Once youâ€™ve decided that youâ€™re CEO material, Daniels-Carter recommends developing a thick skin because challenges are often waiting around the corner. One such challenge came to her in 2005 shortly after Hurricane Katrina, when oil and gas prices soared. Because V and J depends largely on natural gas to run equipment, the companyâ€™s utility costs increased by $100,000. Daniels-Carter cuts costs by running fewer fryers when demand is lower. She also starts up equipment at intervals to avoid creating a surge, since utility companies charge at the highest surge rate of energy.
Striving for Excellence
Although quick-service restaurants attract customers by offering inexpensive meals, data from the NPD Group, a research firm that conducts studies about the restaurant industry, shows that itâ€™s excellent service that really keeps customers coming back. Daniels-Carter and her team have made excellence their focus. Theyâ€™ve ramped up employee training programs at each restaurant so that customers will experience the best service possible.
â€śAs far as training, we came up with a guest-service class,â€ť says John Draper, president of operations at V and J Holding. â€śIn the class, employees learn how to handle conflicts with guests and how to be more attentive. We also made the general training more specific.â€ť
Daniels-Carter believes employee training and customer satisfaction go hand in hand. She makes sure customers come first and that her establishments make a good impression. â€śItâ€™s about the experience customers have. If they donâ€™t have a good experience, they wonâ€™t come back.â€ť
Daniels-Carter is adamant about her staffâ€™s training and ability to uphold the companyâ€™s standards of excellence. Her motto, You Are the Standard of Excellence, or YATSE, the acronym used within the company, is often quoted and used to motivate her workers. â€śThatâ€™s been our motto for 25 years. It was just something I crafted based upon the standard that I wanted to set for employees to