Trail Meets Fridays Sioned Hatcher

In our new series, we're putting operations in the spotlight. Getting unique insights from the front line. Today we're interviewing Sioned Hatcher from Fridays.
Caroline Joyce
May 2022
4 min read

Fridays switched to Trail to streamline operations and empower teams.

With lockdown restrictions and constantly changing safety guidelines, food businesses everywhere are adopting new technologies to stay agile, and survive this new landscape.

Fridays is no exception. They rolled out Trail across their 85 sites during the pandemic to streamline checks and free up managers time by empowering teams.

We caught up with Sioned Hatcher, Safety and Risk Manager at Fridays, to see how they’re getting on.

Sioned shares some of the biggest challenges the chain faced during the pandemic, how they overcame them, and how they are using technology to create a positive safety culture.

So that we can tell everyone in your own words, what is your role at Fridays?

I am Safety and Risk Manager— I look after all things safety, from food safety to health and safety, throughout the Fridays UK estate.

What are the key challenges you face in your role?

Safety tends to be a subject that people are wary of. So, for me I think the biggest challenge is trying to create a positive safety culture to influence behaviour and help people understand that safety is here to help and support. Not act as a barrier.  

How do you create a positive safety culture at Fridays?

I think the key is to listen to people in other departments, and make sure risk assessments and safety procedures work for them in practice, otherwise people lose trust in the policies. The team on the ground understand the day to day challenges better than anyone, listening to and considering these in the development of safety management systems is crucial.

When we implemented Trail, we worked with the operational teams to create the right tasks. This opened up communication, and helped the team embrace safety. It's crucial that safety supports the operational team in the day to day running of stores.

Safety is now a habit. Everyone knows what to do and if something goes wrong, people feel comfortable communicating and taking corrective action.

What was your biggest challenge when the pandemic hit?

For us in Safety, the biggest challenge was the unknown. The situation was ever changing, with safety procedures and controls at the forefront of all priorities, we had to ensure that we were continually up to date and horizon scanning.

The challenge before adopting Trail was that all due diligence was paper based; with so many guidance changes happening, it was a challenge to ensure all teams were working with the correct versions. Trail has eliminated that challenge for us.

How did Trail help you overcome those challenges?

We moved all our safety due diligence documentation over to Trail. It was a huge move for us. And it paid off.

The digital checklists helped us stay on top of the constantly changing legislation because we could make real-time changes to the checklists. This helped save time, and it also meant we had due diligence literally at our fingertips. So we could pull important information whenever we needed to.

Obviously that’s a huge difference from being paper-based, it gives me more control  as a safety manager. And I can be certain that stores are getting the right checklists and that they are up to date.

Has there been any resistance to change?

Some people were quite apprehensive about it at first as it’s such a big change, but it was a really smooth transition and people quickly realised it was actually to their benefit. The Operations team played an active role in the development and pilot of our Trail system.

It was easier for them to use, they had transparency all the way through from junior manager level on the ground up to general manager, and everyone could finally see what was going on. 

What’s the biggest thing that has changed in the way you operate since Covid-19?

As a business we’ve had to adapt our operations and how we do things from a safety perspective—from floor plans to how the kitchen operates. We also have to consider things such as ventilation and how to safely distance guests. Our main priority is that our team and guests are safe.

Covid is ever-changing, so we’re constantly having to adapt to ensure compliance and the safety of our team and guests. We need to make sure that we are continuously scanning to ensure that all required controls are in place and effective. It’s a challenge but it’s something I’m very passionate about.

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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