Anyone who works with the Restaurant industry needs to learn how to deal with constant change and stay sane. Whether change is by choice or imposed, negative or positive, personal or professional, it is always a challenge. Four people in the industry talked to us about the changes they experienced and how they managed. Gwen Sheard has been working for Friendlyâs for eighteen years.While working full-time in various management positions, she attended law school and has been the Employment Law Council for Friendlyâs for the past two years. I asked her to describe her change process, and her challenges. ãWhile this was a major change for me, it was something I chose, so I had a sense of control. I told myself I could stop at any time. I asked myself whether this was something I wanted to do, and I knew it was something I had wanted to do all my life.I could have stayed where I was in meeting planning but that was not what I wanted as a final goal.ä she told me. ãThe challenge for me was to do a good job in both places, at school and at work. Studying for the BAR needed strict discipline, and I kept to my schedule. I allowed Saturday afternoon for myself after studying from 6 AM. Sometimes I felt overwhelmedä I asked her how she managed so successfully.ä First I had a long range goal that I was working towards. Then I had support from my boss and other senior people who let me take time off for exams, and were flexible with me. I never said , it canât be done. I looked at my resources, and asked myself what I needed to make this happen. I realized I didnât have to do everything alone, and I wasnât afraid to ask for help.ä Gwen has been extremely successful in her career, and has shown that it is never too late to take even more control over oneâs life.
Roz Mallet, vice-president of resources for T.G.I.F.âs has gone through major changes in her personal and professional life. She began in the restaurant business when she was in college over 22 years ago, working part time as a cashier for El Chico at Astro World in Texas. After deciding that she loved this business she gave up her thoughts of becoming a school teacher and moved up from cashier, to supervisor, management trainee, and then director of training. She moved over to Applebeesâ and met Wally Doolin, who became her mentor, good friend and the present CEO of Fridayâs. After leaving Applebyâs, she developed a successful consulting business.gave that up to become VP at Applebyâs and later came back to Fridayâs when Doolin (who had been her business partner) took his position with Fridays. When asked how she survived all of these changes, she said that before she made any major decisions she wrote a list of all the pros and cons, and how any change would benefit her whole life. ãLife to me is more than a career. I need to have a balance, and stay connected to my family and network of friends. I use my support system of people in the restaurant business and outside. I canât be objective singularly. My network respects how I make my decisions. None of my friends have an ego investment in what I do.ä said Roz. This last year she has had to deal with the most difficult change and one that she did not choose, the death of her father. Mallet told me ã I was very close to my father. The people at Fridayâs reached out to me, sending me emails of support, hugging me , opening up about their own experiences, and letting me take time off. People sent flowers. Wally Doolin, and the culture at Fridays supports the whole person, that you canât keep the personal life separate from the professional. I have had to spend more time on the personal side,not only grieving but helping my mother and handling the practical things. My support system at work and outside has been a big help.ä
Richard Grausman is the founder and director of CCAP, Careers-through Culinary Arts Program. CCAP is a non-profit organization that prepares high school students for careers in culinary arts. From 1969 until 1985, he was the representative for the renowned Cordon Bleu cooking school. In 1985, he and another man became the owners. This partnership lasted 6 months, and came to an abrupt end and Grausman ended up resigning. Grausman said ãThis was an incredible disappointment and loss too me, both emotionally and financially. It was not my choice for this to happen, but I didnât allow myself to stay stuck. I had faith in myself, and decided to use this time to take a look at my life. I wrote a cookbook entitled At Home With the French which got great reviews.ä About ten years ago I attended an IACP convention, where a representative from Campbells was talking about the future of the industry. He talked about a cookless kitchen where noone would be sitting down to meals together. That was depressing to me and I wanted to do something to change this concept. I began by going into the high schools to work with home economic students to expose them to new foods and broaden their palettes. What I realized was that it was more important for these students to be able to get a job, and a future. I started out in 12 high schools developing a program for students to have a future in culinary arts. Today we have over 200 schools in seven parts of the country and we have support from some of the top chefs, restaurant owners and supervisors. I love this much more than owning the Cordon Bleu because I am affecting lives for positive change. When I had resign from the business I was albe to go inside myself, take stock of what I wanted to do and do something for other people. I took that negative change and created a win-win situation for myself.
Dave Barrows has been the CEO for World Wrapps headquartered in San Francisco for the last year and a half. He was CEO of Boudins which had become a successful San Francisco based institution. When he was offered the position at World Wrapps, he knew that it was more more risky, but was excited at the opportunity to help shape a culture and build on the Wrapps concept. Not only would this be a change for him, but also a change for all of the employees at World Wrapps. ãFor me this was a good change. Boudins was centered around its bread baking so the day started earlier. Iâm on a later schedule so I can take more time with my 3½ year old twins in the mornings. I looked at the risk as a challenge and I loved being involved in the conceptual strategic evolution.ä The founders and board helped the change process with me and their employees, by preparing them. They talked to them in advance about why they were bringing me on and what my skills were. Its a young company and Iâm able to relate to them. I had to slow up our growth for nine months in order to be more strategic. The hardest time for me in this change was when there was negative press about the Wrapp concept after some of our competitors closed, and I was getting calls from the media and people were predicting our demise. I maintained my passion for our high quality food, and low cost, kept my strong belief in myself, and listened to the excellent feedback from our customers. Now, we have made the changes we needed to and getting ready to expand.
Is the change by choice or forced? You have more of a sense of control if it is your choice.
Examine your options.
Make a list of resources and support.
Use your support system.
Maintain faith in yourself by looking at past changes and results.
Know that each change has an ending, middle and new beginning.
Feeling overwhelmed at times is normal.