Patrick Droesch is reviving a tired brand by putting people first.
The president and COO of Lonestar Steak House, Droesch came on board in June 2010 to a situation, he says, “where the business results were clearly not where anyone wanted or expected them to be.”
And the problem was actually two problems, he says, since Lonestar incorporates a second brand, Texas Land & Cattle Steak House, which was suffering a similar fate.
What Droesch did was turn first to his employees.
“I fundamentally believe that the culture of any organization drives its results. So the first thing I did was identify the culture of our company. We had to align on what we wanted our results to be, and have all 7,500 employees aligned towards achieving those results. Then we had to look at how to get to those results.”
This would bring about an entire culture shift in the company, he says.
Droesch came up with six cultural beliefs, which are posted in every restaurant and are designed to be integrated into the company’s culture:
- People First—I respect and treat people the way I want to be treated.
- Stand Tall—I proudly serve the team, the guest, and our brand.
- Live Trust— I demonstrate integrity and cultivate an environment of trust
- Get involved—I stay above the line and choose to make a positive impact on our key results.
- Crave Feedback— I value all feedback to grow and improve.
- Win Now—I succeed when I consistently deliver balanced key results.
Droesch then traveled to six cities across the country (five for Lone Star Steakhouse and one for Texas Land & Cattle) to meet with general managers and area directors. At each he held a two-day ‘Culture Shift Roadshow’during which everyone gave input into the culture shift that was required for the future of the brands.
He also introduced and taught the new six cultural beliefs as well as the company’s new model for positive accountability, recognition, and feedback.
Under the former operating model, business was geared towards profits. Droesch has changed that so now there’s a large degree of recognition and feedback for employees.
Recognition of employees’ work is vital, he says, both for morale, and to allow the company to recognize top performers and see who needs more help.
“You can’t have too much positive recognition,” Droesch says. “People don’t understand how important and how powerful positive recognition is. We tend to think feedback is something we give when something’s wrong. But we believe it’s the opposite.”
General managers and district managers are recognized with a plaque and a financial reward. Servers and bussers participate in incentive programs like sales incentive contests—such as who can sell the most wine or who receives the best guest comments.