RLPSA 2018 Conference, Day 2: The Second Half

While Day One at the Restaurant Loss Prevention and Safety Association (RLPSA) 2018 conference concentrated on preparation and training, Day Two started off with a focus on delivery—literally. While certain restaurants, especially in the world of pizza, base a large portion of their revenues in customer delivery, many others are only just starting to explore this service and are learning to prepare and manage the challenges that come with it.

With Chick-fil-A and even McDonalds deploying delivery options in fast food delivery, and restaurants like Olive Garden delivering full meals typically served only with restaurant table service, the topic was ripe for discussion. A Tuesday morning panel helped bring to light to a variety of concerns and challenges that come with these types of customer convenience. Some restaurants use internal employees, while others are partnering with delivery service companies or extended rideshare services like Uber Eats. Both options come with their shared and unique challenges.

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Maintaining the quality of the food product in a manner consistent with the way it would be received if it were delivered in the restaurant is always a concern, as is ensuring the temperature of the meal when it’s consumed. You might think that delivery would be a simple process—it’s a matter of getting the product from point A to point B, right? Kind of like carrying the ball down the field. However, there are so many factors to consider. Like blockers or obstacles on the field, when making the decision to deliver, these factors may not be so obvious:

The range of delivery: Even when using special bags or other equipment to maintain temperature, keeping the delivery time within a fifteen- to twenty-minute window to ensure quality can differ depending on the area. Some restaurants could offer a delivery radius of fifteen miles in certain markets, and in others it may take twenty minutes to go one mile.

Entrusting the brand with a third party: When your product is handed over to a third party, in this case, a delivery service, how do you maintain control over the quality? How do you maintain control over the quality of the delivery to ensure that service is as good as service by company employees?

Personal safety: Anytime you have an employee outside of the controlled environment of the restaurant—or, in the case of delivery services, having extended members of your team representing your brand—safety concerns are heightened. Such concerns can involve a variety of crimes from robbery to assault and even food tampering.

Food safety: Temperature and other environmental concerns can be both a quality and a health concern when ensuring that food is safe to eat. Food tampering by a third party also has to be a concern, especially when using outside services and employees who may be less concerned about the brand image

Brand protection: Whether using an outside service or our own employees, the challenge of protecting the brand underlines all of these concerns and must be a focus. Even in the event of an accident with a named delivery service, if the accident happens with a box of McDonalds bags in the car, the liability concern and brand exposure will likely remain with the restaurant and not the car service.

Background checks, licensing and insurance: With a service that could be impacted by an accident or a bad driving incident, how often are you doing background checks, checking driver records and reviewing their eligibility to operate a vehicle? What insurance covers the drivers?

Concerns over brand and player safety, and throwing flags on penalties continued through the variety of breakout sessions, with topics ranging from sexual harassment, to liability claims, and food fraud prevention – as well as dealing with scammers and uninvited guests.

The Final Quarter

As we reached the final quarter of this Game Day event, RLPSA brought in the big guns. A real MVP—Emmitt Smith—took the stage to share his insights on personal and team performance with championship vision. A Superbowl MVP and NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith may be retired from football, but his commitment to excellence remains.

A lot can be said about Emmitt Smith’s accomplishments, but one of the most impressive is making the commitment to achieve his goals. At the young age of seven, Smith not only knew that he wanted to be a professional football player, but that he wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys. We all know how that turned out. Think about the years of unwavering and inspiring commitment necessary to reach that goal. The practice, the preparation, the motivation… echoing the theme of this year’s RLPSA Game On event. The key takeaways from Smith’s awesome experience:

Don’t be afraid of change: Change can be limiting, but only if you let it. Sometimes you need to see the bigger picture. For Smith, his idol was quarterback Roger Staubach—and he wanted to be a quarterback too. After all, the QB touches the ball more than anyone, they make more money, and all the ladies want the quarterback. At least, this was his plan at age seven. By age nine, however, to his good fortune, Smith’s coach told him that he could help the team in a much better way as a running back. Smith still attained the status of touching the ball and making the money, but were it not for that coach, by his own admission he probably would have led a very short-lived career as a quarterback. Clearly, his true talent was protecting the ball and running it down the field.

Smith’s advice? Don’t let change limit you or your way of thinking. See the big picture and embrace the opportunity. Many of us “fell into” or were otherwise guided into our roles or into this industry. See the opportunity you have in your career and make every day count by being the best you can be. Be prepared for the unexpected. And when you see it, seize the moment.

No one becomes successful by themselves. Give credit to the team. Remember you have linemen who protect you and you can only win together. You have to protect your players—and protect the ball, which is the most important asset on the field. Get up in the morning and ask yourself, “Am I doing everything in my power to help my team and my teammates get better?”

Be consistent. You won’t win every day, but you still need to show up, game-day ready, every day. Practice and train every day. Realize that your world may not stay consistent, as coaches get fired and players get traded, but you still need to bring your best every day.

Preparation plus opportunity equals success. Be prepared, find the opportunity, and be a success. Smith didn’t always win the game. Some games were won simply because they took advantage of the opportunity that the other team offered by not being prepared. Be prepared to avoid people seeing you’re not on your game, and take advantage of the opportunity.

Live for today – and have fun. Forget what you did last year. Focus on the now. Play the game of life and have fun. If you’re having fun at your job, it’s not a job. Enjoy every moment.

High atop the Reunion Tower in Dallas, the room was spinning (literally) with gorgeous views of Dallas and beyond, as the sun set on Game Day ending Day Two of the conference with a celebration of teamwork and success, missing only the spray of champagne bottles and a bucket of Gatorade dumped over Head Coach Rocco Prate.

Next year’s event will be in Nashville, TN. Get prepared and bring your A game!

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