Results matter – by Jeff Lookabill

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jeff Lookabill.  I have made Salisbury, Maryland my home for the last 20 years.  I have a beautiful wife by the name of Angela who raises our three boys, Ethan (13), Austin (11), and Evan, soon-to-be 8.  Running a restaurant is a hard job, but what my wife has to endure on a daily basis is probably the hardest job of all!  I turned 50 years old this year, so you can imagine I have worked for a lot of concepts and learned from every one of them.  This crazy restaurant adventure started at a McDonald’s when I was 16 years old.  After high school, I attended Johnson & Wales University in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina and continued my food service journey for the last 35 years.

I have been told for the last 5 years that Results Matter.  When tasked to communicate a Monday Morning Message on the topic I thought to myself, “What actually is a result?”

Webster’s defines a result as: “Something that happens as a consequence; outcome.”  Then I asked myself what type of person do results matter to?  People like me?  It’s funny because in the weeks that followed Bobby asking me to write something on Results Matter, I recalled that in 2015 I was asked to write a MMM on the same topic.  Coincidence?  I think the RESULTS speak for themselves.  Here is my post from 2015. In our case, I think consistent results have lead to 5 years of success! (And sales increases!)

“It is no secret Team Salisbury gets results.  We have consistently produced positive results from opening day.  It is a culture we have had in place since day one.  The backbone of this success has been a solid management team and well-trained employees, two key factors in creating and maintaining this culture.  Like most of the policies and procedures put in place from day one not running overtime was one of them.  For the most part, we had a fresh management team that didn’t really know any better.  There were doubters but, with our early success, they quickly became believers.  I knew it could work.  I had made it work in other concepts and I knew this one would be no different.  Obviously taking care of our guests is our first priority.  If that means we have to run a couple hours over time in a given week, that is what’s going to happen. It’s the big picture that gets us our results.

Being Staffed is the first ingredient in our success.  I know you have heard it over and over.  It’s like beating a dead horse but it’s just a fact!  A fact you have to live with if you want to make this a reality in your unit.  Staffing should be the General Managers AOR.  Always tell yourself you’re not staffed.  Staffing can’t take a week off. It somehow has to be incorporated into your daily routine.  Line check, QSC, People Matter…….everyday.

I think the second key ingredient in our success is simply this- Be a Great Place to Work!  Does your staff like working with you?  Are you an A-Hole?  Is your management team on the same page?  Is the restaurant a completely different place when you’re not in it?  There is nothing wrong with your staff liking you.  While we may have Standard Operating Procedures in place it doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to earn your staff’s respect.  Be compassionate.  Do your team members a favor once and a while.  Know their kid’s names and ask about them from time to time.  Have a sense of humor.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  I’m not saying be walked on, just reciprocate.  Yes, it’s a job. Y es, they get paid.  Yes, they work for you.  I’m just saying, they don’t always have to feel that way.  They should know they are an important part of the team.  They do matter.  Thank them after every shift.

Lastly, review your team members’ hours on a daily basis.  CTUIT is a great tool if you print the proper roster report.  You must also have accurate out times for your team members.  If you’re waiting till Saturday to deal with overtime issues, your two days too late.  And if you’re understaffed, it’s not going to matter anyway- you have no one to cover the shift!

Captain Obvious stated this is not something that can happen overnight.  But if there is any hope of someday reaching your no overtime goals, you have to have a plan in place.  Set goals, measure goals, work your plan.  It can be done.  I promise.”

That is it!  My message from 3 years ago is the same as it is now.  And guess what? People listened!  Look at overtime numbers from 3 years ago to now.  The only one up in overtime percentage is us!  I think the success of any operation is a direct indication of their results.  Motivation, Time Management, and Productivity are key factors.  I can safely say that getting results has always been a part of my story.

What’s your Story?