The Fast Casual Nation Podcast offers exclusive interviews with experts ranging from top chefs and brand makers to executives and restaurants who work in one of the fastest-growing segments of the restaurant industry. In this episode, I chat with Amanda Powell, vice president at Coolgreens about their training program, fresh food vending machines, and expansion plans.

Powell brings twenty-five years restaurant experience to Coolgreens. She has been a regional training manager, general manager, and has developed training programs prior to arriving at Coolgreens. She says, “I arrived at Coolgreens as the director of operations of training and have spent the last several years streamlining their training processes, menu innovations in working with developing the franchisees, and growing our brand. And then I was promoted to vp of operations in 2019 and now we are here today.”

Powell currently runs the franchise operations and directly works with the general managers and the franchisees. She also handles the IT Department and does all of the online learning, training videos, and management systems. She says about training, “one of my favorite things to do is write training programs. Over the years I have learned that our team members learn better by watching videos and just seeing things more visual learners. So I’ve incorporated that into our training and so when you get hired, you go through several courses like our new team member packet and then there’s a hospitality packet because you know we think all restaurants should be full of hospitality at all times.”

I asked Powell about being a mission-driven and people-focused organization, she says, “people are the best thing about the restaurants from our team members to our guests. You know our goal is to serve healthy, delicious food but we want to assure all of our guests and team members are well taken care of. We refer to this as a hospitality hug or a hospitality blanket as you will. We want our team to feel special and welcomed every day every shift.” She adds, “Our struggle is hiring as most places are but during the pandemic we actually did not lose anybody and we had people want to come work for us because it is a great place to work because our GMs just always have that hospitality within them and they share it with our teams.”

When it comes to Coolgreens company values Powell shares, “one of them is the coolest hospitality, I just feel that it’s just the things I love about restaurants, if you have a clean restaurant and you have great food and you have great hospitality, you will win over every guest and every team member every time. So it’s just a big focus of hospitality.”

 To hear how Coolgreens took on the challenges of the pandemic, adapted to the supply chain shortages, and about the rollout of Coolgreens Markets, listen to this episode of Fast Casual Nation on Apple Podcasts

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