Often wearing sneakers with a layer of construction dust, managers opening a new location are juggling hundreds of things to do, often for the first time in their career. A pre-opening checklist provides a game plan, allows the manager to focus, and reduces anxiety. Over 9000 locations have used Pacer to guide their way; here’s the top things we’ve learned from GMs and their teams on what they need to be successful with a pre-opening checklist.
Opening managers already got too much on my plate - “I can’t afford the time to spend a day in a training course to figure out how to use any app.” It’s got to be straightforward, free of visual distractions, and obvious how to use it from the start.
GMs want meaningful and actionable visuals to quickly determine the team’s overall performance, clearly showing if tasks are past due or due soon. Graphs should be clickable to drill down to the tasks that need action immediately and only include data that I need to be concerned about.
Visuals should allow the GM to see how each discipline, department, and person is progressing with their tasks. Not only does this keep the GM informed, but eliminates multiple, unnecessary, meetings to discuss things that have already been completed. Instead, it focuses the conversations on how the GM can help remove blockers.
Understanding the impact of a task can increase the likelihood that it’s completed well (or even take it to the next level) because the person understands exactly why the task should be accomplished. Moreover, Generation Z expects this level of detail more than any previous generation; they want to know that their work is making a difference.
Most GMs ‘lead by walking around’ instead of being tied to their office laptop; the pre-opening checklist should be available from the palm of their hand through native iOS or Android apps. Recently a Director of Sales shared that he used the mobile app on his daily train ride. Having it in their hands also allows them to quickly create another task/reminder. For those of us who are old school, the individual should be able to print the task list in a format that makes sense to them - “I prefer my list to be grouped first by department and then by date since I tend to meet with teams individually.”
When there is more information on a company intranet or a vendor’s website, give me a direct link to the resource. Don’t give me “keywords” to search that return 1000s of results that managers then have to filter through. The 3 minutes of productivity savings, per task, per location, from this simple action adds up quickly especially as labor costs increase.
Nothing is more annoying than marking many tasks as ‘not applicable.’ It’s a waste of time makes individuals question whether anything on the checklist applies to them. Or worse, they complete a task that didn’t apply to their property. The app needs to divide tasks so that when the location’s checklist is created, it only includes tasks that apply to the site.
IT, Marketing, Revenue Management, HR, Finance, Operations - the list of teams involved goes on and on. GMs want a single checklist for all disciplines. Don’t fill my inbox with a different checklist for each area - or worse, continuous emails with updates. Put all tasks in a single place. Not only does this keep things cleaner and reduce duplication, but it’s also much easier to identify overlapping priorities and roadblocks.
Be sure the app has a way to gather best practices and then to automatically update everyone who is currently in the pre-opening phase. “I should not be completing tasks that are no longer relevant, and better, I want to take advantage of the great things learned from previous openings.” Don’t send me another email with another version. Use a tool where updates are integrated – thus, the 'only version'.
Managers are updating the app as they go, so take advantage of an app that can share progress with you. A report that is automatically emailed to corporate leaders in advance will allow meetings to be focused on blockers instead of general updates.
Location managers are growing and expanding your brand – their success is your success. Aligning your vision within the pre-opening checklist ensures alignment with your company’s vision and values. Pacer loves supporting some of the world’s best-known brands and management companies to ensure openings and conversions are executed at the highest level possible. Reach out to us if you would like to discuss how we can support your General Manager’s success and your company’s success. Email us.