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Your Pie franchisee: What you do for your team, pays off with your guests

 In Blog

By Ross Bradley/Your Pie franchisee

When I first considered investing in a franchise restaurant, I knew I needed to look beyond the numbers. While researching the options, I found Your Pie’s down-the-line pizza concept appealing, but I was far more interested in the culture than the concept itself.

Why? Because from my experience —both as a guest and as an employer —if you have a team of people who are excited to come into work every day, success is a natural byproduct. Brands must have great food just to survive in this fiercely competitive marketplace. But to really succeed you have to have more. You have to have a guest experience that sets you apart.

I was pleased to learn that Your Pie shares this ethos and invests heavily in creating a memorable guest experience. Having spent most of my career in the restaurant industry, I knew a great experience starts with cultivating a phenomenal team.

My business partner and I opened our first Your Pie restaurant in Snellville, Georgia more than four years ago. Since then, we’ve seen this belief affirmed time and time again, both anecdotally from our guests, and quantifiably as the brand’s first franchise to win top sales in the system for four years. As we recently prepared to open our third location, I found myself reflecting on what it means to build a strong team, so here, then are my top four takeaways.

Culture starts at the top

Strong leadership is the foundation for building a strong team. The leaders in our organization have an innate passion for developing people by recognizing their unique gifts and helping to hone those gifts into tangible skills that serve our business short-term and the employee in his or her future career. A strong team must be relentless in supporting one another.

To foster buy-in for your organization’s greater mission, start by promoting your core values as shared priorities that everyone can understand and rally behind. For us, those are service, respect, communication and organization. We use these values as the pillars of a positive guest experience, with the understanding that small things done repeatedly can result in the greatest impact.

For our team, all we ask is that they consider these values in each of their day-to-day shift tasks. What they don’t realize is that every positive interaction with a guest helps to establish a long-term relationship. If every decision we make can increase our chance to create a raving fan, we will build a loyal guest base and achieve long-term success.

Respect gets reflected

Most negative guest interactions are a reflection of some other behind-the-scenes negativity, either within the team or in the employee’s personal life. Instead of immediately reprimanding an employee, take steps to determine the root of the issue and look for a way to help. Even if you can’t solve the problem, showing your employees that you care makes them feel valued and respected. That, in turn, translates into how they treat your guests.

When a team communicates well and respects one another, they feel respected in return and subsequently honor guests in the same way. Like everything else, creating a culture of respect starts at the top and cannot happen without intentionality.

Perfect practice makes perfect

Training is the most important step to ensuring your team is equipped to perform at well. In this regard, practice doesn’t make perfect, rather perfect practice makes perfect.

At Your Pie, we do our best to instill in our team a hunger for pursuing perfection. Our managing partners lead by example. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave. A team is likely to reflect the caliber of performance seen within its leadership, so make sure your brand’s leaders are performing at the highest level because their actions affect the entire team. Likewise, high operational performance translates into satisfied, loyal guests.

Service goes beyond guests

The opportunity to participate in a culture of service is one of the main reasons I got into the food and service industry. How can you use your business as a platform to serve the community around you?

At Your Pie, we open our stores up for school field trips and we cater specifically to children with special needs. Not only do these trips imbue goodwill into the community and allow us to teach children about fresh ingredients, they also provide team members with the chance to perform extra special service, while reminding them that service is the heart of everything we do.

I strongly encourage you to seek opportunities to break from the day-to-day routine by creating some kind of impact beyond your four walls. Trust me, your team will be better for it.

In a crowded landscape of restaurant choices for guests, you can’t rely on food as your only differentiator. Your people and the culture you create provide the best opportunities to set your restaurant apart from others in your sphere.

A memorable guest experience begins and ends with exceptional guest service. That only comes from investing in, equipping and leading your team well.

Ross Bradley is a Your Pie franchise owner in Snellville, Georgia, who has subsequently opened locations in nearby Covington and Monroe. 

To hear more from Your Pie, Hassy Braggs, Director of Marketing for Your Pie, will be a panelist of the session, “Solving the Digital Marketing ROI Problem”, at the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit, March 11-13, in Louisville.

Register here for the Summit.

Republished with permission from Pizza Marketplace.

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