Cultivating a Culture of Consistency in Operations for Continuous Improvement

Last Updated on April 5, 2022 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

The ability of medium- to large-size businesses to synchronize their operations gives them a competitive edge.

As the chief operating officer at Studio Movie Grill, an experiential theater dining company, Brian Hood maintains operational consistency across the organization’s 21 locations. Having the entire team on one page helps them improve their services and mitigate rising challenges. Brian Hood is the guest in this episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast. He shares with the host, Chad Franzen, the importance of cultivating a culture of consistency across the entire business for success.

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Show Notes    

[0:26] Intro    

  • Chad Franzen mentions some of the past guests who have been on the show, including David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of the E-Myth.
  • Chad Franzen introduces SweetProcess, a workflow tool that helps businesses streamline their operations even in life-or-death situations.    
  • SweetProcess offers a 14-day free trial without a credit card.  

[1:26] Chad Franzen introduces the guest, Brian Hood. 

[2:41] What’s Studio Movie Grill all about? 

  • Studio Movie Grill is a pioneer in theater dining. It combines film, food, and fun experientially.  
  • The organization is in nine states across 21 locations in the United States.  

[3:08] Brain talks about his day-to-day activities as COO.

  • Brian focuses on creating predictable outcomes for both his team members and guests, giving them the same experience across the organization’s various locations. 
  • He reviews the challenges, opportunities and successes people have, as well as the challenges and successes associated with products and processes. Brian constantly plans, acts, checks, and adjusts based on the data he acquires.

[14:13] How does Brian maintain operational consistency across the organization’s 21 locations? 

  • Simplicity is key in maintaining operational consistency. 
  • It’s important to have a single source of truth when it comes to implementing processes.  
  • You need to review your processes regularly for improvement and higher efficiency.  

[6:06] Brian highlights the importance of operational consistency to a brand. 

  • To build an iconic brand, you need to create consistency. 
  • Consistency builds loyalty both internally and externally. 

[7:31] How does the management team at Studio Movie Grill communicate changes in operations to its various locations? 

  • The management team collects its net promoter scores and reviews them every two weeks. 
  • They cultivate a constant flow of information to better develop their team members and managers and also create processes that serve those improvements.  

[8:46] Brian talks about the challenges that COVID-19 presents to the organization’s operations.  

  • The organization prioritizes the safety of its team and guests amid the pandemic.  
  • They leverage technology to create safe spaces within the CDC guidelines. 
  • They also communicate the details of the situation and their requirements to their guests to ensure that they abide by their guidelines.  

[12:01] How does Brian maintain operational consistency working with a high turnover in team members? 

  • Brian offers the team adequate flexibility and compensation.  
  • The organization offers the team opportunities for growth and development.  
  • They offer their team members free movie tickets to watch movies with their friends and families.  

[14:31] Brian talks about flexibility and the need to work in a gig economy. 

  • The organization is testing various options of flexibility so team members can have different work options.  

[15:40] How is the organization dealing with the rising inflation? 

  • Simplicity is key in managing inflation-related issues.  
  • Limiting the number of products on their menu helps the team manage the shortages caused by supply-chain issues.  
  • Determining the right price of your products is important to stay competitive during inflation.  

[18:01] Brian mentions some of his favorite tools for operations. 

  • The organization uses a menu prediction tool to know what guests order regularly. 

[18:40] Why is it important to know what guests order? 

  • Knowing what guests order helps the team to make those items available at all times. 
  • It helps the team with its prep labor to be more efficient in its service delivery. 

[20:21] How can people find out more about Studio Movie Grill? 

[20:49] Outro

About Brian Hood 

Brian Hood of Studio Movie Grill

Brian Hood is the chief operating officer at Studio Movie Grill, an experiential theater dining company. He has held various leadership roles in the organization, including senior vice president of operations, vice president of operations, and vice president of organizational development.  

As a leader, Brian showcases a high level of expertise in operations, facilities management, organizational development, and talent acquisition, training, and development. 

Brian’s specialties include integral leadership, virtual brands, building to scale, coaching, learning and development platforms, and many more.

Transcript of the Interview

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Chad Franzen: Chad Franzen here, co-host of the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of The E-Myth and many more.

Chad Franzen: This episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. Have you had team members ask you the same questions over and over again, and this is the 10th time you spent explaining it? There’s a better way and a solution. SweetProcess is a software that makes it drop dead easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. Not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operations.

Chad Franzen: Use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time so you can focus on growing your team and empowering them to do their best work. Sign up for a free 14 day trial. No credit card required. Go to, sweet like candy,

Chad Franzen: Brian Hood is the chief operations officer for Studio Movie Grill. Previous roles within Studio Movie Grill include senior vice president of operations, vice president of operations and vice president of organizational development. In these roles, Brian led operations, facilities, organizational development and that includes talent acquisition, training and development. Brian, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?

Brian Hood: Doing great, Chad, thanks for having me on.

Chad Franzen: So tell me a little bit about Studio Movie Grill and the experience that a customer might expect when they go there.

Brian Hood: Yeah, we are the pioneer in theater dining. So we combine film, food and fun. It’s experiential. You can come into a movie theater, you can experience full service in our theaters. And we give our guests the option to experience us in different ways, how they feel comfortable in this pandemic era.

Brian Hood: They can choose traditional service where someone comes, takes their order, delivers a check, or they can go onto our app and order, or they can actually use the kiosk. So it’s whatever they feel comfortable with and meeting the guests where they’re at. We show first run films across the United States. We’re in nine states across the country. And it’s a great concept. It’s a unique concept. And, we have a love of movies.

Chad Franzen: You’re in nine states. How many locations are spread out among those nine states?

Brian Hood: We have 21 locations currently.

Chad Franzen: So you are in charge of operations at Studio Movie Grill with 21 locations spread out across nine states. What does your day-to-day look like?

Brian Hood: Well, I think the day-to-day is creating predictable outcomes, not just for our team members, but for our guests and making sure that if a guest is on the east coast in Alpharetta, Georgia, they have the same experience that someone might have in Rocklin, California. And it’s differentiating ourselves in our competitive segment. It’s always working toward continuous improvement.

Brian Hood: So my day is really reviewing the people challenges and opportunities and successes, the process challenges and successes, the product challenges and successes, and then the profitability piece of that as well. So it helps us measure the stakeholders and constantly plan, do, check and adjust as we look at our business.

Chad Franzen: You mentioned the process, I’m sure it’s somewhat, maybe complicated, I don’t know, with that many locations across that many different states. Can you break down your process for me in terms of maintaining a consistent operation?

Brian Hood: Yeah. I think simplicity is a very important piece of it. We use a stakeholder model when we’re looking at our process. How does it affect our team members? How does it affect the guests? How does it affect and work in the same space as our current processes? Does it create more time robbers? Does it ease the execution? Does it make it easier and more simplified to run the operation? And does it benefit the profitability of the organizations too, or does it make it clunky?

Brian Hood: So we review those different aspects when we look at processes. A very important piece is you have to have a single source of truth. When it comes to processes they have to be accurate. You have to do something that’s protected, but at the same, these processes have to serve for continuous improvements. So they need to be reviewed on a regular basis.

Brian Hood: If you have a process for how you’re going to clean a theater, if it’s not continuously improving throughout for the team members, for the guests, for our team members, for the cleanliness of the facility and for the efficiencies, then it needs to be reviewed on a regular basis. So when we look at processes, we look at what do we really want, and are we seeing continuous improvement in this? And if not, we have to review these on a regular routine basis to really improve. I think that’s a simple way of looking at it.

Chad Franzen: Is it important to have consistency for the brand? Let’s say I go to a Studio Movie Grill in Sunset Walk, Florida, and then a month later I’m in Duluth, Georgia and I go to that one. Is it important for the brand to have consistency among all of those little processes?

Brian Hood: Well, of course, yes, absolutely. We want the guest, the guest that has level expectations and to really build a brand, an iconic brand, you have to have consistency within that brand. And it builds brand loyalty, both internally and externally. So, yes, absolutely.

Brian Hood: And how you go about measuring if your processes are accurate, that’s the next thing. You can have all the processes in the world, but if your team members get frustrated because it’s difficult to perform a certain task because of these layered processes or maybe it’s your guest who feels that they’re not seeing value in their experience in one of our theaters. We have to look in the mirror and say, "Are we doing the right thing here?"

Brian Hood: There has to be a check and balance with processes. And we find that in our net promoter scores. We measure and we want to hear from our guests how all these processes that really drive behaviors are really affecting the guests. And then we get great feedback from our guests and we get great feedback from our team members. And that gives us that, I guess you’d say ammunition and tools and resources to make those changes.

Chad Franzen: How do you communicate then maybe that feedback or changes to people throughout the country in each of those stores?

Brian Hood: Yeah, well, we collect our net promoter scores and we review them every two weeks. So we get the guest feedback. We measure not just the facility, we measure the food execution, the actual timing of the food to the seat, the overall, the sound quality, the film quality, the organization. Like I said, the facility components of it and the most important thing, which is, "Would you recommend us to someone else?"

Brian Hood: So we do that biweekly and then we turn around on a monthly basis and we share that information with our teams. And sometimes it’s very inspiring to hear from your guests you’re doing things right, but it’s also very sobering when they tell you the things that you need to improve on. And that’s what we wake up every morning to do. We wake up every morning to get better. And so it’s a constant flow of information for us to be able to use to better train, to better develop our team members and our managers, and also to create processes that serve to those improvements.

Chad Franzen: What kind of challenges has COVID and does COVID present in terms of your operations?

Brian Hood: Great question. I think everyone has been challenged by this and depending upon where those locations are and based on the leveled restrictions or ordinances, or COVID guidelines for those individual states that have been given by those governors and mayors, et cetera, it’s different, right. And it’s a moving target. But I think the most important thing is, is first you have to evaluate what the guidelines are. First, we had to look at our stakeholder model again.

Brian Hood: How do we protect our team? Our team members have to be safe. Our guests have to be safe. Those are the most important things. And if those things can’t be realized then we really need to take another look at it because those are unyielding. Those are non-negotiables for us. So the challenges that we faced were the same as everyone else, creating space. Our technology allowed us to create space within the seating that met those guidelines.

Brian Hood: We obviously have larger facilities, which allowed us to spread out people a lot more. We weren’t really realizing full capacity, as many of many people in the industry weren’t, but we had more room to work with, I would say. Sanitation, it was following the OSHA, the CDC, and also the NATO guidelines to be able to say, "We’re cinema safe and that guests could feel safe coming into our theaters." And knowing that we’re following these guidelines very, very, very … to the letter of the law.

Brian Hood: And I think it’s also telling our guests and educating, and maybe communicating to our guests what those details were. Sanitation stations, making sure we’re using approved chemicals, making sure our team members are wearing gloves, making sure that we are exercising continuous food safety and COVID safety practices. So those were the challenges that we faced. Masks, obviously too, and having to making sure that our team members who are working are wearing a mask.

Brian Hood: So, I think I’m very proud of our team. I think they handled it with not just class, but also with the resilience. Our team members, they love our concept and our guests. I’ve never seen so many guests thank us for being open when we could open in the markets. And so I see this as a victory, despite a lot of challenges. So that’s how we had to pivot. And we continuously are monitoring those ordinances and those restrictions on a daily basis to make sure we’re in compliance, but above and beyond in compliance in terms of cleanliness and sanitation.

Chad Franzen: When you talk about team members, how do you maintain consistent operation? In that kind of industry I’m sure there’s a lot of people who it’s … they’re not career workers. They’re there maybe to get through school or on, maybe a temporary basis, how do you maintain consistency of operations with a workforce like that?

Brian Hood: Well, yeah. Flexibility I think is one thing. There’s compensation, there’s flexibility, there’s quality of life. There’s also, what are the benefits? So we are very flexible and we’re very … there’s a peak and lull in the movie business, as everyone knows. During the holidays and during the summer you’re very busy. And then there’s lulls just like there is in any brick and mortar establishment, as well.

Brian Hood: So we offer flexibility. Our timelines are a little different. We don’t do breakfast at … no one goes to see a movie for breakfast. But I will say this is that the flexibility in the hours is a big part of it. The second thing of it is, is that the benefit is, is you have an entertainment value there. We do offer our team members movie tickets, where they can come and watch movies with friends and family.

Brian Hood: And that’s a big win for a lot of our team members. A lot of our team members, they love the movies. I would say it’s a certain tribe out there that just, the movies are a part of their lives and movies resonate with them. So those team members we attract and I think the other piece about keeping team members is, people have, they always talk about growth, and when people say they’re growing, whether it’s the organization’s growing locations, but really what I think we really focus on is the internal growth and building transferable skills.

Brian Hood: We have a tremendous learning platform that our team has created and it gives them a pathway to development. So if they choose to develop within Studio Movie Grill for a career, we have that path for them and the steps that they can follow. But it also teaches them transferable skills, emotional intelligence training, everything from change leadership, all these different educational modules that they can take advantage of.

Brian Hood: And I’m proud to say that a lot of the people that come and want to get into management, about 50% of them are team our members. They love the concept that much, because they feel they’ve grown through it both personally and professionally. So those are some of the aspects or those are some of the things that really help us in terms of attracting team members to Studio Movie Grill and retaining them, which is a huge challenge in this environment.

Chad Franzen: You mentioned flexibility. Is that a key piece? Do you guys work in the gig economy?

Brian Hood: Well, we’re putting our toe in the water on that right now. There’s opportunities where people, now they want to choose how they work, when they work and what they do. And so we’re testing that in a couple locations and looking at those options. I think you always have to have your eyes open. You can’t have blind spots in this new lingering pandemic.

Brian Hood: You have to always look for creative ways and always have to have your eyes and ears open on what’s going on out there to leverage your business and to be able to take advantage of the opportunities of sales and attendance when they do show themselves. So yeah, we’re looking at that right now as another option to … in markets that may be more challenged economically. So yeah, the gig work piece is growing and we’re testing it because I feel it can be a benefit for us.

Chad Franzen: How are you guys handling inflation? Everybody’s dealing with rising inflation. What are you guys trying to do anyway to deal with that?

Brian Hood: Yeah. Another big pain point I think for the industry has been the rising inflation, commodity pricing, supply chain. I joke around, but you can’t even find straws. It’s straws, bowls, silverware. I mean, these shortages you never heard of pre-pandemic and now, every time you turn around, I’ve never seen so many out stock order guides, but I think simplicity works best here.

Brian Hood: How you engineer your menu and keep it very simple and really try to take full advantage of cross-functional items to be more used in your ideation. So smaller menus you’re seeing. You’re seeing a lot of people limit the amount of products on their menu and really scaling them down. I mean, for us, particularly, we’ve dropped our menu by about 25%, but it also allowed us not to run out of things and have to tell our guests, "Hey, we’re out of this." But we took the low performing items, we removed them.

Brian Hood: And then what we did after that is we really looked at how can we also look at ideation moving forward so we can use the station distribution in the kitchen and make sure it’s even across here. So the productivity is there, the efficiencies are there. We have the products and available products that we can source to be able to serve to the guests.

Brian Hood: So there’s also the pricing of it, too. How do you go about pricing something to the point where it can be accepted in the court of public opinion? There’s a lot of places out there really pricing themselves out of the market and it’s tough. Business owners have to have … they work on penny margins and a lot of people don’t realize that. So pricing is a very sensitive subject to organizations, independents, everyone. And so I think it’s, how do we become more efficient? How do we try to not pass on those costs to the guests and how do we maintain a lean menu and efficient menu that we can execute so that we don’t interrupt the guest experience?

Chad Franzen: Do you have any favorite tools or software that help you keep operations going?

Brian Hood: We use a lot of different technologies. I think for us, we use a proprietary [MEP2 00:18:09], which is a menu prediction tool, which helps us in prep and also understanding what our guests order, which is fantastic. So a lot of times we have a pretty good idea what guests are going to order on a regular basis when they come in. So being able to prep to those levels, it really helps us from an efficiency standpoint and also from a preparedness standpoint.

Chad Franzen: Why is it important to know what … I’m sure for people in the industry this is an obvious question, but why is it important to know what guests order?

Brian Hood: Well, I mean, a couple things is, I think it’s important from the fact that you don’t want to run out of it, number one. I think that’s the kind of thing that you see a lot of. You see signs up in restaurants right now saying, "Hey, we’re really sorry, due to the limited menu because of supply chain." So by knowing what people want, you can not only be predictive, but you can also, it gives you more time to source.

Brian Hood: So that helps us. It also helps us in execution too. And it’s full cycle. It helps you with your prep labor. You can be more efficient if you know that on a certain day, they’re going to order X, these X products. So other things that we use that help us too is, we predict our attendance as well. And this is no secret. That also helps us with building our labor efficiencies too. Knowing and having a prediction of where we feel these attendance numbers are going to land helps us build efficiencies throughout the whole store throughout day, weekly, monthly.

Brian Hood: So those are other ones that really help us. One of the things that I think is a nice thing in film is you can see pre-sales, right. Just like it’d be a reservation in a regular restaurant, when you have an open table or something but we get to see pre-sales and then we can see those pre-sales. And as we see them, we can gauge the flow of business that we can expect from hour to hour. So those are some of the tools that really help us and help us build efficiencies within the business to better serve our guests.

Chad Franzen: Brian, it’s been great having you on. It’s been great talking to you. How can people find out more about Studio Movie Grill?

Brian Hood: Yeah, you can go to You can find our locations on there, our story. We also are on Instagram. We’re on Facebook, as well. But yeah, I think the thing is, is my favorite thing to say is, "See at the movies." It’s a wonderful … film is at the essence of togetherness and community. And so we love showing movies and opening hearts and minds one story at a time.

Chad Franzen: Thanks so much for your time today. It’s been great hearing your insights and all of your thoughts. I appreciate it.

Brian Hood: Chad, thanks for having me on. Take care.

Chad Franzen: You too. So long, everybody.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question, do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and/or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14 day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up. Go to, sweet like candy and process like Go now to and sign up for your risk free 14 day trial.

Owen: Hi, this is Owen, the CEO and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast interview, actually, you know what I want you to do? Go ahead and leave us a five star review on iTunes. That way we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go onto iTunes and leave us a five star review. Looking forward to reading your reviews. Have a good day.

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