Lifestyle

Branded: Brenda Thomas - Island Grill

Marketing Operations Officer

Thursday, September 06, 2012    

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How did you land the job?

For me it's really a funny story. I was working but not in a permanent 9-to-5 job. I had just started sending out applications from ads I saw in the print media. I had sent out a couple of resumes not knowing which organisation, because all they displayed were PO Box addresses. So on this particular day I had just reached home and was relaxing with my Island Grill meal when my mobile phone rang and the receptionist identified herself and indicated that she was calling from Island Grill's Support Centre and asked if I could hold for a call. Of course I started to wonder what happened when I was in the store and how could they have got my contact because I had paid cash. All sorts of things were running through my mind, none of which was a job interview. My mind was focused on the fact that I just left the store in Portmore Pines 20 minutes earlier. However, I then found out I had applied for the administrative assistant/office manager position and they had reviewed my application and wanted me to come in for an interview. I agreed to the interview and a few days later met with the general manager Albert Bailey. After not hearing from the HR Team for two weeks, I moved on, but about three weeks later, I got the call offering me the position, and the rest is history.

How long have you been in the job?

I started working at Island Grill in July 2007. For the first year I worked as the administrative assistant/office manager and I was then promoted in 2009 to my current position when the then marketing manager resigned.

What's great about your job?

My passion has always been people. I like to interact with people and this job has allowed me to do just that. It gets challenging at times like any other job, but what I must add is that I am a part of a wonderful team that is young, vibrant, and passionate about the success of Island Grill and as a result, we hold each other accountable and collaborate around challenges to bring about success. The team is very innovative and the culture of the company helps us to build on our strengths and develop our weaknesses. We have weekly managers' meetings and we never start a meeting without celebrating the things we did well. This is not only done at the management level, I must add, but throughout the organisation — that's the culture we've created — we celebrate the things we did well and do one-on-one coaching where there are gaps. Our success is because we are true to our core values and we take them seriously — integrity, fun and family.

We are not in the media a lot like our other competitors, we are a 100% Jamaican company and do not have the international backing, so we have limited resources to get the message out. So we concentrate mainly on word-of-mouth marketing by ensuring that the over 200,000 customers that we serve monthly have an excellent guest experience that they will feel compelled to talk about it to their friends and families which will generate additional business for us. We also use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with our current and potential customers. We want to hear what they are saying about us and to ensure that we are a part of their conversation constantly. People are going to talk anyway, and if we isolate ourselves we will not know what to fix when and how important it is to our customers. We also look to customer comment cards to get a feel of what the customers are saying. This data is what we use to make decisions on the areas that need our focus for improvement and the changes that are to be made. Just to highlight, we recently took off callaloo rice from the menu but right now we are in the process of putting it back on because of the many requests from our customers. So we do listen to our customers and we stay connected in order to create that bond that drives loyalty. This way our customers feel a part of our Island Grill family and a sense of pride knowing that we are a true Jamaican company that can relate to them and their needs.

Tell us something that we might not know about the Island Grill brand.

Island Grill not only offers meals that are nutritious and healthy and done in a way that promotes a healthy lifestyle, but our meals are cooked fresh every day with lots of love to create a home-style "iLand" oasis for each and every customer. We use "fresh", never frozen chicken to prepare our meals. We ensure that other input products are of high quality and ensure that all the necessary standards are met before and during production. Our focus is always on VALUE where we offer affordability, convenience, and menu variety without compromising taste and quality. We have standardised recipes to ensure consistency in product quality and cost, and our team is trained to achieve all the requisite food safety, sanitation and quality standards each day to guarantee that we exceed our customers' expectations. We are also expanding into the area of catering. The company recently invested in a J$200-million project — a state-of-the art commissary with temperature control rooms that handle the various products that we process on a day-to- day basis. Included in the commissary is a 12,000-square foot production kitchen that is able to process in excess of a thousand meals per day. We are looking to cater lunches for corporate entities that do not have their own canteens where persons will have to leave property to get lunch or they are running a canteen and it's a hassle to get it right. We are saying to them, listen we have developed the expertise in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry, so let us take the hassle out of lunch for your team by giving us the opportunity to satisfy their needs which will be sure to increase productivity. We also have our mobile units that are actually restaurants on wheels so we can do large events on site and you can guarantee the same great-tasting Island Grill you get in our stores. We are also in the business of catering so Island Grill devotees can request our services for after work lymes, workshops, seminars, parties, and even weddings.

What makes Island Grill an attractive option for those looking for fast food?

Island Grill undoubtedly boasts the healthiest meal options of all the major QSRs in Jamaica's landscape. We only use the freshest ingredients, our food is prepared fresh daily, we do not hold product beyond the specified food safety standard time and we pay keen attention to our cooking processes through the use of our grills and combi ovens that will eliminate excess fat that could possibly clog arteries and cause other health issues.

Where can consumers learn more about the Island Grill brand?

They can log onto www.facebook.com/IslandGrill or at twitter.com/#!/IslandGrill.

They can also check us out on https://foursquare.com/user/2495440 or for additional information, they can visit our Support Centre at 2 Valentine Drive, Kingston 19 or call us at 931 9829.

WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!

Island Grill's marketing operations manager Brenda Thomas has five voucher giveaways for five lucky Thursday Life readers. Each voucher entitles the winner to an Island Grill special family pack meal that includes a whole chicken, a 16 oz rice, a 16 oz cole slaw and four festivals.

To win, simply answer the following question: What ... (See question in today's paper, Thursday life Pg. 10)

The first five Thursday Life readers to send the correct answer by e-mail to marketingpromotion@jamaicaobserver.com by noon tomorrow, Friday, September 7 will win an Island Grill voucher.

Please include your name, occupation and contact number.

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