The meeting last night lasted about three hours. The format itself changed slightly from the last one I had to attend. We started out with my SVP and his three AVPs speaking about sourcing and recruiting, which is a pretty big deal for a growth company. I don’t go into that side of the equation that much as I tend to just bitch about my employees and whatever their daily drama might be, however it is one of the biggest issues for us right now.

In the twenty years I have been with them, we have grown a thousand stores. Over the next TEN years, we plan on opening a thousand more, but the only thing that will hold us back is not having enough quality people. One of the things that they have been on us for the last couple of years is sourcing and recruiting. Obviously I am not a recruiter, but I am a damn site better judge of who can run a successful restaurant than someone NOT in the operations end anyway. That is pretty much how our upper management team feels as well. We source names, they bring ’em on board.

One of the things my SVP asked/stated last night was a question wanting to know how we can make sourcing as important as food cost/sales/profits. Pretty simple to me, base part of our pay on it. I see it coming. I don’t know if anyone else figured that one out yet or not, but it’s coming. I am going to have to start working my ass off on that one, because that is my weakest area.

Anyway, after their speeched and a short (thank god) video on leaders and leading, we ate, and then got into the role-playing. We had one of four things that we had to do, and we didn’t find out which on until we were up there. We were each paired up with an AVP (but not ours) and the situations were stuff like ‘manager waiting in line at a car rental is impressed with the assistant manager’s professional customer service, how do they recruit him’, ‘waiting in line at the bank you notice a very professional guy in line, he works a comfortable 9 to 5, how do you approach him’, ‘you run into a family friend who is laid off, how do you approach her’, and one other I don’t remember. I got the bank one.

I also got the AVP who decided he needed to be an over the top asshole. He only did it to me and one other guy, the one who is in my old store and next up for promotion after me (or instead of me when I turn down the next district is more like it). I started talking to him, and asked him if he had been in the store local to the bank. He immediately went on the offensive, asked if I didn’t remember him, and started raising hell about having burned his food. I tried to get him to come back and let us fix it, and steer the conversation to talking about him, but he wouldn’t have any of it.

By the way, we only had four minutes to introduce ourselves or ‘break the ice’, get them interested, sell them on the idea, and then wrap it up, or ‘close the deal’. In most cases this is just simply inviting them in for a cup of coffee to talk to them later, or getting their card and phone number. With something like that our recruiter will call up and tell them, “Hey, I got your name from so-and-so, they were really impressed with you, and think you would make a good addition to our team” or some bullshit like that. It works well though, and is flattering. For someone who has a good job and is not looking, that is one way to pique their interest.

Anyway, I never even got past breaking the ice. The other manager had the exact same problem and ended the role-play, but me being stubborn kept going until I ran the clock out. Fuck you, I’m not quitting just because you are making it difficult. Obviously I would never be able to recruit an individual like that, but it might be someone I could get a coupon or offer a free meal to, and get back in as a customer. It made it difficult because obviously if it was someone I ‘remembered’ he should have told me that before we started, and also because you are not going to come into my restaurant and have me burn your food four damn times. I am the best operator in the 28 stores in my area, and one of the best and fastest cooks in the system. I used to be very modest about that and would never say it, preferring to let other people say it, but the facts are the facts. If I fuck up your food I’m going to fix it then and there AND buy your damn meal as well. He just decided he needed to be an asshole to myself and one other manager to prove a point about real life.

The only problem with that is that 90% of the people in the room are new, having been with us anywhere from 3 months to five years, and the only learning experience they get from that type of situation is that they don’t want to get paired with him next time.

My Area People Director (recruiter) called me at my store at shift change last night. He told me that all of the recruiters and avp’s had their discussion and all agreed that he was way over the top. Basically apologizing to me. They didn’t have to apologize to me, but I hope they called the other manager and did the same with him. I did start getting pissed off during the four minutes I had, and I did very well to restrain myself from telling him to shut the fuck up. Not something you want to do with an AVP. I may not particularly want to advance very far anymore, but it’s not a good thing to actively piss too many people off. I like to stay under the radar and get left alone to do my job.

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