Industry News | July 16, 2010

Fast Food Management Is Harder Than You Think

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Fast food does not enjoy the greatest reputation among the foodservice and retail segments, but one husband-and-wife duo is trying to rid the world of its stereotypes—and train quick-serve managers at the same time.

Scott and Kelly Anderson recently released a book, Flip-N-Burgers: Our Guide to Success in Restaurant Management, that they coauthored in hopes of proving to the management world the intricacies of the quick-service realm.

“We’re very complex compared to a lot of businesses where managers manage, because we manufacture and sell our product in the same four walls and have to do it so quickly,” Kelly Anderson says.

“I think the tips that work in our business can only benefit someone in another type of industry as well. It’s a very simple guide for success for any type of manager, definitely an entry-level manager.”

Though the book does help any type of business manager, the Andersons say it is specifically geared for quick-service managers.

The Andersons work for a 13-store Wendy’s franchise in Oregon and California that is owned by relatives. They have a combined 43 years of experience in the restaurant business, Kelly primarily in the human resources realm of the industry, Scott in the operational.

“What we did is with our expertise—Scott’s operational background, my human resources background, plus all the years Scott and I have under our belts specifically in the restaurant industry—we put together a very simple guide to restaurant management,” Kelly says.

“It’s easy to read, the way it’s written; it’s very basic, very concise, it’s a resource even I’ve gone back to and used three or four times since I wrote it.”

Chapters in Flip-N-Burgers focus on topics such as cleanliness, training and development, planning and organization, and career opportunities.

At a short 124 pages, Flip-N-Burgers is a blow-by-blow account of how to manage in “bite-size pieces,” Kelly says.

“We’ve used the words condensed and on-the-go,” Scott Anderson says. “It reads as a book. However, if you’re going to have a managers meeting or you’ve got a topic like goal-setting or planning or communication or something you want to focus on, within that chapter you may very well find bullet points and things to consider and process.”

“A lot of people can’t afford, depending on the size of the restaurant, to have an HR person on staff or maybe they don’t have an area director or district manager or someone who is giving them support and help along the way,” Kelly says. “This is really cheap advice, so it’s really quite a value when you think about that.”

And though the Andersons hope their book can be beneficial for managers, the message they’re trying to get across is one that managers may already know: despite the stereotypes, the fast food business is hard work.

“The reason for the title and the cover … is because when it gets out there, we’re not embarrassed, we’re proud of what we do,” Kelly says. “We are what burger flippers look like. … We’re trying to hit a stereotype straight on.”

By Sam Oches