OPERATIONS

Eddie Bauer CEO to leave company

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Seattle — A Tuesday report by the Seattle Times said that Eddie Bauer chief Neil Fiske, who joined the retailer in 2007 and led it through bankruptcy, will leave his post effective March 2.

The company has not given a reason for Fiske’s sudden departure. David Chamberlain, executive chairman, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is named. Fiske will remain with the company as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition.

“Neil set the vision and strategy for the company’s return to its roots, and the board is committed to continuing this direction," said Chamberlain in a statement.

Chamberlain said the company will look for a CEO "who can take the brand through its next phase of growth."

Fiske took the helm of Eddie Bauer in July 2007 after leading a turnaround of Bath & Body Works. During the height of the recession, in June 2009, Eddie Bauer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was purchased out of bankruptcy and taken private by Golden Gate Capital for $286 million in cash.

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OPERATIONS

Study: Shoppers use smartphones, social media for purchase decisions

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — The Deloitte American Pantry Study, released Tuesday, polled more than 4,000 shoppers and found that, more than ever, consumers are turning to social networks, smartphones, and tablets to meet their shopping needs.

According to the study, 90% of shoppers know what they’re buying before they arrive at a store. Three-quarters say they are smarter shoppers than they were a year ago, and 86% believe they are getting more precise in what they buy.

“With the proliferation of online shopping, smartphones and social networking, it’s vital that consumer product companies consider the use of highly targeted pre-store shopper engagement programs, which could include constant communication through new technology mediums,” said Pat Conroy, Deloitte’s consumer products sector leader.

According to Deloitte, there are three ways that brands can engage shoppers via social networks and smartphones:

  • Become part of the planning process by embracing personalized mobile applications aimed at enhancing the pre-store planning process, and utilizing personalized mobile advertising and promotions that provide a route to consumers considering products;
  • Enhance in-store mobile and social networking experiences; and
  • Extend the product involvement to maintain post-purchase conversations. There are several benefits to extending the product experience across channels and away from home, said Conroy, including maintaining and growing brand awareness and consideration among existing customers.
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OPERATIONS

Checkers and Rally’s team with JobApp to drive operational efficiencies

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bloomfield Hills, Mich. — Talent management technology-provider JobApp Network said that Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is utilizing its services to up its talent quotient and reduce turnover.

According to JobApp, after less than nine months of utilizing its core talent acquisition solution, Checkers’ own internal analysis showed a 40.9% reduction in restaurant team member turnover. And, said JobApp, turnover results from the team members at JobApp restaurants were significantly better compared to Checkers’ control group restaurants.

Eliminating paper through JobApp allowed Checkers to process 14,000 applications across its 298 corporate locations in November 2011 and entirely eliminate paper from the hiring and onboarding processes.

“Over the past four years, Checkers and Rally’s has been investing heavily in systems, including Guest Satisfaction, Speed of Service and other operational tools along with Back Office solutions that are delivering record-level results in Guest Satisfaction and other operating metrics,” said Adam Noyes, chief restaurant operations and supply chain officer.

According to Noyes, the JobApp tool has helped drive awareness to an available employment pool, and has systematized the manual system, providing Checkers managers with tools to select the very best employees. “We also partnered with JobApp on full integration with our other operating systems, so it is a win-win for our team and for our guests,” he said.

Restaurant manager surveys conducted by Checkers across more than 50 restaurants indicated that restaurant managers also clearly perceived that JobApp brought a better quality of applicant and reduced time-to-hire. In fact, the vast majority of its restaurant managers indicated an average time savings of approximately two hours per week and 92% of restaurant managers strongly recommended rolling JobApp out across the entire system.

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