“I like solving problems,” says Lynna McNany, operations manager at Grove City College in Grove City, PA. “It’s my favorite part of my job.”
For example, not too long ago Lynna realized it was taking students five to seven minutes to get through the rotisserie line. “How do we make that three to five minutes? It was like a puzzle to me,” she explains. “How do we get that person help without increasing our costs too much?” The solution: hiring student workers for a two-hour shift to assist the rotisserie cook in an assembly-line fashion. Students were looking for work, and Grove City guests got better service.
Those problem-solving skills and initiative are among the reasons Lynna has been promoted multiple times in her 14 years with Bon Appétit Management Company, says her mentor, General Manager JonErik Germadnik. “She helps the business improve by being so proactive. She’s a huge asset to our team here.”
Back in 2003 Lynna was the general manager at a Grove City restaurant with three small children and not much work-life balance. She started looking at university food service as a solution and quickly decided Bon Appétit might be the right fit. She started on the ground level, as a server. About two months in, she admits, “I was going crazy, I needed more to do” — and so when JonErik was looking for a front-of-house supervisor, she stepped forward. In 2006 it was time to shift her focus again, for family reasons; when the office manager retired, Lynna applied for and got that job, a 9-to-5 position. By 2011, she was missing operations and asked to come back. JonErik made her front-of-house café manager, and a year later promoted her to operations manager.
“The empathy and care Bon Appétit has for employees is really incredible, and I have never found another company like that.”
“JonErik mentors by showing us what we should be seeing. He opens our eyes. Managers might do the same thing every day; that can result in tunnel vision,” Lynna explains.“He will say, ‘Let’s go for a walk. See this and this?’ Part of the reason I was able to grow and be promoted was because of his mentoring and training. He’s very good at developing managers from hourly to salaried.”
The other reason, she says, is Bon Appétit’s culture. “The empathy and care Bon Appétit has for employees is really incredible, and I have never found another company like that,” Lynna says. “Obviously we like to run our operation and make a profit, but we also care about other things. Bon Appétit managers understand we have families, we have kids, sick mothers.”
…And farms! Lynna and her husband have always had a small farm about 7 miles outside Grove City. Lynna’s middle son, Matthew, now runs 5M Farms, the Farm to Fork vendor that supplies Grove City with nearly all of its ground beef (see story).
Learning about what 5M had to do to meet Bon Appétit’s standards was just one aspect of the ongoing education that Lynna says also sets the company apart. “I’ve enjoyed getting this knowledge — the different aspects of our sustainability program, training in celiac disease and made-without-gluten-containing ingredients, Farmworker Awareness Week. I know this might sound corny, but I just like my job — the business and operations side, driving results with financials, how can we make labor better, and learning about new things. I just like all aspects of it!”