EJ Excels — And So Does Everybody Around Him
EJ serves as Restaurant General Manager (RGM) for our Glenolden location. He’s only been with us for four years, but he’s already sure he doesn’t want to work for anybody else! Summerwood is the employer he’s worked for the longest to date.
“Summerwood is very important to me,” he says. “I come from a background of franchise owners that didn’t really care … didn’t have opportunities to grow … for us to train …”
For EJ, Summerwood has been the complete opposite: it’s a place where he feels cared for and sees opportunities to develop a career, be trained properly from the start to do any job well and move up. According to him, everyone from the owners down to restaurant management are involved with a hands-on approach.
EJ joined Summerwood as an assistant manager and was supported right away with the classes and training that led to his promotion. Now he leads a team of nearly 60. It’s this environment that gives him the confidence that his next goal — becoming a Certified Restaurant Training Manager — is absolutely possible.
The Trickle Down Effect
As an RGM, EJ returns the favor tenfold by passing that support and confidence on to people on his team. He embodies the type of leader we’re proud to have — one who enjoys his work, genuinely cares for his team members, and ultimately, inspires greatness.
“I feel like the key to being a successful RGM is having the team behind your back and then just the way that you treat the team,” EJ says. “Just simple recognition really, is what matters … just making a person feel like they belong.”
“If I can make one difference in one person’s life, that’s all that really matters to me.” -EJ, RGM
“What really gives me the joy in what I do is to be able to teach and train and develop,” he continues. “And give somebody an opportunity that they didn’t have before me.”
EJ shares a story about one of the young teenagers he’s positively influenced — and who has touched his life, too. He took a 15-year-old under his wing, someone who he says was the only one he was ever able to trust in his previous restaurant with the responsibilities he gave him: setting up the restaurant, “running results,” executing on high standards of cleanliness and food safety, and being “CORE-ready” at all times.
“That 15–year–old is now 17, and one of the best employees that I ever had,” he says. “He goes with me everywhere I go now.”
“I feel like as [an] RGM, we tend to be their leader, their role model, their therapist, their mentor,” EJ says. “I think a lot of people look up to us.”
“My favorite part of the job is to teach and to motivate.” – EJ, RGM
And he’s right! EJ’s passionate leadership does not go unnoticed. Even the guests who come into his Taco Bell have commented on how the environment in his restaurant has changed, for the better. His response? That he just gave his team a little taste of inspiration and motivation.
To EJ, team members control the atmosphere of the business and drive the culture. “Everybody has to enjoy coming to work,” he shares.
So what are you waiting for? and love your work!