Friday, December 04, 2009

Red Lobster needs a transfusion

Below are some ideas/quotes from the book The Starbucks Experience. Many of these illustrate quite painfully why Red Lobster's senior management really needs an infusion of quality and creativity. In spite of being 3 years old every Red Lobster manager should get a copy of this book.

  • “People want to do the right thing, they want to create and offer quality things, they want to do good in the world, and if you give them the opportunity and the resources to do so, they will shine.”
  • “Starbucks consistently spends more on training than it does on advertising.”
  • “I have worked in horrible places, and it’s hard to do a good job when you hate the company.”
  • “What are you doing to encourage the discovery of the unique needs of those whom you and your colleagues serve?”
  • “Rather than waiting for cues from the home office, everyone at Starbucks is charged with searching for new and better ideas for meeting and exceeding customer needs.”
  • “Leadership has created the expectation that partners are to be involved in improving Starbucks and has gone the extra step of creating a culture in which partners expect to be heard when they offer ideas.”
  • “While great leaders spend most of their time looking at big-picture, strategic opportunities, they cannot overlook the systems and training necessary to ensure the quality of every aspect of the company’s products, services, and processes.”
  • “When the economy turns bad or business hits a rough patch, training and education budgets suffer. This short-term financial fix often compromises the long-term health of the company.”
  • “Starbucks leadership understands that playful and positive work environments produce vital and engaged staff members.”
  • “Every company’s brand, is nothing more than the sum total of the individual actions its people take.”
  • “Consumers want the predictable and consistent, with an occasional positive twist or added value thrown in.”
  • “Many companies focus too much on the basic ingredients and not enough on adding that extra something that differentiates them from their competition and builds brand loyalty.”
  • “With consistency comes customer trust. Consumers gain stability when they know that they can depend on having a reliable experience.”
  • “If, at the end of each day, you and your colleagues have invested the extra energy to delight others rather than simply satisfy them, you will ultimately be rewarded with extraordinary results.”
  • “Because of the amazing diversity found within this country, some communities may have unique requirements that are quite different from those of neighborhoods only a few miles away.”
  • “We are often too close to our own ideas to objectively evaluate their viability.”


Moose said...

Before you drink the kool-aid, er, coffee, remember to apply a few cans of salt a la Dilbert.

Some years ago I had to go through "quality management"-type training. One day they showed us this long video about all the innovations that various companies had come up with to ensure their success, from stuff like "think outside the box" or "everyone has great ideas that are worth listening to" or "the bosses are accountable to even the little peons" or "in a crisis everyone pitches in, top to bottom" or "always listen to what your customer wants and give it to them", etc. etc. etc. At the time I was really impressed.

Not long after finishing the "training" I found out that EVERY one of the companies on that video had gone under at least a year before.

Yeah, Starbucks is still going strong, as is Darden. But feel-good words in a book or even in a training session does not make good management.

I'm really convinced that good managers are just born that way. You can train monkeys all you want, you can slap the titles on random people you want to succeed, but if they don't have the common sense, business instinct, and the ability to work with other people, you might as well just throw bananas at them.

That's just my unhumble opinion.

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Cody Mac said...

When you say:
"In spite of being 3 years old every Red Lobster manager should get a copy of this book.", do you mean that every RL manager is 3 years old?

Lobster Boy said...

Yes Mitch, all RL managers are 3 years old. Thank you for asking for that clarification, it was really helpful. I'm sure many people share that same question.

Lobster Boy

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

There's a restaurant chain in the Boston area named Cosi. I was in there and all the help was jolly and happy. No tips. It's a get your food and sit and throw your tray on the top of the trash thingy. But, it's really nicely done and clean with good HOT food.
I happened to wander into an adjoining room and there was a video food shoot in progress. The man overseeing it spoke to me and it turned out that he is the owner/manager and he dropped this nugget. Told me that the employees are the voice of the business and if they aren't happy, neither will the customers be. I was impressed.

Unknown said...

a couple of months ago, my old red lobster had "management evaluation surveys" delivered to us, and everyone had to fill out a survey. The questions were along the lines of "My managers respect my feelings" and "My managers treat everyone equally". Well, my Red Lobster did not do well on these surveys AT ALL. Our "owner" actually came out to talk to a number of employees about our general manager because the number of complaints was ridiculous. Then, I transferred to a different Red Lobster (Saginaw, Michigan) and it was WORSE and I missed the terrible managers in Mount Pleasant. That's sad.