Becoming a Nationally Certified Training Restaurant

After our latest bout of NCTR recertifications, I requested some insight on the journey to becoming a Nationally Certified Training Restaurant.  Marissa and her Assistants kindly provided the following:


What is a good starting place for those looking to become nationally certified?

First and foremost all of your management team has to be on the same page, and they all have to want it as badly as the General Manager.  You cannot succeed without a strong, unified management team that is on board and ready to do whatever it takes to get there. They have to know, understand, and be able to train the Arby’s standards, uphold the core values, and work the systems everyday.  They set the example for the team–the crew looks up to all management, not just the GM. Uphold the standards and have fun while you do it!

After that, what are some good first steps?

Hire friendly, outgoing people–people who smile easily and laugh often throughout the interview. When interviewing be very clear as to what you will expect from them if they are hired. I tell them upfront, “We are a training store–the best of the best for Arby’s and our franchise–and when I hire, I try to hire the best of the best.  If you don’t start out the best, we will train you to do the best you can do–you just have to be willing.”  I go over what is expected again during orientation and let them know how important is it for us to be a training unit and what their roll will be in that.

Keep up on maintenance duties EVERY DAY!  As simple as it seems, it is a system that often gets missed in many stores.  It takes follow up and a lot of it, but eventually it becomes something that your team will just KNOW to do.  Making sure these daily and weekly duties are being completed will help ensure you have a clean, organized store, and you won’t have to have a “cleaning party” before any scheduled visits.  This in turn ensures higher scores on unannounced visits.   

Coach rather than scold. I came from a business that yelled, screamed, and degraded their team and managers instead of training, coaching, and explaining.  They had high turnover because of this, and they also had a lot of “dead weight”.  People don’t care about their job if they are constantly being yelled at.  Coaching is everything!  Talk to your team members, don’t degrade or belittle them.  Coach them on the how and why.  Even if it’s the tenth time that you’ve gone over it with them.  Coach, train, and retrain!

Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go right the first time. I saw Donna and Beth (our Corporate Business Consultants) two or three times before we finally got certified.  Between that we saw Karen and Craig quite often.  Every time they came in there was something else to improve, but instead of getting discouraged I used those opportunities to push myself and my team harder.  It’s nice to look back now and see how far we have come.

The Ops Checklist, again like maintenance duties, seems simple enough but really is a major tool and great resource to have day in and day out.  If you are actually checking the items on the list, and really looking at your store during your rush-ready checks, it makes for a smooth organized shift every time. Use the closing check list as a training tool for your closers.  Make as many notes as possible and then go over it with them when they come in the next day.  My team will actually go get the book and bring it to me now.  They love to hear the feedback we have for them.

What was your biggest or best resource in becoming an NCTR?

Having a great Area Supervisor of course is #1.  Someone who is always there to help you out and answer any questions you have. Karen is a great resource to have!

What’s your favorite part about being an NCTR?

A couple of things we love about being a Nationally Certified Training Restaurant is being able to train people “close to home”.  The managers we train don’t have to go too far to get good training.  We love to meet new people, and we LOVE to instill the Arby’s standards, values, and just the Arby’s way.  It’s always fun to see their reactions when they come to our store vs their home store.  And I love that they get to take a little piece of our store back with them.

As for Heartland Beef, I love the fact that the “office people” come down and visit! I feel like when Craig, Tom, Mike, and Ashley come to visit it’s just like someone else who works with us. It feels like you’re working right along with us day in and day out. I love that everyone is so hands-on from the company stand point.  It makes us feel like we are not alone.

What now?  What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is for more and more stores to become leading, Triple Ace training stores. I’d love to see more management teams excel and become the crème of the crop for our company!

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