Training is Tangible, Not Theoretical.

October 4th, 2019 by

Our Training Department recently achieved a huge milestone, one that was several years in the making. When we initially launched our online training portal, Goodcents University, at our annual conference in November of 2015, the goal was to maintain 85% completion as a system of the Basic Operations Training courses. At conference last year, we were at 50% completion. On August 13th of this year, we had achieved 62% completion, a then-record. To test our Training Consultants and our franchisees, we set out to achieve our multi-annual goal. Today, we have 92% of our system certifiably trained.  

We are true believers in People First Communication (PFC). Believing in PFC means giving the receiver of your message the benefit of the doubt and pursuing multiple channels of communication. One size and style does not fit all. Did you get my email?” does no good for anyone and can be detrimental to the franchisee/franchisor relationship. Some people require a physical presence and a pat on the back, others need follow up phone calls and still some are fine with an emoji-laden text. We decided we would do all that was necessary to “meet” every franchisee and provide the assistance they needed. This included: 

  • In-depth reporting of all crew members, including registering new users and beginning their training journey 
  • Working crew member shifts to provide time for them to sit down and go through training 
  • Crew incentive competitions with prizes up to $100 for completion of training 
  • One-on-one training with franchisees and managers demonstrating how to manage the online training platform  

This push for training is not merely for a vanity metric. We hope to see a greater increase in employee retention and a decrease in cost of goods sold with proper portioning. Most importantly, we have already begun to see a material change in the guest experience. Using our digital and social partner MomentFeed, we were able to track our average review ratings on Google and Facebook, as well as the change in ratings for specific keywords.  

We have seen our average rating improve from a 4.22 earlier this year to a 4.33 since the beginning of August, 4.48 in the last two weeks as of writing. Reviews containing the word “service” specifically have increased from an average rating of 3.83 to 4.24, 4.56 in the last two weeks. This focus is reflected in hundreds of reviews. That training effort has improved how our guests feel going through the Goodcents experience, and that positive experience has led to our organization experience double-digit growth.  

Well-trained employees are comfortable in their position, empowering them to focus on the hospitality that makes a 5-star experience, and that comfort increases crew member retention.  We are proud of our training team Todd Anderson, Brian Messmer and Blake Ballinger for their efforts. We are also thankful that our franchisee community worked together with us to achieve this goal and set the precedent for continued success.  

A Score That Matters

August 20th, 2019 by

How can we say objectively why any given restaurant in our system is performing the way it is? It’s easy to say we “feel” a certain way about the environment of a restaurant and why it may be over or under performing, but it is hard to provide assistance or guidance to solve a “feeling” without information to back it up. Not to mention feelings are not always right. Our solution was a big one: create a scorecard to rank our restaurants. At first glance, this seems a little detached and impersonal, but what it has done is remove any personal bias on the part of us or the franchisee and provided independent, candid feedback on actual performance. The scorecard is based on the following inputs: 

  1. Comp transactions 
  2. Profitability based on a current P&L
  3. Average online review score in the previous 90 days pulled through our social and digital partner MomentFeed
  4. Guest relations complaints per 10,000 transactions 
  5. Goodcents University completion percentage 
  6. Ace Mystery Shopping score average in the previous 90 days 
  7. Most recent EcoSure 200-point audit score 

These inputs speak to three specific aspects of the business: profitability, guest experience and operations efficiency. Each input is appropriately weighted and feeds into a final score that highlights the greatest areas of opportunity for every individual restaurant, ranking them in order from least to greatest number of opportunities. What this unbiased information from mostly external sources has allowed us to do is cut through slack and implement a more specified plan of attack for each location.  

If your only solution is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The scorecard has created new opportunities for us to expand our toolbelt as a franchisor and support solutions to the solve the varied opportunities problems from location to location with focused, intentional activity. We can praise operationally sound crew members, managers and franchisees and focus more heavily on generating new traffic to their business. We can provide targeted training for crews who may have had difficulty making time to engage in our training procedures, preparing them to make lifelong customers out of each new guest. 

Another benefit of using the scorecard is we can actively track improvement and decline. It’s a wonderful feeling being able to share in the excitement our partners feel when they work diligently to improve their scores. While it is not as fun to talk through a regression, those are the conversations that must take place to progress, and with the scorecard there is a clear direction for that progression.  Focused feedback and intentional support have been our bread and butter this year. With positive year-to-date comp sales and improved year-to-date comp labor, we are excited to see continued growth and better even performance in the future.