managers...operations....sales? Your thoughts

i am throwing this out there, since everyone here always has great input and I am in a mental debate with myself and am having issues deciding. I own two stores that are located about 15 minutes apart.

One store is busy, about 12-15k per week and my manager there is VERy sales oriented. He can talk to any customer and people love him. I can also send him out to all the businesses and hotels in the area and generally get a positive response from his visits. On the flip side of this, he is not the best operationally. He does a good job, but sometimes just does things that leave me scratching my head. I’ve tried talking to him about things and yelling at him, pointing things out, etc…yet we still cant seem to get on the same page. Of course, I maybe a little picky on some things as I am more operations based and expect the store to always be organized, very clean and fully stocked…but I am sure all owners always expect this.

My other store is much slower $6-7k, but more residential based. The manager there is amazing operationally. He is almost more dedicated to the success of the store than me. He watches labor and food costs like a hawk, ALWAYS sends people home as soon as he can, ALWAYS keeps the store stocked, organized and clean. If there is a break in the action he is cleaning up everything just like they just opened. He is not the most sales oriented person. He is good with customers and they like him, but he isnt someone I can send out to businesses or hotels really.

I am contemplating doing a sort of manager exchange between the two stores for a trial period of time. I would like to get the sales oriented guy going 2-3 days a week at the other store visiting businesses and talking to customers and I would like to get my operations manager at the other store to try and get things cleaned up and get the crew under control.

I am in the stores everyweek 5 to 6 days per week, but am finding it difficult to fix my problems. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. THANKS!

sounds like a good idea to me.

I think you need to brief the managers well so that they don’t see it as an opportunity to ‘pick holes’ in the other guys store. Maybe some form of bonus shared bonus scheme that encourages them to work together to keep op costs down but sales up.

If you can get these guys to buy into a common goal for you and them would seem to paint a great opportunity for you all!

Good luck and keep us informed of the progress!

I don’t think it is a good idea. I always tell my managers when I ask them to do something I don’t care if they delegate it, just make sure it is done. (Of course, to the standard expected)

So ya have a guy who is good at going around flappin his gums and socializing with potential customers. What does he tell them…probably how great the restaurant is - which is the easy part…the hard part is what manager #2 does…which is get things done. Don’t tell me what your gonna do…show me.

If ya switch them - manager #2 is the one who suffers. He clealy has worked hard at getting his store up to par. He considers it his store to some degree I am sure.

I say ya get out there and do the hand shaking yourself…for both stores. If that is not possible if it is not a gift manager #2 possesses let him pass it along to one of his crew who is talented and you do it for the other store. I mean really how much hand shakin is there to do?

As for manager #1 from what I am reading he is all talk and no action. If you clearly have laid out a plan for him to use to organize, maintain and run the store and he isn’t doing it I would move on.

When we find ourselves “yelling” we need to take a step back and ask ourselves is this the kind of manager we want?
If you are yelling at him it is probably because you have asked him to take care of something and he has not listened. Yelling will not make him hear you. You need to find a manager who is on your team.

Easier said than done, I know.


I’m with Kris on this one, Dont swap them. Like Kris mentioned, manager #2 probably treats his store like it were his own, and will probably not go for the idea of trading stores for awhile. Back when I was a GM, the store was my baby. I was there during construction and did a good portion of the work. I worked for an awesome GM, and when he left, I took his spot. I had a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and very long hours invested in that store to try and improve it and keep things running smoothly, and it hurt a lot when I was let go because I didnt want someone else in there running my baby. Here we are 9 months later and I’m ready to get back into the biz (too bad I cant afford a place of my own :cry: )

I would suggest though, to have each of the managers go to the other store for a day and just observe (separate days) how things are done and how the other manager does their thing. You might consider telling them to not be in uniform while they are observing to keep from possibly aggravating a customer. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to see somebody do something and say “i’ll try that” or “That looks awesome, lets see if I can do that at my store.”

As for Manager #1, you want him in that store, period. As for the duties that arent getting done, point those things out to the manager and the assistant managers, and possibly the entire staff, so that everyone knows what needs to get done. Way back when in our old shop, we had a cleaning list. Anytime someone wasnt busy, they would look at the list and do a “Put me down for that” task and they would do the task, then put their initials by the task when they were done. You might even consider throwing some sort of bonus or incentive in there to help motivate them all to work together to get everything done.

Just my thoughts for now…

I can see where you two are coming from, but these guys have different skills so it would seem (to me) to be a waste not to utilise those skills at the same time as helping to improve the other persons skills.

To me I’d be equally concerned about a store only doing $6k even with tight operational costs as I would in the other store where sales are better but costs a bit higher. Much easier to reduce costs than to increase sales.

Maybe not a formal swap but I’d consider getting them into each others store to swap ideas etc. They are both a resource of the business so why not use these resources to help each other and benefit the business. If manager 1 can increase sales by 1k in shop 2 and manager 2 can help reduce costs by 1% in shop 1then its win win and better than trying to flog both managers to try and do it in their own shops. Maybe when they show each other how to do it (rather than you just shouting at/nagging them) they may have a better chance of doing it.

Another idea, try a weekly score sheet.

Judge both shop against 4 or 5 key criteria (sales growth v last year, labour %'ge, food cost %'ge etc whatever it is you need them to focus on) then score each one 2 points for the better score and 1 point for the worst. Give it a score at the end of the week and give them a cash bonus based on the winner at the end of say a month.

Print it off monday and they can easily see where their stores falls behind the other. Worked for me - a bit of healthy rivalry. Monday both store managers would be on the phone either chasing me or talking about how they improve etc.

Thanks to the quick reply everyone. I thought about this alot last night. I also talked to my manager who is operations based and told him what I was thinking and here is what I came up with…

I am going to do a “GM swap” so that each week they are working 2 or 3 days at the other store, but will still have full control over everything that is happening at their original store. The way I am going to try to spin this to both of them is that each store is having issues and I want to use their skills to try and help better the other store. This way its not like I am making it seem like they are not doing a bad job and I am trying to bring someone else in to fix their problem or step on their toes.

The first manager had lots of questions, but after talking to him about it, he actually seemed pretty excited about the idea. I wanted to get the ok from him before I talked to the other manager, as I thought he would be more reluctant to do this. Once I talked to my other manager I am going to get together with both of them and look at the schedules for both stores and see what days would be best to get them into the other stores. I am also going to try to get with them at the end of the first week, so we can all talk about everything at the stores. The trick is going to be to keep this as a positive thing and I think I am going to try to come up with some sort of a bonus based on improvement in sales and costs.

What do you think?

I think its a great idea. As you say the challenge is to make it positive so there has to be wins for both managers at both stores. You really need to make sure the benfits that each manager creates at each store is highlighted and there are ‘shared goals’. Maybe when you get together you do it at alternate stores.

Make sure they know its a temporary thing.

I’d be asking each manager at the weekly meeting to prepare a quick list of a) what they found good at the ‘other’ store and b) what they have done/suggest to help improve things (positive). Make sure that b) is done on a positive angle rather than negative which will turn the whole exercise stale very quickly and make sure that both managers see the benefits of the improvement and buy into the change.

I’d keep a list of things that have been agreed to change and then you’ve got a template to manage the manager once you go back to them staying in one store (if that’s what you choose to do) i.e. they define, agree and then implement what the correct/improved behaviour is.

I’m really interested how this will progress so keep us posted of progress.

Good idea with the list, I didnt think of doing that way. I think what I might try is have them do the list and then talk to each manager individually before we get together so I can make it/edit into a positive thing. As we all know some workers/ managers can be a little rough around the edges. Also I think this has already been positive for my operations based manager as he was excited about the idea, he talked to me about it again today and was telling me how he was feeling kind of stuck where he was. Which I totally understand as I managed a store for a franchisee as well and you hit a point where you stop, look around and think well…whats next. :smiley:

I’m sticking with it not being a good idea.

I am assuming you have tried having manager’s meeting with both of them on how things are going. What to work on. What is good and not so good. Going over numbers, sales, labor, food, cleanliness etc. New goals and incentives.

The more I think about it the more I am pretty sure this ISN"T happening. I would do that. At least once a week for a month then every month. With general meeting each day

Sure manger 1 is exicited, he is going to a store which has been trained in a fashion that works. I think you are expecting manager #2 to get things in order the few days he is at the new location. Doesn’t make much sense because the other store is going to fall apart. Your problem is your manager. And ultimately we are responsible for our mangers. I suggest you get a overall plan together and implement it. You make it happen by delegating to your managers and your managers delegating it to their employees. Each person is responsible for the follow up below them. So if the employees aren’t doing stuff it is the managers fault as much as theirs. If the manager isn’t following it up it is just as much your fault as the manager’s. (Make sense?)

If you are gonna move em because you want #2 manager to flourish the other store fine. But he should be given goals and incentives and be doing it ALL the time. I would have him train his replacement at store #2 before he leaves. And get rid of manager 1. You may even look inside the store of #2 and see if he has trained a crew member who would love the new position.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t go around firing people here and there but if they aren’t able to get it together and I know I have done all I can to show them how I want things and they continue to ignore me I plan a new strategy which takes time. Either way he will create his demise eventually.


I think you’re being a little harsh. I don’t see anywhere where he says store 1 is falling apart indeed CIGuy say ‘On the flip side of this, he is not the best operationally. He does a good job, but sometimes just does things that leave me scratching my head’. A good job is a good job. ‘He does a good job’ is not ‘store 1 is falling apart’.

I agree with the weekly meeting - I agree these are a good idea and this fits in nicely with CIGuy’s current plan. The extra value in sending them, albeit for a limited time, is that the managers would get to see how another store works (good/bad).

I get my own store managers to do regular inspections on their opposite managers store using our checklists. As part of this they get to see what works well and also what doesn’t. When one gets back to their own store they notice things like, say, a part of their store is not as clean as the other, or that the office has some better organisation in xyz aspect.

From time to time I swap assistant managers and low and behold things that ‘work’ start to appear in the opposite store. Good changes/practises stay bad ones don’t.

I have 7 managers of different levels. Luckily no two managers are the same and I try and utilise their strengths as best fits my business. I’d certainly use the above approach in this scenario.

I wouldn’t swap them out. I would enforce accountability, mentor and develop.

I think when we are yelling, scratching our head and not on the same page as our managers it is time for them to go. Trust me it would take alot to call it quits with my manager’s but they do what I have trained them to do. Operations of the store are crucial to success…period.

My managers know what our labor is…what our sales are compared to last week…what we are shooting for this week. They have weekly projects they are committed to and held accountable to the following week. Are they 100% all the time? Heck no…but we are on the same page, same team.


I was agreeing with Kris, til she started firing people :).

I believe everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, it’s our job to figure that out and to train to strenghthen their weaknesses and praise their strengths.

I don’t see how putting managers in the other store is going to help the managers. I believe you would be better off to have the managers work together, with the one training on how to do operations and the other training on how to do sales. if your there anyway, you can run one store for a little while, and put both of them in the other store were they can learn from one another.

I’m with penelope,let them work together as a team. That way the are accomplishing the goal together and it won’t seem like competing.

I’m with Wizzle on this one. Realize what your people’s skills and limitations are and take advantage of them.

While Kris makes a good point that your “talker” may just be that, we’ve all seen the type, only you can be the judge of that.

What hit me is when you said you are not the type to go out and talk to people and recruit business. You probably can but its not your nature. In business its not important to have every skill but to know your weaknesses and surround yourself with people that compliment you. I’m more like you and put a high value on people with people skills.

On the surface I would say its a easy solution. The busier store needs a better operations guy and the slower one needs less of one since the demands are not as high. Plus your talker can maybe work on building the sales.

If it all works out you will make more money with the busier store because its being run more efficiently and more with the second store because of increased sales. Maybe then you can more your talker into more of an assistant operations manager part time at one store and sales generator the rest of the time for both.

No one likes uncertainty and unstability. Every manager has their way of doing things. I can’t imagine either manager would be happy having their store run a different way when they are gone. Make it a permanent switch so they know what to expect and can focus on one store. You can always go back if you have to but at least they will not have to work under the uncertainty and aggrivation of having another manager running their store part time.

Yes, Kris is way too harsh.

The way I read it, #1 has built his store to TWICE the sales level as #2. In business sales is the most valuable function, I’d rather increase sales 100% than cut operational costs a couple points.

It’s the ideal move to try to get the most out of each manager to benefit both stores. I don’t see why there’s even an argument about this point??!!??

operations do not make you any money. Basic human behavior, the fear of loss is always more compelling than the promise of gain. That is why people watch the news. At some point in your life, you decided to go forth and dive into the darkness of entrepreneurship. You succeeded from your account, and are running two fantastic pizzerias. I lived through this situation. It is quite a common one. Buckminister Fuller, has this to say about your dilemma…

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
— Richard Buckminster Fuller

I admire him, maybe you do, maybe you don’t. you came here for thoughts, so I will give you mine.

The perfect scenario, is if somehow you could get manager #1s marketing, people skills, and sales at both restaurants, and get the efficiency and precision of manager #2 there too. we can put our minds together and come up with a solution.

We have to make a new model to solve this new problem… stop swimming upstream if you will. I only see one course of action. A meeting of the minds. Get together with both managers, and have them talk about their expertise, would be better if they write it up. Have the guy who is good at marketing explain marketing and what he needs in terms of “inefficient operations” to accomplish this. Have the guy who is good at operations explain operations, and what he needs in terms of “inefficient marketing” to accomplish this. See where they come together, see where they differ. From these differences, you construct the laws of your universe, based on your values and philosophy of pizzerias.

One thing I will also suggest, is to read a book called the 22 immutable laws of marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout. THE LAW OF PERCEPTION. Marketing is not a battle of products, it is a battle of perceptions Also might want to read anything by Jeffrey Gitomer. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to succeed. Corny and true.

Another thing to think about is, what our your top 5 favorite restaurants and your best dining experiences. Most people in this great nation will go to the ghetto, sit on plastic chairs, wait hours, and brave innumerable humiliations and dangers for a truly great pizza. The name of the game is loyalty. Everyone loses when you sell something that you think is cheap or try to trick your customers.

I thought I would post an update on this situation. I knew by throwing this out there that I would get some great ideas and I did. I talked to both managers about this and was able to spin it in a positive way to both. I think that they both realized that they had some weaknesses and that there was room to improve and they could learn from the other. My two managers and I are going to get together this week, outside of the stores, and put together a schedule that works for everyone. I am thinking about doing 3 days one week and 2 days the next week and rotate it like that so that neither manager feels like they are being pulled away from the “home” store as they both have an attachment to the store and employees. So far I have got nothing but a positive response from both so I am hoping that I can continue the trend. I will post an update after we meet.

Once again, thanks for all the great feedback. Its nice to be able to chat with people who understand what your going through.

Just another update on this. Last week was the first week that we started switching managers. Both managers took a day to get adjusted, but it seemed to go well. We picked up a few orders from new businesses at the slower location and both managers seem to like whats happening, so far so good.

Glad its off to a promising start keep us updated with progress

you’re spot on with this but you did miss out that ‘operations’ is the biggest part in making the difference between making a profit and a loss!