According to T.G.I. Friday’s, when Alan Stillman founded the concept in 1965, he created a cool new singles bar because he figured the bar scene in a city full of skyscrapers needed a bit of a shake up. One week later, the New York police were called in to control the crowds as hordes of young people flocked to the city’s newest hot spot.
Today, it’s a lot less “singles bar” but a lot more fun. After all, isn’t Friday the best day of the week?
Last week, I spent a few days listening to some great companies talk about their efforts at leveraging internal branding and improving employee engagement. These companies “get it”. They know that no brand has a chance if the employees aren’t along for the ride. After a whirlwind two days, my traveling companion and I headed to the airport…to cool our heals for the five hours we would have to wait for our flight. He wanted to dine at Friday’s. I just wanted a drink. So, off we went in search of their outpost in the Miami International Airport.
As we walked through the dining room to find our booth in the very back of the restaurant, I happened to get a glimpse of the kitchen. There were a number of workers in there and one was snapping a picture with her camera. I didn’t know if a celebrity had dropped in or if something terrible had happened. Ensconced in our booth, I suddenly heard the cheers and celebration. OK…
Our server stopped by our table to welcome us. I have to tell you she was grinning from ear to ear as you can see by this picture she let me take. I asked her what the celebration was for and she told us that they had been “validated”.
I did not know this, but the location was fairly new. As a team, they staff had all gone through opening and training together, and after a time of review, T.G.I. Friday’s had now deemed them worthy of “earning their stripes”. They instantly went from trainees wearing nondescript black shirts to the most excited group of people I’ve ever seen wearing their brand new red and white striped shirts.
After two days of coveting the beautiful technology being used by some major companies to connect employees to a vision, this group had been connected by the prospect of wearing a cotton poly blend shirt. Wow!
Simple things can connect your vision and your employees.