By Kerry Needs   |  
December 4th, 2020

Meet TJ McReynolds: General Manager at Snooze Eatery, Kansas City

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Snooze Eatery is a popular chain of restaurants in the US with 43 locations. Snooze opened their first location in 2006 in the heart of downtown Denver. They have since grown exponentially, with a 44th restaurant on the way in the next month. 

Snooze Kansas City opened just a month before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on restaurants and cafes throughout the world. 

The team at Snooze used iAuditor to build up a culture of safety, consistency and quality during one of the most uncertain periods for hospitality businesses. 

We spoke to TJ McReynolds, General Manager, at Snooze Eatery to find out how they navigated such a challenging and destabilising period. TJ is responsible for managing the store, and making sure that they keep on top of hygiene and safety standards.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business?

It’s impacted it enormously – every facet of our business has been hit. 

As a restaurant chain, we have a substantially limited capacity at all 43 of our locations. 

I’m based in Kansas City, and because of distancing requirements, it’s put us at around a 50% capacity, which has really decreased sales. It’s even affected the table turns, which are much slower due to the added cleaning and sanitization requirements. 

On top of this, we’ve experienced disruptions in our supply chains. There have been huge shortages on items we would buy regularly, such as chemicals, gloves and towels.

When COVID hit, we went back to our number one priority – safety, and this has driven every change and decision we have made.

What changes have you had to make to your operations?

It’s changing by the day – everyone at Snooze is always making adjustments to keep our Snoozers (our staff) and our guests safe, as well as continuing to aim for our sustainability targets in order to neutralize our carbon footprint.

We ‘Snoozers’ are pretty proud of the operational excellence we uphold, and we knew that in order to maintain this level of excellence we needed to come together and communicate clearly. And of course, we needed to keep that sense of fun to engage with the customers who came to eat at Snooze, or who were ordering delivery from the comfort of their own home.

We’ve conducted virtual brunch parties, meal kits and provision packs for those in quarantine. We’re pretty proud of how our safety, staffing levels and cleanliness practices have remained strong throughout. 

One of the biggest changes in the restaurants is that we’ve created a new role called the ‘Safety Dancer’.

Safety Dancers clock in and they don’t stop moving the entire day. They clean all day. They work off of two checklists. One is a 15 minute cycle and the other is an hourly cycle

This position was created to ensure that our restaurants are as clean and safe as possible. In this role, the person spends their entire shift cleaning each high-trafficked or high-touch area every 15 minutes. I believe adding this new role has been extremely helpful in keeping people feeling safe and keeping our restaurant really clean.  

When did you first come across iAuditor?

We’ve actually used iAuditor for years now – we’re big fans! Since we started in 2006, safety has been a huge part of what we do, and the pandemic has increased the importance of our safety protocols.

Using the iAuditor software has been incredible for us to monitor and track our procedures safely and securely – it’s an invaluable tool.

How has iAuditor and SafetyCulture helped you in responding to the pandemic?

We use daily operational checklists in order to conduct all the necessary safety and hygiene checks, and we can do all of it through the iAuditor dashboard.

We’re always monitoring and cleaning highly trafficked surfaces, and iAuditor has allowed us to do this with speed and efficiency.

Consistency, quality & safety, especially in a COVID world, is something that’s incredibly important.

What do the future months look like for Snooze Eatery?

Of course, safety will remain our top priority. The experts have said it may be a tough winter, and we’ll continue to make adjustments in accordance with the latest advice.

When people are wanting to wait for a table, we’ll be asking them to line up outside. This is probably not what they’d want to do in winter, but it’ll be part of our safety measures for COVID.

Our current practices are really thorough, so I’m confident that we’ll continue to navigate challenges with safety top of mind. We’ll also continue to be diligent with wellness checks for our Snoozers, as well as asking guests to order delivery if they’re not feeling well.

Lastly, our Safety Dancer will remain a pivotal role in the business, in order to stay on top of our sanitization processes. We will all continue to remain diligent for the months to come.

iAuditor is helping thousands of businesses navigate the pandemic. Check out more of our customer stories and see how they’re optimising their businesses with by using our COVID-19 response hub.

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