3 Simple Lessons from a Very Interesting Retailer

Pals-Pit-Stop-300x240I read a great article about a retailer in the US who seems to have a way to reduce the massive challenges with recruiting and managing their team. The retailer, Pal’s Sudden Service, a smallish US based fast food chain, was recently featured in a great article from William Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company magazine.

Now I’m sure you are thinking, what can I learn from a fast food retailer in the states that only has 26 outlets and just over a 1000 employees? Well quite a lot actually. Let’s look at some reasons why they are doing very well, in a highly competitive industry:

  • Lightening service – they only offer drive through, and their average order time is four times faster than their nearest competitor. Customers are through in approximately 20 seconds.
  • Staggeringly accurate – one mistake in every 3600 orders, which is ten times better than the average fast food store.
  • Staff turnover is amazingly low – for an industry well renowned for high staff turnover, particularly with the high number of casual and part time staff, Pal’s turnover is a standout. Even with 40% of their staff aged between 16 and 18, their turnover is one third of the industry average. Plus annual turnover of assistant managers is just 1.4%.

So how do they achieve these amazing statistics? Here’s some of their secrets:

  • Hiring – surprise, surprise, they hire for attitude and train for skills, our recruitment mantra. They have developed a 60 point survey to screen applicants so they have more chance of getting the right people to the interview.
  • Training – new employees receive 120 hours of training before they are allowed to work on their own. Every day, on every shift in every outlet, a computer randomly generates the names of two to four staff to be re-certified in one of their jobs – a surprise quiz. If the employee fails they get re-trained. The CEO, Thomas Crosby says “we are always training, always teaching, always coaching.”
  • Ongoing learning for their leaders – their mantra is “Leaders who are serious about hiring, also have to be serious about teaching.” Pal’s has a master reading list for all leaders in the company. Every two weeks five leaders are chosen to discuss one of the books on the master list. All leaders are expected to spend 10% of their time on teaching and to identify a target student every day.

Not too surprising how Pal’s is achieving their success when you look at what they do. A strong focus on what makes ever business successful. Hire the right people, train them well and continually challenge them to learn and put this in place on the job.

My question to you is – How well does your business hire, train and follow up?

Thanks again to William Taylor for his excellent article.

Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.