March 21, 2017

Jason Wang, CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods Shares Insights on Tattle’s Peer Review Feature

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Jason Wang, CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods, was able to take the time to share his insights regarding establishing a systematic training and coaching process among new hires, garnering leadership from long-time staff, and how utilizing Tattle’s 360 Peer Review has helped to extract deeper staff performance insights to ensure service standards are achieved.

Tattle: Jason, thanks for taking the time. You’ve been a long-time partner of ours and we really admire the innovative approach to the way you and your team operate your stores. Ultimately, I thought some of your insights could be best shared with the industry! 

Jason Wang: Thanks Alex, I appreciate it! 

I am big believer in deep analytics and insights to improve our many operational processes. In terms of how we collect and utilize guest feedback, Tattle has been transformational in helping us track and improve our customer service efforts. 

The approach is helping us and I truly believe it will help other operating teams as well. I’m happy to share. 

I appreciate that! Most specifically, you’ve been the driver behind the development of our 360 Peer Review feature used by your team. It’d be great to hear your thoughts on this feature that other operators may find relatable. 

Of course! In fact, this is an area of which I am particularly passionate about, which is where the inspiration for requesting this feature from your team stems.

To begin, through my experience in hospitality and efforts required of Xi’an’s expansion, I’ve learned the biggest problem and opportunity in the space is ‘people’. 

That’s an interesting stance. First hand, it’s one that certainly transcends tech startups as well — I can attest. How do you manage your people problem and/or opportunity?

As I said, I am very into leveraging tech to effectively help our operations. In terms of our people, I believe they are the greatest source of strength in achieving revenue growth and expansion. 

It is easy to gain sales through ploys, but to retain sales, it requires deep insights into staff. Fusing our internal processes with tech allows us to capture the right data and reinforce a process to achieve our company goals. 

It really sounds like tech and hospitality are not so different after all. What type of process does your team use to meet these goals and how does tech help?

Well, first, we define our goal. We want to grow revenue, but we want to achieve the systematic success of hiring, molding, and training new staff. When our staff is happy and successful, our customers are satisfied and recurring, and our team sees these rewards.

In creating a process that yields these results, we learned early that you need to remove reliance on people. Once that requirement is met, the system can be reinforced and governed by the collective efforts of many, which is more effective. It may sound crass, but we’d like to be able to pull anyone off the street and into our process and mold them into service proficiency. 

For us, our 360 Peer Review process through Tattle begins with each new hire. At the end of each work week, we begin the diligent evaluation of new employees by our experienced managerial staff as they complete peer reviews aimed to collect the right data about new hires’ performances.

Generally, this data consists of all the areas we actively train our team against and where we need them to demonstrate proficiency, such as, menu knowledge, attitude, speed, customer service, and more. 

Interesting; I’m beginning to see where internal process and tech begin to converge. Once the data is collected from managers regarding new hire performance, where does that data go?

Through our Tattle dashboard, the data is analyzed in real-time under each new hire’s personal profile. 

Our process is a collective one in the sense that our feedback begins with our managers in the most immediate sense; if something is off or encouraging about the new hire’s performance, they will be informed during the shift. At the end of each week, we collect 2 or more peer reviews from these managers, likely harping upon these verbalized areas, regarding the new hires’ performance for our records as a weekly report.

From here, our Operations and HR team is able to track performance, provide insights and feedback of their own in order to pave the way to each new hire’s progress with each succeeding shift. The digital collection of this data allows us to properly benchmark new hires through a ratings system that accurately qualifies our new employees.

It sounds like a sense of standard is an active initiative practiced by all team members in the process from the ground floor to the main office. 

It is and it’s most effective that way. We recognize that no one can be in more than one place at once, especially as we grow. 

Our managers are critical as they provide an onsite interpretation of new hire performance against the standard they have learned and practice each day. Our Operations team interprets managers’ feedback to create an insights-driven process, and our HR team identifies the relative success of our new hires for next steps. 

The constant reinforcement of this process creates the framework we wish to see in all workers. It also allows our staff to take stock in what they have built and strive to maintain from a community standpoint. That is likely the more qualitative benefit of the collective process that I really appreciate. 

Has this push been catalyzed in any way by the increase in minimum wage?

It’s funny you mention that. This past month, I participated in a talk at the International Trade Show regarding the topic of labor costs in hospitality. While this is certainly a point of pain for hospitality along with the coupling effects of the labor shortage, this hasn’t been an area of pain for us.

Even before the recent rise in labor costs, we have always paid our staff at $12 or $14 hourly for cashiers and cooks, respectively. Admittedly, the system we have established around our new hiring process certainly helps to curb its effects. 

It sounds like you certainly have the process covered. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and insights with us on the feature.

Of course! I hope this approach and feature can be helpful to others as they work through their people process.