Monica Rothgery: Lessons from the Drive Thru

Monica Rothgery, former COO of KFC US, part of Yum Brands, shares inspiring lessons about excellence along with surprising insights into fast food kitchens. Monica’s recent book, “Lessons from the Drive-Thru: Real Life Wisdom for Frontline Leaders” goes beyond optimal team management practices and provides great advice for everyone who is pursuing excellence in their lives.

A great tip to attract and retain loyal employees and to create an environment where team members feel valued is to invest both monetary and relationship capital. Engagement is essential. Take the time to learn about your team members and always show respect. The team members impact the customer experience. Monica’s advice to optimize customer service is to not overreact or take things personally. She taught her team members to respond to a frustrated customer by saying: “That shouldn’t have happened. Let me fix it for you.” That validating response can help diffuse emotions. Her customer service tip can be applied in many home or business life situations. She emphasized that frontline management greatly impacts people, not only the team members but also the customers. Many first jobs are at fast food restaurants. Management needs to realize that they have the power to positively change lives.

You may be surprised to learn about the time and effort KFC and Yum Brands take to innovate new flavors and offerings. The Food Innovation Team even studies trends in fine dining as part of their innovation and creation approach. Chicken and Waffles and Nashville Hot are examples of this practice.

Bottom line, Monica encourages everyone to increase the top line of life, i.e. finding and doing the things that bring joy. She recommends writing down what depletes you and what brings you joy and fulfillment and to focus always on the joy. Monica reminds us that abundance follows joy.

Savor the day!

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