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Meg Rose
Vice president, field operations, Firehouse Subs
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Meg Rose was destined for a career in foodservice — and leadership. As a server at T.G.I. Fridays, then as a manager for Applebee’s, she perfected her people skills and worked her way up the corporate ladder. Today, as vice president of field operations for Firehouse Subs, Jacksonville, Fla., she continues to innovate and excel as a leader.
 
Rose was a recent guest on our podcast series Fast Casual Insider, where she shared insights and experiences she’s learned along the way. 
 
What in the industry has changed how you do your job? 
The days where we’d have 10 applicants waiting in the wings to fill a job opening don’t exist anymore. It’s more important than ever to understand that you’ll keep people longer by being a good leader and providing a good place to work. Part of that means you have to be clear, careful and deliberate in your training to get employees to understand why you want them to do things in a certain way. Show how the step you’re asking for can shorten a ticket time or make it easier for them to make a sandwich. It’s all about how you talk to them. Today, it’s not enough to give orders, you need to explain the “why” behind it to get them on board.
 
What is your biggest service pet peeve?
When our employees fail to acknowledge our guests, that’s probably the biggest one. Just a smile and eye contact make up for a lot. It’s particularly important when customers walk into your restaurant for the first time and don’t know what to do. Anyone who makes them feel comfortable or shows them what to do is a huge asset in my book. We’re known for the welcome we give to our customers. We use a Code 10-12 (which means “stand by”) to signal that a customer is approaching the Firehouse. We also have bells on our doors. When they ring, our employees know to turn toward the guest, smile and say, “Welcome to Firehouse.” 
 
Describe a life-altering experience that impacted your life.
Four years ago, I was on a step stool, checking my gutters. I fell, shattering a bone in my leg. I was in a brace for 12 weeks. It really changed everything I did. I couldn’t put my foot on the ground and ended up needing to take help from people – that is not something I’m used to. I often think about how much worse it could have been; I could have hit my head or hurt my back and experienced an injury that was much more serious. So the broken leg was a small thing, in one sense, but having to rely on people all of a sudden? That was an experience. It’s when I really learned how important it is to be able to ask for and receive help, which is no small thing.