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Foodservice

7 Best Practices for Foodservice Teams

Strong business focus, hiring and managing of great people top consultant’s list

CHICAGO -- “Average is over.”

In today’s hypercompetitive foodservice space, being average is a death sentence, said Jim Sullivan, founder and CEO of Sullivision, a consultancy that works with retail or foodservice brands with at least 50 units in operation.

Average today “means you’re either best of the worst or the worst of the best,” Sullivan said.

To help operators skirt that death sentence, he detailed “7 Best Practices of Wildly Successful Foodservice Brands, Teams and Leaders” in his session at the NRA Show, with an emphasis on the first two:

  1. Focus on what you can control. How can you reduce complexity and minimize “task saturation” in your operation? You can manage that by asking vendors and advisers to help you identify redundancies. Also, keep your task list manageable. Don’t try to do 27 things well. You won’t succeed. Shoot for three things that you can do excellently.
  2. Build strong teams. You don’t build a business—you build people, and those people build the business. “Life is too short to work with a-holes,” Sullivan said. No one wants to work with such people, so how does it happen? It often starts with bad managers who hire employees who are even worse, he said. C-level managers hire D-level employees. Hire well, and that A-level manager will bring in A-level staff. Create leadership opportunities so those A-level folks can continue to rise.
  3. Serve better. “Bad service happens by itself,” Sullivan said. “Good service has to be managed.” Don’t ever get bored with the basics, he said, because doing the basics well keeps customers coming back.
  4. Sell more. This is closely tied to No. 3. The way you sell more is by keeping customers coming back, and coming back more often.
  5. Practice habitual consistency. “Persistency gets you there; consistency keeps you there,” Sullivan said. It’s critical to empower employees with the ability to solve problems, too. “Teach team members how to think instead of what to do.”
  6. Focus on execution. “Time management is dead,” Sullivan said. “We need to prioritize.” If someone says he or she doesn’t have enough time for something, it’s not important enough to that person. Also, set measurable goals, such as how you’ll get from point A to point B:  When will it happen, how will it get done and who will do it?
  7. Continuous improvement is key. “Everything is the same until it isn’t,” Sullivan said. As Generation Z comes into the workforce and everything continues to migrate onto smartphones and tablets, are you ready to evolve along with the rest of the world?

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