I’ve had the pleasure of observing hundreds of multi-unit managers as they sit down to review business performance with their store, unit, restaurant or general managers. It feels like we’ve come a long way from reviews being solely focused on financial key performance indicators (KPIs), to the near exclusion of other critical business elements, perhaps with a few minutes squeezed in to discuss the manager’s development plan, if they’re lucky!

Indeed, I would say that most monthly reviews are now far more focused on the full range of KPIs and that the training and development of the manager (along with their whole team) is now a regular feature during the conversation.

And yet I feel that we’ve still got some way to go to make these review meetings as effective as I know they can be. Whilst for every business, the specific areas of focus vary, three common opportunities that I see for quick and lasting improvements are:

  • Preparation: managers fully planning for business reviews; formulating a concise but compelling commentary on the reasons why performance was good (so it can be replicated) or poor (so it can be mitigated and improved). Making it up on the day should not be acceptable!
  • Structure: creating a structure to ensure the business review cycle (typically a quarter’s worth) includes a deep dive into all the crucial key result areas that go into the running of any successful hospitality, retail, or leisure business and that this is consistently applied across all multi-unit managers and locations.
  • Actions: the focus is on what actions are going to be taken (what, how, when and by whom) and that these are clearly recorded for follow up and accountability.

Our free download, Operations in four lenses, lays out the four key result areas that outstanding multi-unit managers focus on while facilitating high-impact business reviews each month:

  • Quality of operations
  • Customer experience
  • Employee growth and performance
  • Financial performance.

I’ve no doubt that many of the elements described in Operations in four lenses are already being reviewed. But how often, and to what level of detail, is less clear. Some elements, such as the expectation that the manager is aware of competitor activity (new products, promotional activity, or significant pricing changes) are frequently cited to me by multi-unit managers as being highly desirable. Yet there is little in the way of structure or consistency to promote their manager’s awareness of such information.

There is a great opportunity to truly broaden the reach of the period business review. By doing this, managers have a full understanding of the levers they can pull to influence business results. They can also ensure that accountability for doing so is explicitly placed at the heart of the process. This is what makes the period business review process so important for multi-unit managers to master.

Operations in four lenses

Download our winning framework of operational lenses.