Make it Happen or Watch it Happen?

T.J. Schier

Visitors: 217

Being a speaker and consultant in our industry makes each trip to a restaurant a miniresearch project. It’s enlightening watching managers do their thing and then see the employees, unbeknownst to the manager, taking their cues from their leader.

My local full-service chain’s manager walks around always looking busy, yet never interacting with any guests other than a cursory thanks on the way out. He fails to see the empty tea glasses, dirty tables, or check waiting to be paid. In most quick-serves I frequent, the manager is likely “processing” people at the register (Next! Anything else? Next!) or working in the kitchen.

There’s an old saying, “Always imitate the behavior of winners, ” and I’d like to highlight three winners I’ve run into in my local area. They stand out and succeed for two reasons: (1) the competition isn’t that great, and (2) they flat out run great restaurants.

Chick-Fil-A, Founder’s Square, Flower Mound, Texas. Jason Driscoll’s philosophy? Do everything they can to get the customer to return. As with most CFAs, “My pleasure” is a common response to the customer instead of “No problem. ” How about driving a mistaken order to the customer? That’s a difference-maker! Keep it up, Jason!

CiCi’s Pizza, Founder’s Square, Flower Mound, Texas. I’m not sure if there’s something special in this shopping center with two great operators, but on my last visit there, Brian the manager not only did a check-back, but also offered and refilled our drink glasses. This action is far beyond even the generic full-service check-back and waaay beyond the quick-service managers they compete with. Kudos to Brian!

McDonald’s FM 407 in Lewisville, TX. The franchisee in this area runs some nice units, but on my last visit I watched Carlos the manager run the register and then do two unique things. The first guest was a mom with a toddler in her arms. Carlos excused himself and carried the tray to the table. Next, I requested some mustard he had trouble locating. He apologized and let me know it would be brought to the table - which he did. That’s hospitality!

These managers make it happen, and their actions encourage their employees to deliver great service as well. Think you run a great restaurant? The power is in those who are learning, not those who have already learned. To quote Chris Eubank, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. ”

T. J. Schier is service professional, consultant and speaker with over 20 years experience in operations and training. Founder and president of Incentivize Solutions and podTraining, T. J. has helped numerous clients enhance their service and training programs and spoken to tens of thousands of managers, franchisees and operators in various fields. Visit for more info motivating today's employees, training today's generation and delivering outstanding guest service; or , a unique new system and the foundation of ‘i-learning’ - using the device of today's generation, the iPod - to train your workforce.


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