Fast Casual Conversations: What Does It Take To Be The Boss?

As Homebase grows, so do the local businesses we serve. We’d like to share their stories with you in our customer interview series — Fast Casual Conversations. For this edition, we spoke with Haylee, who manages a popular coffee shop in Olathe, Kansas.


Tell us a little about your coffee shop and what you do there.

We’re  a franchised drive-thru coffee shop, not a sit-down like Starbucks, so it’s a little bit smaller staff. I have seven employees, eight if you include myself. [bctt tweet=”I started a couple years ago as a barista and worked my way up to become a manager after six months.” via=”no”]


Six months is a short amount of time. How did that process go for you?

I don’t think the owner really cared how long I had been working there, but I really, I worked my butt off to become Manager. I tried to go above and beyond. I had open availability. I was available to work open to close, weekends, taking on responsibilities to lighten the load, and just whatever it took to get that position. So when he opened the second store he thought I’d be a good fit.


How was that transition for you?

Before I took over, the first manager was overspending in labor and they were over-ordering, so at first it wasn’t very profitable. I think they were actually losing money a bit. But I started keeping track more of labor, and I started to control how much was being ordered and I actually was able to make it profitable after about three months.


Congrats – that’s a quick turn-around.

I was really trying to increase our volume at that point. So I got tips and pointers on how they do things at Starbucks, they can always keep up with high volume. Every time you go there, there’s like six cars in line. So I was just trying to see what tips I could bring from their company to ours to keep our volume up and increase.


And what has been the most practical solution?

The thing that I’ve gathered the most — no matter where I look or where I go; the faster you are, the more people are going to be happy and the more likely they’re going to come back when they’re in a rush. So we just need to be really quick with quality products.


What advice would you give other managers about leading employees?

Be a leader and not a boss. So that means getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing the floor with them. Guiding them instead of pulling them along with you. Keep yourself human so they’re more willing to help you out. [bctt tweet=”If you go above and beyond for your employees, they’ll be way more likely to go above and beyond for you.” via=”no”] I try to keep it fun. We have lots of company parties, and we go out. We go bowling, and I really try to reward them all in every way that I can.


Would you like more tips on leadership and managing employees? Check out our articles in Modern Management.

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