Shadowing Report

Shadowing Report Interview Date: 04. 08. 2012 Interview Time: 1:00pm Shadowing Date: 04. 12. 2012 Shadowing Time: 8:30am – 2:00pm The person I chose to shadow for this assignment is John Smith who is a friend of mine. He, himself has been in the management profession for the past 4 years or so starting at Pizza Hut. According to him, he worked at Pizza Hut for about six years and was originally hired as a driver. Due to a car accident, the management opportunity fell into his lap and he began training as a shift manager.
He moved his way up quickly to become the acting Store Manager, although he says his official title was Assistant Store Manager. He worked for Pizza Hut for a total of 6 years with half of those years in the management position before finally pursuing another job in another city. That job was with Mighty Taco, Inc, which I’m sure you have heard of because the restaurant is a staple to the Buffalo area. He then packed up himself and his family from the Rochester area to move here to accept the position.
I asked him why he made that move and he said it was so his wife could get help with their newborn daughter while she went back to school. He said that it was actually his wife who found the listing for the job in the newspaper and encouraged him to send in his resume. Because of his experience with management when working at Pizza Hut, he was essentially hired after one interview. He has now worked for Mighty Taco as a Manager for almost a year and he works with other Managers, including Shift Managers, Managers and General Managers, and crew members.

Mighty Taco, Inc, as I mentioned before, is a staple to the Buffalo area that was founded in 1973. The almost 40-year old company describes itself as being synonymous with fast, delicious, Buffalo-style Mexican food and has about 20 different locations. The first Mighty Taco opened up in Buffalo, NY at 1247 Hertel Ave on August 31, 1973, and although that location is no longer around, the company has made its name for itself within the Buffalo community. The restaurants have what you would expect from a fast-food Mexican chain in that they primarily sell tacos and burritos, but with a twist.
They have specials such as the “Roastito” which consists of chicken breast or steak in a tortilla with roasted peppers and onions, cheese and sour cream, the “El Nino Burrito” which has half a pound of ground beef in it and the “Mighty Fish Taco” which consists of a battered fish filet, lettuce, tomato cheese and tartar sauce or salsa. One of the things that I believe makes the company so unique is there unusual advertisements. I remember when I first moved to this area a decade ago and saw my first Mighty Taco commercial on the TV.
I must say that it weirded me out, but the advertisements have grown on me over the years and I appreciate their uniqueness. From the chanting of “Mighty Taco, Mighty Taco, Mighty Taco” to “Buf-Mex at its Best” the company has won the hearts of all within this area. One might think that working in a fast-food restaurant that education and training may not be necessary but I learned very quickly that this is far from the truth. While this may be true to be a crew member, being a manager in this industry requires the manager to be fully prepared and equipped for anything that comes to them, including training and education.
When asked about such training, Steve explained that he received most of his training at his previous job at Pizza Hut. There were many training seminars and programs that he had to go through, including mock role plays and information on how to deal with various paperwork. An example of a mock role play he gave was a customer coming in complaining they found a foreign object in their food and how they would handle it. This later came into real life when one day at Mighty Taco a customer actually came up to him with a complaint of a foreign object found in their food.
He said it was kind of ironic but he handled the situation by the book. He apologized profusely to the customer and offered to remake their order as well as throw in a free bag of chips and cheese. He also filled out the proper paperwork associated with the issue including the batch number of the food, time, date, etc and sent it all the main office. The customer left satisfied and the company was able to address the issue. Another situation in which he put his training in mock role play to use was with a situation with an employee. Employee subordination is something no manager likes to deal with.
In fact, Steve said it is one of the more challenging part of his job because no one wants to be a disciplinarian. In this situation, an employee was directed to do dishes before he left for the day by the manager on duty to which the employee refused. The manager on duty again directed the employee to help with the dishes and again the employee refused so Steve was brought in to deal with the situation. He explained that he sat the employee down and explained to him what would happen if he refused to do the work he was assigned one more time.
It would be considered insubordination and there would be repercussions of suspension or even termination. The employee still vehemently refused to do the dishes and Steve had no choice but to write up the employee and suspend him pending termination. The next day the employee was terminated. In this situation, both managers agreed that they handled it by the rule book and sadly it ended up with a non-ideal resolution. These are just many of the items that the training seminars prepare the management for.
Since working for Mighty Taco, the only difference he says is that he had to re-certify his food safe certification due to more and more restaurants in the industries making the switch from Prometric to Servsafe. Managers for Mighty Taco typically work a 45 hour work week with at least 5 hours of overtime guaranteed but no more than 7 hours. They get compensated for that overtime with the typical time and a half pay. Steve says that the summer months and Christmas time tend to be busier so he more often than not pushes to the 47 hour mark during those times.
The managers typically work one of two shifts, either the opening shift which is 8:30am – 5:30pm or the closing shift which is 5:00pm – 2:00am. While he does not directly work on the schedule, he does have training in making schedules due to his experiences with Pizza Hut. He is trained in making the schedules while complying with various laws associated with schedule making, like scheduling minors. In terms of choosing his work week, he says he typically just rolls with what schedule is given to him but he also gets the days he requests off without an issue.
Apparently as long as he works a Monday morning inventory shift every 3 weeks and works a certain amount of open and closing shifts per period, he is free to work whenever, as long as he works 45 hours a week. When it comes to the salary ranges for the various positions within the store, it seems that Mighty Taco, on average, pays higher than other places within the field. He states that the crew members at Pizza Hut only started at minimum wage whereas the crew members at Mighty Taco start at $8 per hour, almost $1 more per hour. The Shift Managers at Mighty Taco start off at about $9. 0 per hour and the Managers start off at about $11 per hour. The General Managers get paid a salary wage that is set by Mighty Taco based upon experience and time with the company. Not only do the employees with Mighty Taco generally get paid higher, but Mighty Taco has some great benefits. For example, the Managers and General Managers get full medical insurance and the General Managers get full medical insurance for their families as well. The only thing Steve has to pay is the co-pays. “Health insurance is rare enough in the food industry, but to get it paid in full? That’s amazing! Steve says. He also receives a week of vacation after being with the company for a year with the maximum going to 4 weeks. Employee evaluations are something that is common to every business and Mighty Taco is no different. Raises within the company are earned through 6 month reviews. Steve explains that his second review is actually coming up because, like previously mentioned, he has been with the company for almost a year. The raises for managers is a percentage based system based upon how the store is doing, how the manager personally does and various other factors.
After explaining to me how the performance evaluations are done, I quickly realize that he is talking about a Graphic Rating Scale Method that I learned about in my Human Resources class. A Graphic Rating Scale Method is the most common type of evaluation method which lists a number of traits and a range of performance for each field. Some of the various traits Steve is scored upon include time management, training and development of employees, organizational know how, communication, teamwork, etc. According to Steve, teamwork is one that he always scores high on due to his ideals on the importance of teamwork.
He believes that in the service industry,your work is also dependent on other people and goes on to say, “one man cannot do the job alone and it requires teamwork to accomplish any goals for yourself and the company. ” The supervisors in the company who conduct these evaluations are the General Manager of the store and the District Manager. Being a manager is something that Steve enjoys with his favorite part pertaining to the management of the employees and helping to improve them as well as himself through the hard work and effort put into the job.
He, in particular, really likes working for Mighty Taco because he feels like the company respects all their employees. He says that at his previous job, he did not feel like he or the other employees received any of the respect they deserved. Being respected is key in maintaining moral and motivating employees. Although he does enjoy it, the job of a manager can be stressful at times. It is the big stuff he dreads, like the before-mentioned issues with crew members, but the little stuff is easy to deal with.
Things like not having enough crew members during a busy shift or running out of a particular food or customer complaints. He says the best thing is to remain focused and to try and not let it get to you. He says that as a manager, he cannot let the stress get to him because he is the example to the crew members and must remain professional. However, once he gets home, he relieves stress by spending time with his family, specifically his 10 month old daughter, and playing video games like any typical male in their 20’s. Steve would like to stay with the company as long as he can due to the opportunities it has given him.
His ultimate goal is to be a District Manager for Mighty Taco, in particular the one for the new restaurants opening up in Rochester, where he is originally from. He then jokes and says that he’ll settle for being promoted to a General Manager position for now. Overall he really likes Mighty Taco as a company and hopes to stay with them for a long time. I shadowed Steve on Thursday, April 12, 2012 during an opening shift from 8:30am to 2:00pm. This is what happened while I was there: Upon entering the store, the alarm was shut off and the ovens were turned on.
From there the lights were turned on and he clocked into the system. At this point, he is the only employee in the store and arrived approximately 10 minutes before his shift started. The next employee didn’t arrive for about 15 more minutes and he is the cook, hence the ovens being turned on. His next step is to goes into the office to check the manager logs for any important information left by the previous shift’s manager. This manager log, he informs me, includes any employee interactions and write ups, and any pertinent information like any cleaning jobs that have to be done today.
He tells me that one of these cleaning jobs includes cleaning out the freezer, which is not done very often. From there he pulls all the paperwork and starts to go over any checklists, like the opening checklist. He gets the sales from the previous night and how over or under it is from forecast as well as the labor yield and the cost of sales of food. With all that information written down, he then calls it in to his District Manager. The next thing he does is check all the emails for any customer complaints that came in overnight and anything that may have come in from the main office.
Today in the emails, he received a complaint about missing an item on his order and he informs me that this is pretty commonplace. The next big thing he does has to deal with the money in the safe. He made sure that the deposit from the previous night is there and make sure it adds up. He also counted the change in the petty cash and called the bank with an order for more change. Once making sure that all the money is there, he then ensures that all of his other employees arrive before going to the bank. Once three more employees arrive, we go on over to the bank at about 9:00am to deposit the money and to get the coin order.
Upon returning to the store, he then writes down all the information about the deposit including the credit card log. He then faxed that information over to the office. After the money is situated, he then helped the crew members with setting up the line and making sure everything is in order for the morning. He set up the soda machines, and made fun of me for saying soda rather than pop, he filled up the food wells in the line for the employees and just went around seeing what the employees needed help with. He did this until about 9:45am where he then puts the cash drawers into the register.
I ask him if he prefers to work on the line or to work in the office and he tells me he’d prefer to be in the thick of things but he has to the his managerial duty. At 10:00am, he finished the checklist and essentially opens up the store for the customers. Now the day officially begins and it is quite interesting to see everyone working together in this environment. As soon as the store opens, a customer immediately comes in and I ask if this is a normal occurrence. I’m told by Steve and the employees that more often than not, customers do not start showing up until closer to 11:00am.
Also at 10:00am, another employee comes in and Steve immediately directs him to do a lot check, which he tells me includes sweeping and emptying the trash outside. At 11:00am, two more employees show up and I ask Steve what is the role of all these employees. Because to me it seems there are a lot of employees but then again, I am not used to this line of work. As it stands right now there are 8 employees plus Steve and he tells me what each of their jobs are. There is a cook for the morning, but he eventually goes on to register or line depending on where he is needed.
There are two employees on register up front, there are two employees on headset/cash-out on drive-thru, there are two employees dedicated to drive-thru line and two employees dedicated to the front counter line. The employees on line are broken down into wrappers and grill. I ask Steve which of these jobs he prefers to help out on and he informs me he prefers wrapping on the front counter line. He also then informs me that when the lunch rush happens at 11:30am, that I need to stay out of everyone’s way. I can only describe the lunch rush as being organized chaos.
While it is extremely busy, Steve directed all his employees efficiently based upon their strengths and weaknesses. He helped out wherever he was needed and kept up morale and motivation by joking with his employees. The banter back and force is amusing but at the same time questions are being asked about appropriate conduct. For example, questions about what went on a particular taco were often shouted out as well as questions confirming what the customer wanted. Even at the store’s busiest moment while I was there, Steve kept his cool when dealing with both employees and customers alike.
It seemed to me that everyone worked together efficiently in this environment, bringing about a sense of teamwork. After the lunch rush was over, which was about 1:30pm, we had a moment for me to ask him some questions about his day. I asked him how he prioritized his responsibilities during the day. He explained that there are 5 priorities set by Mighty Taco: customer service, cleanliness in customer area such as the dining room, cleanliness in the kitchen area in customer view, food preparation and food maintenance, and other cleanliness duties.
He explains that anything he does throughout the day, he first takes into account the customers because he believes they are one of the most important aspects of his field. I then ask him how he decides who gets assigned to which job. He says its based upon their knowledge, skill level, time allotment and willingness to learn. He says that employees that are only there for a short time he more often than not will direct them to do a simple and quick cleaning or preparation job. I also asked him what is the most dangerous thing that has ever happened to him during his time as a manager.
I got a startling response that I didn’t expect. He started off laughing and saying that he was robbed at gunpoint one time when working at Pizza Hut. Apparently one night close to closing time, a man came in following an employee demanded all the money in the register. In this situation, one that he hopes no one ever has to go through, managers are taught to comply with any and all demands of the perpetrator. Procedure states that in such an event, the police should be called as well as the immediate supervisor and District Manager and the store should be shut down.
Sadly the perpetrator was not found but no one was harmed, which is the main goal in a situation like that. On that scary note, the shadowing was over and I thanked him profusely for allowing me to shadow his job and told him I would contact him with any further questions. Throughout this entire experience, I learned quite a bit of things. I have never worked in a management position before even though that is what my major is. Prior to coming back to school I have only ever worked in the Accounting world, from being a bookkeeper to working in Accounts Payable.
While I would still like to stay in that section of the business world, this experience has taught me the hard work that goes into management. I hope to take these experiences and use them to further my career after I graduate, hopefully getting a position as an Accounts Payable Manager. Steve Nadig left me with some good advice for the eventuality of me becoming a manager of some sort which basically was to keep all my paperwork as organized as I can. He says that’s his least favorite part of the job and he works hard on keeping all his paperwork in order.
He also states that I should try to be as unbiased as possible, which I will take to heart because I know first hand what its like to have bias get in the way of a good management decision. Overall I found this to be a wonderful experience and I’m happy for getting the chance to do so. Works Cited “What Types of Behavior Indicate Insubordination? ” Small Business. 21 Apr. 2012 . “Mighty Taco. ” Mighty Taco. 21 Apr. 2012 . Dessler, Gary. “Chapter 6 Performance Management and Appraisal. ” A framework for human resource management. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011. 174.

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