening.
- Management determines that they have operational issues that could be solved by putting a system and some checklists in place.
- They research the market and end up choosing OpsAnalitica to solve this issue.
- They get set-up and launch the platform but they can’t change their employees behavior to take advantage of the software.
- Basically after 5 to 6 months they get tired of being reminded every day that they have zero control over their employees actions, our system is very good at telling you what isn’t getting done, they decide to shut down the service.
- Wait 5 or 6 months and then go back to number 1. Management determines that they still haven’t solved their operational problems.
- Because our software runs really well, we provide great customer service, and our pricing is fair; the customer comes back on the platform.
As I’m writing this blog, a customer that was with us for years, who left about 12 months ago, just signed back up again.
The key success factor of implementing any system in your business is that you have to change you and your teams behavior to use the system. To drill in even deeper, you have to change your leader’s behaviors first.
For those of you who are out there and you aren’t satisfied with your teams performance. I’m going to ask you to look in the mirror and make sure that your attitudes and leadership are where they are supposed to be.
If you are going to implement new systems to fix your issues and modernize your operations. Make sure to commit from the top down, use the data, hold your teams accountable to using the platforms. If you don’t do that, you will not see any ROI.
If you are not capable of implementing change throughout your business then you will go out of business. The market, competition, customer tastes, and technology are changing at a faster pace then every before. Your company has to be able to adapt to change quickly and you have to build the organizational muscles to be able to implement solutions effectively and quickly.
If you are interested in learning more about how the OpsAnalitica Platform can transform your restaurant operations. Please check us out at OpsAnalitica.com
Anyone who has followed the OpsAnalitica blog knows that I worked at Quiznos right before their implosion in 08, 09. I had two jobs at Quiznos: I was the manager of the Franchise Assistance Program and then I was promoted to be the RSC Ops Leader when Franchise Assistance went away.
During my time as the Franchise Assistance Program manager, I was working with failing franchisees who wanted relief, usually financial, from Quiznos. I was not authorized to grant that relief.
That was an incredibly hard position to work in because my team and I heard heart-wrenching stories every day on how these people were losing money and their dreams of owning a successful business.
I just heard a podcast entitled Debating the Risks and Rewards of Franchising by Jonathan Maze.
I listened to the entire episode and it is dead on. It is an interview with Matthew Haller SVP of Government Relations for the International Franchise Association and Keith Miller Director of Public Affairs for the American Association of Franchisees & Dealers.
I’ve been very blessed in all aspects of my life, one of the biggest blessings I’ve received is that I’ve traveled and I’ve stayed at some of the best hotels, resorts, and sailed on the nicest cruise ships in the world.
This last weekend, my wife got us a room at the new Gaylord of the Rockies resort. It is brand new Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center located near the Denver International Airport.
I was sitting at the pool on Memorial Day before checking out and I noticed that the music wasn’t on. The pool just didn’t feel as bubbley, if that is the right way to describe it. Then I looked down and saw a straw under my chair.
It’s the little things.
I started thinking about all the things that you have to get right to go from good to great.
There are a million quotes about the little things. About how the last 5% is what really matters in everything.
Let me be clear here, The Gaylord did an amazing job. I’m not trying to knit pick them to death. The music being on or off didn’t take away from the room, or the service, or the amazing food. It just sparked this idea.
The music not being on just made the pool feel less complete. They had music on the whole day before and had pool parties, etc.. The pool area was alive and jumping and the music added to the happy and relaxing feeling.
When you have a complete experience, it feels better, it feels right, it is memorable, it is great.
Here is the thing, we are all capable of providing a complete experience in every guest interaction. Whether you are at a McDonalds or Harrod’s in London for Tea.
We all have a brand, we have set those brand expectations through our marketing, previous guest interactions, and through our continuous operations.
People always say that the greatest thing McDonald’s has done is that you can get the same Big Mac and Fries anywhere in the world. Same is true for Coca Cola and many other brands. They have perfected consistency. I’ve never opened a brand new Coke that was flat; have you?
What is frustrating about the little things in the hospitality industry, especially for brands, is that corporate has already thought about all the little things, that is their job. They have created exhaustive training and checklists to help the locations not miss the little things. Yet they get missed constantly.
Because know one uses the checklists as they were meant to be used. Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto lays this out in his book.
Faulty memory and distraction are a particular danger in what engineers call all-or-none processes: whether running to the store to buy ingredients for a cake, preparing an airplane for takeoff, or evaluating a sick person in the hospital, if you miss just one key thing, you might as well not have made the effort at all. A”
I get it, checklists aren’t fun or exciting. They feel beneath us in a lot of ways. Senior managers think checklists are just for training and not meant to be used at the start of every shift in every location.
In a complex environment, experts are up against two main difficulties. The first is the fallibility of human memory and attention, especially when it comes to mundane, routine matters that are easily over-looked under the strain of more pressing events. —Atul Gawande
This is where we as an industry have to grow up. Pilots, know matter how many hours of flight time they have still use checklists for everything. There are 3 checklists to turn the plane on.
The reason why? It’s exactly what Atul Gawande stated above. The fallibility of human memory and attention, especially when it comes to mundane routine matters. That is operations management in the hospitality industry. You are getting the restaurant ready for business, you’ve done it 1000’s of times, people are constantly distracting you with questions and pulling your attention away from the task at hand. Little fires keep popping up.
Then you forget to check things because you are too distracted. Some days it’s the music and other days it’s the holding or reheat temperature on some food. Some days it’s the open sign and other days your dish machine isn’t sterilizing the dishes and you are getting people sick.
The problem is when we don’t use checklists the way they are meant to be used, we don’t know which side of the spectrum we are going to land on. We just know or should accept that we are missing things.
You are kidding yourself if you think you aren’t getting people sick. You are. Any time a person goes into a restaurant and then within minutes they are not feeling well, your food had something to do with that. Even if it didn’t really, that the person got sick from their lunch and not your dinner, in their minds it was your dinner.
We have to change how we train and operate our locations. It is imperative that we move away from the reliance on memory and experience and work on systematizing every aspect of running our restaurants to counteract the other forces that are working against us. We have to use checklists diligently as they were meant to be used in every department, every shift, by every member of the team from the GM to the server.
The whole point of this blog is this. Had the pool manager followed a readiness checklist, I’m sure, that turn the music on is on that list. I’m sure having a member of the custodial team confirm that there was no trash under the pool chairs was on that list.
Senior managers and all team members should embrace checklists as the cheat sheets, the short cuts, the work smarter not harder tools that they are. We should reward people for high levels of checklist compliance. Completing checklists diligently and on-time and coach train people who pencil whip and have low compliance. Our research has shown that high checklist compliance restaurants are better restaurants from a customer satisfaction and profitability standpoint. They are better.
We have to control what we can control. Because when we do we provide our guests with a complete experience, they will rave about us and tell their friends and that should lead them to come back again sooner. We owe this to our guests, employees, and owners.
One of the main reasons that checklists don’t get done today is because they are paper based tools. In the world of multi-unit restaurant management paper checklists are pencil whipped because management cannot hold their teams accountable in real-time to getting them done.
To really run great restaurants, you need a digital checklist platform that will give you the tools to hold your managers and employees accountable to following your procedures every shift in every location.
To learn more about how OpsAnalitica is helping restaurant operators run better restaurants, visit OpsAnalitica.com
Remember, it’s the little things. Oh, and they turned the music on later in the morning.