We asked Jill Szymanski, director of franchise and real estate at Bar Louie, what the keys are to building, training, and retaining a great sales and development team at her brand. Here's what she had to say.
In building great teams, I always look back at teams I was fortunate to be a part of. When I was with Burger King in the '80s, we accomplished some seemingly insurmountable tasks in a relatively short time. What we did, how we did it, and what I learned in the process has carried with me to today. Through the years, the following time-tested principles, when implemented, usually translate into great results and happy people.
Equally important is following the Golden Rule, giving feedback, scheduling one-on-one time, and providing tools to help them succeed.
At Applebee's, I was fortunate to have an experienced team that I learned from every day. My role was more support and helping them get through roadblocks, whether with corporate, franchisees, or landlords. Communication and honesty, especially with a large field team, were integral to success.
Today at Bar Louie, we have a unique culture that is carried throughout the organization to the restaurants. It's hard to describe, but you can definitely feel it. The idea of being "supportive but truly entrepreneurial" allows us to be creative and think outside the box - to be "more than ordinary." We have the freedom to look at things from an owner perspective and design deals to fit the franchisee or the location to its environment. This is different from other organizations and one of the keys at Bar Louie that keeps our sales team happy.
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