Tag Archives: managers red book

Manager’s Red Book Goes Digital

digital RB

For the last several months, we’ve been talking about and beta-testing our new Digital Red Book product, and I was really excited when I saw it get launched for “GA” (general availability) earlier this month.  The DRB, as we affectionately call it in house, is based on the Manager’s Red Book, which has been helping restaurants run more efficiently for more than 20 years.  When I was initially introduced to the Manager’s Red Book, I only mildly impressed, which only goes to show how little I knew about it.  Turns out, those books are a huge (and I mean HUGE) improvement over most shift management systems, and for good reason.  Not only do they consolidate tons of pieces or random paper, including notes between managers, employee requests off, maintenance details, personnel performance information and more, they can also be custom built for each brand so that the tasks and check lists are specific to the location.  Awesome!

We then took all this customization and consolidation of information to the next level by taking it online.  The Digital Red Book app is a highly customized online shift management solution that you can download right from the iTunes store.  We’ll set it all up for you (it takes us about a day to do that) so that when you login, you are using the DRB custom built just for you. Managers can collect and store all the same information they would in the books, such as – temperature checks, store deposits, sales info, etc.  Then they can track it, assign it, and comment on it. Once data is input, it’s stored there forever, so you can search for it later using simple keywords or phrases.  At the corporate level, users can login and see how stores are performing, review notes, see uploaded pictures and videos and more.  And they can see all that as soon as the data is entered – real-time, instantly.

The icing on the cake with this cool app is the iPad and uber tough enclosure you can get with it.  It takes ruggedized to a whole new level – to “kitchenized”.  Drop it, slop on it, spill on it, and like a Timex, it keeps on ticking.

I’ve been working in the “technology for restaurants” business for several years now, and I’m pretty excited and impressed by this incredible new tool. Take the Digital Red Book for a test drive and see if you aren’t as enthusiastic as I am!

Mary Kay Hyde | Sr. Director of Marketing & Communities| Red Book Connect


Five Companies with One Mission

It has been about a year since Red Book Connect brought together 5 companies that focused on hiring, training and scheduling employees, inventory management, business intelligence, loyalty programs, and shift management solutions.  Though we’ve been featured in a lot of news stories since then, I thought I’d provide an insider view of what’s been happening.

First, we hired an amazing CEO and leadership team.  Larry Abramson, our CEO, came over from Oracle, and he is committed, passionate and scary smart.  Additional great minds soon followed to assemble a powerhouse of thinkers, leaders and doers. We’re also hiring like crazy under each of these new leaders.  If you’re looking for work and want to join an amazing company that is rocketing to the moon, check out our careers page!

Second, we held onto great leaders and team members that were already in place.  Sure, we had a little bit of natural attrition, but the team that built the original companies – the ones that know the products inside and out and have spent years building relationships with our customers – are still here, in leadership positions helping to drive us to the top.

Third, we started focusing on platform integration in earnest.  Most of our products can already be accessed with a single sign-on, but we hadn’t done so much to make them look and feel like an integrated whole.  We’re doing that now and the UX/UI team is having a blast.  Watch for more to come later this year!

Finally, we launched the digital version of our Manager’s Red Book earlier this year.  It’s an amazing shift management app that makes creating a consistently flawless guest experience easier and the perfect shift more attainable.

This is all just the very beginning. We’re moving fast to enhance the most amazing suite of restaurant technology apps ever known to this industry or any other. Just wait til you see what’s coming next!


Mary Kay Hyde | Sr. Director of Marketing & Communities| Red Book Connect

Does the Word “Technology” Scare You?

Many people fear the word “technology”.  I know I used to (and admittedly sometimes still do), and here I am working for a software technology company.  Bizzare, right?


The connotation of “technology” used to mean “complicated” and still does to many.  However, maybe it isn’t the actual word that scares us, but the fear of an unfamiliar change in process.  Take the washer and dryer, for example. It’s a lot simpler and easier to use a washer and dryer than scrubbing clothes on a washboard and pinning them up on a line to dry.  What about Microsoft Outlook Contacts?  It’s a lot more efficient than using a Rolodex.  Technology companies have also realized that in order to sell their products, it needs to be simple, efficient, and user-friendly.  Even the new smart phones sold today are a lot easier and user-friendly than the smart phones sold just a few years ago.  My six year old can pick up my phone and figure out how to use it faster than I can.  That is because I have a mindset like many that it’s got to be harder than it is, when my six year old has no preconceived notions about it.

The restaurant industry, which has historically been slow to adopt technology, is now beginning to accelerate their technology adoption rate.  Why?  First, restaurants are realizing that technology can help them compete with other businesses.  For example, just the other day my husband and I decided to stop at a restaurant for lunch before heading to our daughter’s dance recital.  We were running a bit late and were concerned we wouldn’t have time to eat.  I then remembered a restaurant nearby that had the technology to order online through my smartphone (thank goodness for smartphone technology).  As my husband was driving, I ordered our lunch online and by the time we got to the restaurant, our food was ready.  We made the recital in plenty of time.  The reason I chose that particular restaurant was specifically due to their online ordering system.

The second reason for the acceleration in technology adoption is that restaurant owners and operators are looking for new ways to offset the costs of food and fuel, which always seem to be on the rise.  In fact, on average, wholesale food prices have jumped over 30% in the past 6 years.  So what can you do to control costs?  Try using technology solutions that will reduce your labor or operational costs.  Examples of technologies that can help in this regard include:

1)      Employee scheduling solutions, like HotSchedules, which can reduce labor costs through forecasting, overtime alerting and punctuality controls.

2)      Online or paperless hiring systems, such as GoHire, that can help reduce paper and printing costs, reduce ICE audit risks (and associated costs) and help you identify tax credit benefits.

3)      Social learning platforms, such as Schoox, which save employee and trainer time, and reduce the need to print training materials.  They also help reduce employee turnover and lead to a better trained staff.

4)      Performance and standardization systems, such as the Manager’s Red Book, now with a digital version that helps ensure all locations run in the same streamlined, efficient manner.

5)      Inventory management and business intelligence reporting solutions, such as Macromatix, which help you control financials and cash management, reduce stock counts and decrease inventory to actual vs. theoretical levels.

As restaurateurs recognize that technology can and is improving operations and helping their peers successfully expand, the trend toward technology implementation in the industry will continue to increase.  So, the next time you hear the word, “technology”, embrace it!  Change that preconceived connotation in your mind from “scary” or “complex” to “efficient” and “easier”.  It can greatly change your business and your life for the better!

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Street Smarts Approach to Customer Acquisition

Do you believe in the perfect sales person? I don’t. But I work with someone who comes pretty darn close. Her nickname is “the queen”. Not because she’s elite – quite the opposite. She takes her job seriously, but not herself. And she exquisitely works with clients and associates – making them all feel glad, yes glad, for the interaction with her. She loves what she does, so she solves versus sells.

Finding that next client or customer is an adventure, or at least it can be if we’re willing to put up with the detours. Sure, there is the theory and then there is the “street smart” practice.

The theory is that managers who create a framework to grow sales use it as a stepping stone to make their business successful. In the Power of 3, Red Book Solutions aptly notes that revenue growth requires three things – customer acquisition, loyalty and profitability.

About getting that next new client, Morton, Higgins and Evans in their book “Building a Successful Selling Organization” suggests the following:

  • Set a clear, actionable sales agenda – Have individual ownership and accountability toward new client development.
  • Make selling a definable, repeatable, results-oriented process – Understand your “best practices” approach to attracting new customers and standardize the process.
  • Be customer-focused – Speak from the client perspective. Neuro Marketing teaches us that ultimately everyone is listening with a filter that “it is all about me”. This is never truer than with a potential client.
  • Align with the voice of the customer – Develop relationships and opportunities, not just transactions. Ask, listen, and most importantly, learn.
  • Have a conversation about perceived value, not selling – Have a compelling value proposition that aligns with the customer’s expectations.  The customer will appreciate your solutions-based orientation versus the hard-sell.

But as important as it is to have a sales framework, some of the most important lessons aren’t taught.  Here are some other “street smart” approaches you should consider in order to attract new customers.

Your attitude is important. Stay upbeat no matter what happens. People respond to your positive energy and outlook.

Everyone smiles in the same language.  One of the most powerful things you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them.
Take rejection head on. Rejection is a part of the business of selling. Accept it and don’t take it personally. You’ve heard it before – to get the yeses, you must hear the nos.

You don’t always win.  Handling disappointment and adversity is a mark of performance.  Achievers focus on the next part of the adventure, not the detours.

I am reminded of a story from Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin Group who said, “My mother always taught me never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me… A setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”

I believe “the queen” would concur, smiling all the way!

By, Debra Koenig, President of B2A Consulting | 30 years of experience as a  business executive with leadership and consulting skills in Fortune 500 and private equity portfolio companies.

Manager Confidence: Off the Charts or Lower than Low?

    Your employees and your customers can smell fear. When you are unsure of your prowess as a manager don’t fool yourself everyone can tell—and they’ll take advantage of it purposefully or just because they can. When you second guess every decision, every action you sabotage the very essence of what it means to be an effective manager.  You’ll find the people you deal with only following your lead when it comes to questioning your direction.

Building confidence doesn’t happen overnight and has to be constantly nurtured to maintain it for the long haul. No matter what your philosophies on management are, you have to agree, exuding confidence is a must. Take note on how to strengthen yours:

  1. Work with integrity. Take the responsibility for the energy you bring.
  2. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths work on your weaknesses.
  3. Determine your own core values. Stand by them so people around you can trust what you stand for.
  4. Don’t second guess yourself. Make a decision, move forward, learn from mistakes, and celebrate wins.
  5. Over prepare to stay ahead of the game. You’re the leader because you are supposed to have the answers. Make sure you do. Research, test, educate, role-play, envision… so on.

Don’t get overconfident. Faking it ‘til you make it will only take you so far. There are situations that will occur over and over again that will test you and rock your confidence to the core. Recovering from these must happen fast for not only your benefit but also anyone else you come in contact with. If you outline the items above and check-in regularly, you will be more likely to bounce back from the basic confidence killers that seem to go hand-in-hand with being a manager.

It always surprises me how willing we are to follow the person who has the most confidence in their direction. Right or wrong. I remember backpacking with a guy who acted like he was the expert navigator. We hit a fork in the path and instead of consulting the map he said with conviction, “We go this way to get to the water fall.” I remember saying,” I could’ve sworn we were supposed to head south,” but given that he was the keeper of the map and due to how he assured me he was correct—we went his way. Well ironically Lost Creek Wilderness stood by its name, and we found ourselves retracing our tracks a good 3 miles back in the pitch dark. I can tell you from one to many experiences that false confidence damages all leadership. Authenticity will always bring you the highest rewards.

That is why taking the time and thought to build your confidence will take you and your team to the next level. And as always, striving to be better than yesterday is just more fun and more fulfilling. So try this one on for size.

By, Shiloh Kelly, Vice President of Marketing, Red Book Solutions | 20+ years Cross Industry Experience | Corporate Marketing and National Sustainability Lead, BlueLinx |Chief Strategic and Creative Officer, Limelight Advertising | Strategic Marketing Manager, Vail Resorts

Negotiation Skills that Make Good Managers Better

Negotiating and the “Art of the Deal” are not new. We do this every day in multiple ways, from arranging services for our homes to renegotiating a business lease.

Recently, this subject has increased in popular attention. One example is the new television
show “Market Warriors” where four experts are given money to purchase items at antique markets, presumably for a steal, and then try to resell them for a profit. Another is that there are an increasing number of experts lending their voices to this hot topic.

Last week I attended the International Franchise Association’s Executive Leadership Conference and had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Victoria Medvec, a Professor at the Kellogg School and a prominent lecturer. She has developed a 10 step process that covers familiar ground but with added new tactics I found especially interesting.

Negotiation is a two-phase process beginning with Preparation and proceeding to Execution. Dr .Medvec repeatedly emphasized the importance of work done in advance of the actual face-to-face exchange.  It’s vital to have clear ideas about both your position and that of the person you are negotiating with. You may be familiar with the process of making detailed lists of the desires you have and concessions you are willing to make, and then weighting them by what’s most and least important to both parties.  Do your homework.

In all cases, there are several issues that should be considered for both parties.  It’s helpful to develop scenarios and then rank them. This involves understanding the extremes – most wanted and least acceptable. Find the BATNA for each side. BATNA refers to the “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” The other end of the continuum, Reservation Point, is at what point in the discussion you are willing to “walk away”– meaning it’s not worthwhile to continue as there are no longer any benefits to you. At the end of this phase you should have at least four benchmarks, BATNAs and Reservation Points for both parties.

Now it is on to execution. There are several strategies to help you attain a favorable deal.

The first tip is to include several items in a package to improve the possibility for trade-offs and a more complete, acceptable deal.  Having more options in the mix enhances the chance for a deal because you have more potential for contingencies and space to negotiate.

A second tip is called the Anchoring Move.  There are mixed opinions about this strategy but I tend to agree with Dr. Medvec.  This involves which side goes first to make their initial offer or proposal.  Some argue that this is a weak play because it divulges your position too early and you might be forced to make further concessions. To the contrary, you should present a position built upon a thoroughly explained and detailed rationale.  This method creates a centering “anchor” for the entire discussion, rather than a starting point and a downward spiral. Indeed, “he or she who makes the first offer wins.”

A third tactic is called Concession Room.  It builds on the previous two points. When you develop a package proposal, it is advantageous to include items that vary in importance. Some will be essential to the discussion, while others could be “throw-ins.” As a result, your “package” presents you with more opportunities to be flexible and enhance your outcome. For example, in negotiations it is common to request more than you really expect to get—your BATNA. Some situations lend themselves to making outrageous demands with your Concession Room, or BATNA, as your fall back. Concessions are regarded favorably and encourage others to feel as though they are winning.

So what’s really the “art of the deal?” The answer, quite simply, is that it is a process that has two important phases. To avoid haggling or a stalemate, do your homework and follow the tips on execution. You’ll find yourself more often than not in the winner’s circle to the key issues that matter to you.

By, Debra Koenig, President of B2A Consulting | 30 years of experience as a  business executive with leadership and consulting skills in Fortune 500 and private equity portfolio companies.

Breaking Process with Real Life Training

First, we hire. Then we train on processes designed before the person was even with the company. Finally, we let our employees go free, continuing to implement the processes on their own.

Processes are great. They allow us to define job roles, always know the next step and tie up loose ends. However, those processes can take on a life of their own and employees find loop holes – or rather short cuts, that can be detrimental to the organization’s real goals.

After the training process is over, when should you check in with that person to make sure they are using, and remember, all of the tools you gave them to do their job?

Real life may have changed since the position was defined. It’s important to check in with your employees to determine what they think should change based on what they do every day. Are the scripts they were trained with relevant? What road blocks are they encountering that weren’t discussed in training?

Your job as a manager is to assist in making your employees better. Challenging your employees to improve their job is a great way to retain a great employee. Continuing training throughout employment will not only make your employees better, but it increases productivity and decreases turnover rates. Whether it’s retraining an employee on a program, implementing a new task, or updating processes to better assist the employee and customer; training employees keeps them engaged.

How is this done? Once you’ve decided to do some additional training with your team:

  • Schedule a meeting with each person on your team
  • Discuss what challenges they have
  • Identify  which processes they would like to see updated
  • Determine their interests in learning something new
  • Put in place a follow-up meeting to share what was discovered and what actions have or will be taken

Part of my job as a Training Manager is to make sure that our training restaurants are up to par. I discussed how to do that with my supervisor. My first suggestion was to visit each, about 65, in every part of the country myself – If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself…right? No, that was unrealistic and expensive. So we determined the best course was to enlist our field staff. The way my predecessors and I were handling the training stores was not efficient, and in some cases not effective for the learner going through training. My boss and I talked about the important days in training and where we needed to set expectations for the learner and mentor relationship. We decided the regional field person would be in the training store the first and last days of training. This has been helpful all around and our regional field team has been completely open to it.

Your job will be to decide what you think needs to improve.  You can ask your team to give you a draft of a new process or ideas to make their jobs more efficient and effective. Review it. Make changes. Train it.

There are so many things that change the way we do our jobs every day. As managers, we have to realize that change is important to the overall productivity of the team. Taking the time to check in with them on how they do their job and not what they’re doing, will give you a great team of people committed to coming to work with a positive attitude.

By guest blogger Christina Sorrillo, Training Manager in the restaurant industry, professional business organizer, event planner, blogger…and life lover! Christina is currently a Training Manager at Quiznos. Previously she was a Customer Relations Manager at Land Rover AutoNation and Customer Relations Manager at Northridge Toyota. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.