In the aftermath of Chipotle’s link to foodborne illnesses in 12 states, the fast casual announced an unprecedented chainwide closure for an all-hands-on-deck food safety meeting on Feb. 8. The four-hour, live satellite broadcast took place over lunch, and included nearly 60,000 staffers nationwide.
When the plan was announced, Moe’s Southwestern Grill scrambled to hold its own special meeting (albeit on a smaller scale) of owners to discuss how to take advantage of the opportunity.
“In light of what has been happening in our competitive space, our owners encouraged us to take bolder action,” says Bruce Schroder, Moe’s president. “Based on their feedback, we were able to quickly shift gears and come up with an entire campaign within mere weeks.” The result was its BOGO “Rebound Burrito” campaign, held the day of Chipotle’s shutdown.
Systemwide meetings can serve many purposes—damage control, ideation, recognition, training—but do you need a meeting? Is your message being understood? “We look for a mix of different ways to communicate with people. It’s all about two-way communications, regular touch points and making sure everybody understands the direction you’re going,” says Stacie Barrett, manager of internal communications and events for Domino’s.
That can be done in a number of ways; there’s no right answer, she says. But there are some strategies that work.