Riverbanks for Service and Employee Freedom

Tabitha Mason, Managing Partner Cornman Farms – was venue manager when I recorded her. She gets into how she came into the Zingerman’s family and how her husband’s sudden job loss helped them to see the benefits of Open Book Management.Tabitha Mason Managing Partner of Cornman Farms

Her job is to insure that the team has the tools they need to get the job done.

As a manager of a restaurant she always struggled with hiring, managing the team, and even the quality of the applicants. She’d been a fan of Zingerman’s for a long time and admired the people she saw there.

She saw an opening and decided to apply as a way to learn how Zingerman’s did what they did. Her original intention was not to actually take a job. During the 4 month process she realized two things:

  1. Zingerman’s draws from the same pool of people as every other restaurant. What they do differently is set expectations. These expectations include the level of service, how they treat each other, and the kind of business they run. She saw that they run things radically different than she had ever seen. (Where’s the follow up question – radically? What was so different?)
  2. They actually offered her a job.

The job descriptions all included a commitment and excited about great service.

Tell us about great service. Their experiences with great service etc. They run trial shifts with good interviews. They can see pace and how you interact. How you run during the real place. They are paid and work a real shift.

Open Book management is the element of Zingermans that has impacted her most. Second is the 5 step plan to effectively handling complaints. Because it’s a life skill.

Acknowledge the complaint.

Sincerely apologize.

Make it right

Thank the person for letting you know.

Document it.

Her prior place (that she really liked) felt corporate in that it had lots of rules about appearance and other smaller issues all in the name of creating a consistent experience. However, when she went to Zingerman’s it seemed chaotic yet she always had a great experience.

Yet Zingerman’s has lot of rules. How is it different? Tabitha says they’re like river banks. People have guidelines and the freedom to do it their way within those guidelines. They try to be very clear on what is good and what is unacceptable.

What’s it really like to work at a Zingerman’s company? It’s fun and there’s lots of good food. Expectations and work levels are high.

Thank you for your support, remember to join the conversation and community of business leaders wanting to create amazing workplaces to change the world, go to inspiredandintentional.com/episode94.

You can also show your support by

Sharing this episode,

Subscribing via your favorite podcast app and rating it

Joining the email list on the website

And Joining our Facebook group Inspired and Intentional Podcast