Amid a brand revitalization that includes new menu items and remodeled stores, Arby’s is also looking inward to continue its momentum. The Atlanta-based quick-service brand has offered a training program to more than 80,000 employees across 3,350 locations that not only seeks to build a culture and improve the guest experience, but to also inspire purpose in its employees.

Called Arby’s Brand Champ, the program boils down to Arby’s mission: inspiring smiles through delicious experiences.

“What we’re teaching people is to champion the Arby’s brand and to champion their own life, and that’s the split we’ve always been committed to,” says Rick Gestring, vice president of brand operations and integration. “We’ll have conversations about Arby’s because we want team members to be an active part of who we are and be a part of our success but we want to separate that from how you really matter to us; how you really matter to us is as a person.”

Here’s an inside look at the program and how Arby’s inspires its employees.

Defining a Brand Purpose

Like other companies that have distinct brand purposes, from Southwest Airlines to Apple, Arby’s seeks to instill in its employees that there is a reason behind why it exists. This reason, inspiring smiles through delicious experiences, carries through to what the brand does, which is ensure a fast crafted experience that serves, refreshes, and delights guests; and to how they do it: a make-it-right service model and living the brand values.

Arby’s doesn’t just focus on inspiring smiles from its front-counter and drive-thru employees, but from all positions within a restaurant. During the training, ambassadors lead a discussion on how every position, from the backline to the fryer, can inspire smiles for employees and guests from their workstation.

Caring About Employee Happiness

Arby’s doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that a job can be hard work and not always fun. Employees aren’t always going to be inspired or challenged; they may be bored, but the brand wants them to be happy. With the brand champ program, managers and franchisees are trained to value Arby’s employees as individuals and recognize goals and dreams that may fall outside the company.

The B.L.A.S.T. Guest Recovery Model

Arby’s believes in passing on its focus on employees to the guest through a B.L.A.S.T. Guest Recovery model that aims to recover guest satisfaction following an inaccurate order. The model stands for Believe, Listen, Apologize, Solve, Thank. During these steps, employees are advised to not question or argue with the guests, to be empathetic and considerate, to solve the problem for the guest, and apologize and to thank the guest for bringing it to the employee’s attention.

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