“Welcome to another episode of The Restaurant Prescription™ Podcast a show dedicated to talking about ailments that plague the restaurant industry, we’ll serve the issues up on the plate, discuss the symptoms and we’ll give you the prescription for the cure.”
“This week we’re going to talk about how leadership and employee engagement has a bigger impact on the bottom line than most people realize. It’s very easy caught up in day-to-day operations, managing reports, interacting with customers, marketing, and the hundreds of other functions and details that it takes to operate a restaurant.
Seeing how restaurant turnover is higher than most other industries, smart operators need to understand the value and impact of creating engaged employees. They also need to understand how important it is to teach and train the people on their team to become leaders.
To help me find a cure for this I am very honored to welcome Kelley Jones to the show. Kelley’s resume reads like an epic bio:
With offices in New York City and Las Vegas. His ventures include Swinton Social in Delray Beach, Florida; Pulse Ultra Lounge in Dallas, Texas; bb’s kitchen in Aspen, Colorado and The Arden in Port Jefferson, New York. Kelley has been retained by ITV Studios to create “Hell’s Kitchen the restaurant” which ITV plans to roll out internationally.
Jones instructed the culture training for all managers and team members at Madison Square Garden, LA Forum, Chicago Theater, Beacon Theater and Radio City Music Hall. He is working with teams at Newark Airport for OTG Management and Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Jones is launching “Dinner in the Sky,” part culinary experience/part thrill ride, in Las Vegas in 2015.
Jones opened Hops & Harvest with partners Bradley and Bryan Ogden, an American farm to table comfort food concept featuring numerous craft beer and draught wine selections. He also partnered with Chef Angelo Sosa on Poppy Den an Asian gastro-pub with authentic flavors and handpicked ingredients, and retained Sosa as his culinary consultant at The Malibu Inn on Malibu Beach, California.
Previously he partnered with chef Geoffrey Zakarian at Tudor House and HIGHBAR on Miami’s South Beach and opened Todd English Pub in Las Vegas. He created Suite & Tender at the Se Hotel in San Diego and Eden on Miami’s South Beach, both with Chef Christopher Lee.
Jones’ hospitality background includes work with the following enterprises:
Light Group – Jones was President of the Light Group, one of the nation’s leading nightlife, restaurant and lifestyle development organizations, based in Las Vegas.
Starr Restaurant Organization – Jones was the Vice President of Restaurant Operations for Starr Restaurant Organization (SRO), a multi-concept fine dining Restaurant Company with 16 restaurants operating in Philadelphia, New York and Atlantic City, N.J. Jones oversaw the day-to-day operations of a diverse portfolio of food-focused restaurant concepts including some of the industries most recognized brands. Among them are Buddakan, Striped Bass, Morimoto (with the original Iron Chef), Continental, Alma de Cuba, Barclay Prime, Pod, El Vez and numerous others.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant Group – Jones was Vice President of Restaurant Operations for Kimpton, a collection of stylish, independent lifestyle hotels coupled with fine chef-driven restaurants.
China Grill Management – Jones served as the Director of Development and Operations for China Grill Management, New York. In this capacity, Jones led the development and opening teams on numerous restaurant and club concepts including China Grill, rumjungle, Red Square, Asia de Cuba, Spoon, Tuscan Steak and Blue Door in cities across the globe including New York, London, Mexico City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.
And with all that….Kelley welcome to the show….
What does your company Kelley Jones Hospitality focus on?
Kelley Jones Hospitality is a multifaceted hospitality consulting and management company specializing in freestanding and mixed-use food and beverage complexes, entertainment venues, nightlife, hotel and facility operations. Kelley Jones offers a wide range of personnel, professional and business solutions for the hotel, restaurant, night life and hospitality industries. KJH provides turnkey solutions, managing existing properties, revitalizing struggling outlets and delivering new concepts, all of which create the opportunity for hotels or marquee commercial property owners to offer their guests the most desired brands in the marketplace.
A public speaker and corporate trainer, Kelley is often retained to provide training programs, team building and speaking engagements to companies looking to gain a competitive edge where strategies are developed to accommodate market conditions and achieving the goals of our clients.
Your Experience with the Ailment
“Kelley, what is the effect of not having a strong employee engagement and leadership?
Culture starts at the top. There is a great quote by Maya Angelo, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It how you make people feel.
Reverse your organizational chart. In my company, my partners and I are on the bottom…our team comes first.
Remember the 4 Golden Rules of Hospitality:
1. Look at me
2. Smile at me.
3. Talk to me.
4. Thank me.
We need to stop using the word “customer”. Customers equates a transaction. Amazon has customers. Restaurants have guests and while the guest is not always right, they do need to leave feeling satisfied.
What are some key points to increase employee engagement?
1. Training – it starts with the interview process, checking references, making sure you value their time.
2. Have a succession plan. You have to have a plan for your team to grow.
3. Stay engaged with the team. “Managers light a fire under people, while leaders light a fire within people.”
All these things are easier when you start a restaurant. “It’s easier to birth than to resurrected.”
How can a restaurant turn people into leaders?
1. Help you team get better skills (coaching is a great way to develop managers into leaders –db)
2. Explain the Why & the What – lead by example
3. Get constant feedback.
4. Recognize the good. “Find what’s right & reward it. Find what’s wrong & fix it.”
Self-awareness is the key! How are you showing up?
Take This and Call Us in the Morning
“What one piece of advice would you tell your younger self?”
To listen more and talk less.
Understand emphatic listening.
DB – Here are 5 tips for Emphatic Listening
Empathetic Listening is a technique which can help you manage and avoid disruptive and assaultive behaviors. The foundation of the technique can be summarized in 5 simple steps.
1. Provide the speaker with your undivided attention. This is one time “multi-tasking” or “rapid refocus” will get you in trouble.
2. Be non-judgmental. Don’t minimize or trivialize the speakers issue.
3. Read the speaker. Observe the emotions behind the words. Is the speaker angry, afraid, frustrated or resentful. Respond to the emotion as well as the words.
4. Be Quiet. Don’t feel you must have an immediate reply. Often if you allow for some quiet after the speaker has vented, they themselves will break the silence and offer a solution.
5. Assure your understanding. Ask clarifying questions and restate what you perceive the speaker to be saying.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. – Stephen R. Covey
“If success was a recipe. What 3 ingredients would you say have to be in there?”
Well, I would start off by saying, “Success is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is the result of experience. Experience is the result of bad judgment.”
1. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to make a few. Look at your online reviews and react. Make improvements that can improve the guests experience.
2. Educate yourself. (you can tell by Kelley’s ability to recite quotes and his wealth of knowledge that reading and continuing to improve himself is a big part of his success. –db)
3. Be nimble. If it does not work change it. If that does not work, change it. If that does not work, change it. Keep making adjustments until you get the results you want.
Any upcoming projects? You do public speaking and seminars how can people contact you?
Lots of new projects in Vegas, one with Chef Alex Stratta.
“ Thanks again to Kelley Jones for ways you can get your staff more engaged with your business. Notes from the podcast and the links to all we discussed today can be found on the podcast. You can also find the podcast now on iTunes!
We know that finding the right person for the job is key to restaurant success. But after you’ve gone beyond finding the right fit restaurant owners and operators need to understand that employee engagement does matter. There’s tons of data out there that indicate that high employee engagement is actually critical to a company’s performance.
The Gallup organization conducts research into employee engagement and the effects it has on a company with some stunning results.
37% lower absenteeism
25% lower turnover (in high turnover organizations like restaurants)
65% lower turnover (in low turnover organizations)
28% less shrinkage or theft
48% fewer safety incidents
10% higher scores on customer service
21% higher productivity
and 22% higher profitability
Those are some serious numbers that any restaurant could benefit from having applied to their bottom line.
And with that we’ll sign off.
Listen to the complete episode here or listen on iTunes or Stitcher Radio!by