Human Resources / Organizational Strategy

Young “Coaches” Raise Questions for Burger King

Jimmy Kimmel Show Green Room At The Super Bowl - Day 4

Burger King and their franchisees are facing the difficult problem of how to allocate power and responsibility in the company.  Burger King’s business model has implemented a program with “field coaches” who are responsible for about 50 restaurants each, they work with managers and employees to reduce costs and increase sales and profit.  The problem that they are facing is that franchise owners feel that many of these field managers are too young and inexperienced.  This leads the franchisees to feel that they are getting less than they deserve when the field managers attempt to help and guide them. There are a number of different parties that are possibly responsible for this issue within the company.

Due to the fact that Burger King is mainly franchised, they have to take the owners of these franchises into consideration when creating new policies. The coaching program was implemented in 2009 when the company made the switch from regional managers to the current coaching system.  The regional managers were more focused on operating details such as staffing and the quality of the food, they worked closely with the owners, however coaches work more closely with managers focusing on customer experience and restaurant standards.

Many of the owners do feel it has a good principle behind it, many believe the execution of the program is poor.  This is demonstrated by a survey involving 300 franchise owners in which only  36% of owners rated their field managers as “good” “very good” or “excellent”, while 35% rated them as “poor” and 29% “average.”  This could be due to the fact that many of the coaches are fresh out of college with little to no experience in the fast food industry.  Many franchisees may see the field managers as the problem but, Burger King Corporation needs to look at many different aspects of the business to remedy this problem.

First, they should evaluate how and why this problem came to be? Is it the system itself? Is the hiring process inefficient? Is the training program not rigorous enough?  One former franchisee, Dennis Kessler, said “My departure from Burger King had everything to do with their business model”.  This alludes to the fact that they need to figure out how to make the most people the happiest to solve this problem.  They can do this in party by applying utilitarian ethics to the situation. Obviously they cannot use this approach 100 percent as they still have to focus on profitability and the bottom line, which have been steadily increasing since 2009.  This could have something to do with the risks and rewards of franchising the majority of their stores.  Making field managers feel more qualified and prepared to enter the workforce and allowing franchise owners to feel as if they are working with the most qualified people the employees will help to increase happiness and the bottom line.

Hence, Burger King has multiple things to consider when trying to work with the problem  of owners feeling unhappy with the performance of the field managers.  First and foremost they need to determine what the problem is and where it originates from.  Then they need to implement a plan to remedy the situation and try to make all of their employees and franchise owners as happy as possible.  By doing this they will not only gain loyalty and happiness from both employees and franchisee’s this will also reflect in their bottom line.

Kierstyn Hughes


Sources:

Jargon, Julie. “Hamburger Helpers or Too Many Cooks?” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

Leonard, Devin. “Burger King Is Run by Children.” Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg, 24 July 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

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