Operations Managers and GM’s need the right tools and best people to support them.
In this interview, we talk to Caravan's Brittney Stark.
She tells us how Caravan is focussing their teams on delivering great guest experiences, giving their managers more time for coaching teams and how they’re reducing the impact of changing restrictions on teams and guests.
My position is Operations Support, so I do a bit of everything. I mainly focus on helping teams on-site with systems, technology, safety and maintenance.
I don’t think there’s been a 'typical' day in the past year. But ideally I like to spend as much time working in the restaurants as possible. I try to visit 1-2 of them a day, catch up with site managers, spot check areas we’re focusing on, and drink way too much Caravan coffee.
The unpredictable nature of hospitality is a big challenge. You need to be flexible with your schedule as you often have to drop everything and head to a site to help with unexpected issues, which no doubt always happen in the middle of a busy shift.
When I started at Caravan four years ago, we had the basics—ePoS and reservation systems—but everything else was on Excel and paper checklists.
As the business (and the hospitality tech industry) has grown, we’ve implemented new systems to minimise the amount of time our people running the restaurants have to sit in the office or in front of screens. We want to give them as much time as possible on the things that matter most to us, like creating great customer experiences, supporting and developing our team and serving delicious food and drinks.
We now use technology to support almost every aspect of the business, from stock management to safety and maintenance, reporting, training, delivery, and of course Trail.
Trail has been a huge help to us during Covid, mainly in adapting to the changing regulations—you just need to update a task and teams know what to do. It’s also been useful for the constant closing and re-openings, we just set up the checklists (with the help of the templates in the Task Library), and then reschedule them for the next opening/closing.
The inconsistent nature of hospitality has really been amplified during Covid. The ever-changing restrictions and requirements, which have often been unclear and introduced at short notice, means we’ve had to be on our toes and ready to adapt to anything. At times it’s definitely felt like one step forwards and two steps back, which can be really frustrating for everyone, from our directors down to our waiters, chefs, baristas and bartenders, and even our guests.
Safety is the top priority for us. We wanted to empower our teams on the ground with the best tools to ensure everyone’s staying safe and compliant.
We can check safety procedures are being followed without having to go to the site and dig through paperwork—this means we can catch things before they become a problem.
For the teams at the restaurants, Trail has taken any uncertainty or guesswork out of the equation. Everything is scheduled in the app, so our teams know exactly what they need to do.
For us in the operations team, the emails and notifications from Trail are great to ensure everything is being done, particularly for important tasks like internal audits and accident reports.
Saving paper is definitely up there too. We’ve got a big focus on sustainability, so besides the cost and time factor, the fact that we’re able to reduce the amount of trees we go through is really awesome.