My 5 Rules for Store Visits
May 02, 2018 | 3095 Views
Like many of my CHART colleagues, I spend a good deal of time in our restaurants for events such as training sessions, product rollouts, and performance audits. Regardless of why I’m visiting, I strive to make it a quality experience that adds value to those Ivar’s locations, and I have found that there are 5 specific actions I can take that will greatly improve my chances of achieving that objective.
- Ditch the technology. I always make stronger connections with the staff if I leave my phone and laptop secured in my car. If I bring them in, there’s just too much temptation to plop myself down at a table and see what’s going on with the outside world instead of focusing on what’s going on inside the restaurant.
- Check in with the boss. My first task upon entering is to connect with the managers. What’s new? Anything special about today? Are there tasks with which I can assist? This step is not only effective for gathering essential information, but also shows deference to their leadership and that I don’t want my visit to interfere with their ability to run the operation.
- Do as they do. I follow the workplace guidelines and don’t set myself apart by insisting on special privileges. I park in the employee section, I refrain from eating on the fry line, and I don’t leave my beverages on the front counter. The more I can fit in with the team, the more impactful the visit will be.
- Talk about development opportunities. During every visit, I find the time to engage with as many Ivar’s team members as possible and discuss their jobs, training, career goals, and whatever else may come up. I ask questions and spend a lot of time listening, and I commit to providing them with any needed follow-up once I get back to the office. For me, this rule is the most important of the five; I wouldn’t feel as though I was doing my job properly if I spent time in one of our restaurants and didn’t bring up professional development with at least one employee.
- If you teach a man to fish. My goal is never to be the hero who swoops in and fixes everything. If I see something that needs improvement, I want to help the team also see that operational deficiency and develop their own solutions. It can be challenging, especially as a previous restaurant manager who likes to get problems solved quickly, but it’s critical for them to realize that they have the responsibility and authority to improve their workplace.
I cannot say that I’m 100% successful in following all these actions during each visit (because leaving the phone behind is especially hard), but I do realize that my most rewarding Ivar’s visits are the ones where I adhere to these 5 rules and really can focus on the team and its operation.
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Thanks for reminding us of our purpose! Developing our future leaders from within is a huge part of our purpose I believe as Trainers. It's where I got my start and I've never forgotten the mentors and lessons I learned along that path. As a former ops person myself, I too have to practice restraint. Very true that we should not be focusing on the outside world via our tech ball and chain aka cell phone. I plan on making your 5 rules my 5 rules and sharing with my team as well.
Great blog post!