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Foodservice 301: Advanced Approaches

Advanced operators should be competitive about all aspects of their foodservice business, from restaurant-quality food and presentation to hospitality-minded customer service and training. Hiring employees with fast food and/or other restaurant experience is a must in order to stay ahead of the competition.


Advanced foodservice operators are seeking employees that will continue to help them elevate their foodservice offering and constantly advance standards. They are on the lookout and hiring all the time, looking for talent that will be a good cultural fit into the organization and who might bring that little extra something that will challenge the organization in a positive way, especially when hiring for supervisory and management positions.

These operators are constantly recruiting to continuously attract the best of the best; however, their turnover rates, especially at the store supervisor and manager level, are significantly lower than industry average. This is a key advantage as low turnover enables these companies to truly develop strong company and foodservice cultures, which in turn attracts high-performing employees who want to work for these types of companies.

Highly structured hiring and training processes and procedures also enable advanced foodservice operators to hire more strategically because they use myriad human resources tools including job description templates, interviewing guides, evaluation processes, training guides and an array of other supportive resources.

These established systems allow these companies to recognize bad hires very early in the process. They typically have low tolerance for low-performing employees and will release those who are unable or unwilling to step up to company standards.


Training practices that many companies aspire to and would consider "nice-to-dos" are typically central to advanced foodservice operators' training curriculum. One of these practices is re-training; these operators are continuously training and re-training. It is part of their food-service culture. It is very easy for employees to slip into old patterns of doing things if managers are not vigilant about supervision and continuous training.

They also put a heavy emphasis on food safety training to ensure full compliance at all levels of the organization. Some operators use certified training stores to "cascade training" throughout the organization, according to Minno. Certified training stores should be best-in-class with a consistent record of foodservice operational and financial performance.

"This will require that the store's foodservice layout and equipment reflect the company's latest food-service programs and all of the equipment is fully functional," Minno explained. "The store must also be fitted with all of the latest foodservice program small wares, job aides and other foodservice support tools."

"Change coaches," who are high performers and properly trained to train others, can also be useful assets, he said. "Empower change coaches to focus their efforts on changing specific operational behaviors from the current state to operational behaviors that are embedded in your company's 'best demonstrated' foodservice store operations," Minno said, noting that these individuals must be strong communicators.


A career track and attaining positions of growth in a company are extremely motivating for focused employees who want to learn and grow. Smart convenience store foodservice operators at this level have programs in place to recognize early high-potential talent for future development.

In addition, ongoing intra- and inter-store contests and challenges help keep the job fun, competitive in a healthy way, and focused on achieving important company milestones and targets.

Even operators at this level struggle to keep it fresh, and reinvigorate and modernize programs that appeal to young up-and-coming employees. It's important for companies to integrate new technologies, not only into their business, but also in the way they communicate with employees.


  • Hire employees with restaurant and hospitality experience to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Build a strong foodservice culture that permeates the organization, and training programs that support the culture.
  • Make training an ongoing process and designate training stores and high-performing employees as training coaches.
  • Motivate employees by keeping the jobs fun, competitive and focused on achieving important company milestones and targets.
  • Use up-to-date technologies to better communicate with employees and keep them up-to-date on business goals and achievements.

"Hiring managers should examine the qualities they appreciate in their star employees and look for those same qualities in future hires to build a stronger team."

— Jason Hamilton, Snagajob

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