June 13, 2023

How Bluestone Lane Empowers Their General Managers

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Editor’s Note: This article is a recap from a panel discussion — you can watch the full recording by clicking on the thumbnail below.

Arguably the most important role at the frontline of restaurant operations, General Managers are some of the most coveted talents in hospitality these days. 

While money can be a powerful motivator, having the right systems and tools in place can help any brand empower their GMs to become the rockstars that they are.


  • Amy Hom, Chief Operations / People Officer at Bluestone Lane
  • Olivia Fazzola, VP of Operations at Bluestone Lane
  • Alex Kuzmanoff, Head of Analytics at Tattle
  • Alex Beltrani, CEO and Founder at Tattle

Watch the recording by clicking on the thumbnail below, or scroll down to read the summary.

What would you say are the biggest challenges facing GMs these days?

Amy Hom: Finding great talents and retaining them. During COVID, while I was still at Sweetgreen, despite everything going down to barebones for most businesses, we were still focused on talent development. And I think that was key. Relationships and trust is everything right now. One of the reasons we really love Tattle is your team — you’re all so approachable and helpful. For example, our Tattle Customer Success Manager, Katie Feinberg, is available 24/7 and is always there for us. And I think a lot of companies are missing that relationship-building piece. 

Alex Kuzmanoff: It’s all about improving the lives of the teammates at the restaurants, and empower them to be their best selves. As a result, they will naturally deliver the best experience for your guests too. Your guests can feel when they walk into your store, if your teammates are having fun and enjoying their lives.

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How have you incorporated Tattle into your operational processes?

Olivia Fazzola: We ask our GMs to go into Tattle every single day. They can see the breakdown of their top opportunities and look at the direct feedback from their “locals” (note: Bluestone Lane’s term for their guests). One of the things I love about the platform is it’s very data driven: you can break it down by delivery and takeout, by lunch and dinner, and slice and dice it many other ways. So you can really figure out what’s your focus and how to drive great hospitality.

Amy Hom: GMs are the mayors of the restaurants. It’s very important to Olivia and me that GMs own their results, but they also learn from their results. We get the feedback instantanesouly in Tattle, and our GMs do respond to those feedback personally. It takes some training to standardize our GMs’ responses. They will introduce themselves and respond directly inside Tattle. Tattle is also a coaching tool. We don’t want to focus on the score but the learnings — it’s not “I got ya”, but “I taught ya”. Having them own their results has really helped our scores improve. Since they have to read the feedback and check the scores, they have to do something about it too.

Alex Kuzmanoff: I see if often starting with the brand. A lot of brands that I helped with guiding through the Tattle data is understanding both what you do really well and what opportunities you have operationally. The strengths become your brand differentiators that can help drive people to your brand. For the improvement opportunities, we look at what can be implemented at the brand level that requires minimal changes at the store level, so that we can make it as simple as possible for unit-level staff.

Amy Hom: Also, we can easily customize our surveys to collect data for menu development. And Katie has been incredible with helping us add things or remove thing from our surveys as we go about doing so. It’s just this really cool platform and lots of bells and whistles. As locals rating us, it’s wildly impactful for our results.

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How do you navigate the fact that not everyone might be a fan of transparent scores inside Tattle?

Olivia Fazzola: There’s healthy fear and unhealthy fear. It’s about celebrating those doing well, and focusing on the learnings for those who aren’t doing as well. It’s a tool for us to coach and redirect to make sure we’re doing the right things to guide our GMs.

Amy Hom: It’s important that our GMs understand that the scores aren’t what matters the most. We do love celebrating the wins, but it’s really about behaviors and coaching on the floor.

Alex Kuzmanoff: One of my favorite things about Tattle is how the dashboard specific for multi-unit and single-unit managers helps them with coaching their teams. It’s really helpful when you put the power in the hands of those who can implement changes in the restaurants. And the dashboard shows them the nitty gritty of what needs to get done so they can resolve ongoing incident issues — and prevent the same thing from happening by getting to the root cause. The thing is, Tattle highlights an opportunity for everyone — not just the low-performing stores. Because everyone has an opportunity. There are always things you can improve on. 

It’s not uncommon for a GM to be provided a laundry list of action items and they’re all very specific, just because someone commented on it. They end up being pulled in a million directions and the same issues will happen later. Tattle helps you address the recurring theme and identify the highest-impact focus area.

Amy Hom: We’ve seen incredible results too. The system is so easy to use and it’s not just data being thrown at you. It will show that “hey, your store should focus on attentiveness, or clealiness”, and if you focus on this, you can really improve experience for the locals. We have communication boards for teams to write action items down so they can really align and work on it. I love, love, love that feature. It definitely doesn’t get underutilized at Bluestone. It’s so simple — but it tells us what we need to do to get better.

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Are there stories any GMs went above and beyond to make your customers feel like “locals”?

Olivia Fazzola: It happens every day, and it’s shown in how we welcome them etc. It’s about knowing them by their name and even their drink order. They know our teammates’ names. We go above and beyond to make sure we build that relationship. When we are able to recover those locals, there’s a 70% chance they’ll come back and try us again. Our GMs do a fabulous job with that. Our locals are shocked that we could respond so quickly, and they will indeed come back and give us another shot. 

Amy Hom: We had a customer write us a letter saying that people don’t respond as personal responses anymore, and it’s just a customer service center. She was just amazed that our GMs actually reach out personally, and now she comes in all the time to visit our team.

How can GMs be the ambassadors at the store level and provide that unique brand experience?

Alex Kuzmanoff: Whoever is leading the restaurant is embodying the brand experience — GM, shift leader…they’re the mayor of the restaurant. It’s important that they make their teams feel like they’re working amongst friends. One of the highest correlated question for the overall employee experience is if you feel like there’s a best friend at work. People tend to stick together. If you empower your people and they feel like they can be yourself, it will improve the brand experience.

Want more?

Watch a rapid demo of the Tattle platform!

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