Jane Grote Abell [Service]

Jane Grote Abell – Executive Chairwoman of the Board & Owner at Donatos Pizza

 Jane talks about:
·       Lessons she learned from her Dad
·       Talks about her time on Uncover Boss
·       The importance to taking caring for your people
 The person who has influenced Jane the most in the past year:
·       Chick fil a – They are the best out there in Customer Service.
·       Dare to Serve by Cheryl Bachelder: https://amzn.to/3pwKLzP
·       Thanks for Coming in Today: Creating a Culture Where Employees Thrive & Customers Service is Alive by Charles Ryan Minton: https://amzn.to/3ipENze
 Her note to all customer service professionals:
Be Kind, because we have no ideas what’s going on in people’s lives, and try to make someone else’s life a little better…”


Nick Glimsdahl 0:02 Welcome to the Press 1 For Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Jane grody Abel. Jane is a founding family member of Donatos pizza. And she currently holds the title of chairwoman of the board. Jane, welcome to the press one for Nick podcast. Hello, Welcome. Welcome.

Jane Grote Abell Thank you for having me. I appreciate being asked.

Nick Glimsdahl You bet. So one question I asked every single guest, it’s what’s one thing people might not know about you?

Jane Grote Abell 0:29 I would say today, the one thing people might not know about me is that besides the fact that if three grandchildren that from an early age growing up behind our very first restaurant, that I’ve had a passion for going into this business, but my dream was never necessary to run the business, my dream was always to be a place where people could bring their principles to work with them and grow and prosper. Nick

Glimsdahl 0:55 I love that. And kind of going back to the very beginning. In 1963, your dad Jim grody actually started a pizza shop Donatos, at 19 years old. And at the very beginning, he had a vision for a company that put customers first and obviously with this with this podcast, I focus on customer service and customer experience. That’s very important. But why was that important to him?

Jane Grote Abell 1:19 Both. My dad actually started working on pizza business when he was 13. And I was before minor labor loss. And I would say, I think he had such a life lesson experienced during that time, he grew up and, you know, Catholic schools and very, very disciplined home. And when he went to work, what he found was, he worked for two different people that had really two different modes of management and leadership. And one was a very servant leadership, and the other one was a little bit more, not necessarily the same values. And so he remembers at the very early age of 16, actually, when he had the first opportunity to buy a pizza place, and then ended up doing it at 19 was his passion to go into business, so that he could make sure he created a place for not only his associates, to have principals and bring their principals to work with them, but to really give back to the community, and to be a part of the community where we could lift the community up and be an asset and a good neighbor to the community. So I think for him, his vision, always, as a little girl, as I stood under the sign in my pajamas with him was always to be around the world, so that we could give back to our customers and to our community and make a difference on every block that we were doing pizza.

Nick Glimsdahl 2:36 That’s, that’s so awesome. I can’t imagine, for one being asked to purchase a pizza shop at 18, let alone starting your own pizza shop at 19. That that is as an entrepreneur at heart. And it’s, it says a lot about him.

Jane Grote Abell 2:54 Yeah, I think it’s interesting too, because nowadays, you see so much more start up type of tech are different types of world. But you know, back in the 60s, taking a risk like that dropping out of Ohio State and borrowing money to open up a pizza place when pizza was just, you know, it was starting to really enter all of our communities. And so much so my grandpa was like, please don’t do it. This is just a fad. pizzas never gonna last. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t listen to that.

Nick Glimsdahl 3:27 That that is, is good. Good to hear that he didn’t listen to that. You know, one thing you said was you were a girl in your pajamas kind of growing up instead of to nano. So you had that front row seat to donatos humble beginnings. So tell me about the time when customers were sitting in your parents living room and waiting on pizza like I’ve heard this. I’ve read it, read your book, the missing piece. And I just thought that was an amazing story to tell. And I want a lot of my listeners and maybe hear a piece of that.

Jane Grote Abell 3:56 Yeah, I think about that today on whether or not I would open my front door every single time a customer came knocking. And I’d like to say yes. But I think we were taught hospitality to a very early age. So my dad built his very first restaurant on Thurman Avenue and south side of Columbus, Ohio is still there today. Still one of our busiest stores in the middle of a neighborhood so wouldn’t be zoned that way today, but it has been for 58 years. And so when he built it, he did not build a dining room. I don’t think he envisioned the dining room. he envisioned the pickup and delivery. But we got so busy at night when the customers would come in that front door, he would send them back to the house. And we literally lived maybe four or 500 feet behind the restaurant. So our front yard was the back of the restaurant. And so every single night, and it was called Big back at Granny’s. Every night when the customers came in the pizza wasn’t ready. Dad would say go back at parties and he would write back at roadies on the box and then call and win it. But the pizza was ready. And but what I, what I learned about that as a little girl was, my mom always opened that front door. And you know, cuz literally and to the point where our door was just always open, but customers would come in and we got to know their families, they would bring their kids, we would hang out in our little backyard and our little place that that we had at the time, those metal ones that are wet, you’re way too young to remember them. But I remember that feeling as a little girl waiting for our customers because we didn’t open till four back then. And we’d get home from school. And we would literally sit on the fireplace and wait for our customers to come because they became our community and our family and our friends. And it was, you know, the energy of a restaurant, the energy of being out, well, we probably all forgot it now cuz of COVID. But there’s energy there. And so for me, it totally captured my soul immediately. And I would say I’m an introvert extrovert like, but I really get energy from people and being around people. And those were some of my very best memories. Now, I would also say it’s through the 60s, and to the early 70s. That, you know, late at night, people were still there while we were going up to bed. And early in the morning, people were still there were we were getting out. There’s probably a lot of poker plan and a lot of just really family and friends getting together and enjoying the life around pizza. Because pizza and meals and food when it’s served with love, it brings people together and we believe it nourishes people’s souls.

Nick Glimsdahl 6:31 I can’t imagine being a child and continuing to get new friends and hear new stories every day. And you could be you could hear probably just create a book adjust on the stories that you’ve learned along the way. And maybe even your dad could as well. But it wasn’t just that though you were also serving your customers from the very beginning, even though you potentially wouldn’t have called it service.

Jane Grote Abell 7:01 Right? That’s a good perspective. I think you’re absolutely right. I think the art of hospitality and my mom opening the door and allowing people in the hospitality of all of us just, you know, when you engage, and you have an emotional connection with your customer, that takes everything to a new level. And so our promise is to serve the best pizza and make someone’s day a little better. So it’s not just about the pizza, it truly is about how do you serve that pizza served with love? And how do you make their day a little better? Sometimes it’s just a smile. Sometimes for us, it would be you know, engaging in a card game or playing on the play set, but it was being part of their lives that was bigger than just having them have a piece of pizza.

Nick Glimsdahl 7:45 And I love that you just said that. How do you make their day a little better, because inside of that nobody comes into a pizza shop or anywhere else for that matter, a gas station or a call center. And they don’t bring they don’t stop their life. When they interact with you just to pick the pizza, they actually bring their emotion good, bad or indifferent with them. And so at the end of the day, how do you they might that might be the only conversation or the best thing about their, their their day was interacting with you or with your organization. And so I love the fact that you guys do that. Because there’s there’s so many times where people just think, Oh, I got to respond to this this question today. And I’ve responded to this problem 1000 times already, but it might be the first time for that customer. And it might be the first time that they’ve experienced your organization. And so yeah, that was that really resonates with me.

Jane Grote Abell 8:43 Yeah, it’s interesting. And I was saying the other day, obviously, I’ve been in this business my entire life. And this last year has been the most difficult for everybody, right? Our our associates included because they’re essential workers and they’ve worked through it. So trying to keep that spirit of just make their day a little better. They only really are our power and doing that as trying to make our associates day a little better. So if we can make our our associates who truly are answering the phones and making the pizzas and it gets exhausting. If we can just make their day a little better than they can turn around then and be able to make their customers day a little better. And, you know, that’s what I do attribute. One. Our turnaround after we bought the company back because we had been losing a lot of money after the McDonald’s buy back. And that first year we had a 10 and a half million dollar turnaround and we really didn’t change anything. You know, our pizza was the same going into McDonald’s. Same coming out of McDonald’s. But the turnaround and our sales and creased because I really believed our people just start caring again. And when your people care about what they do, then their expression to their customers show that and and I think this last year has shown all of us it’s been such a hard year and you If, if we could always remember that customer coming to the door or poor when we deliver to their house, because you don’t know what you’re delivering to, you could be delivering to someone that maybe someone in the home had COVID. Or maybe they were part of the protests that day, or maybe they just lost someone, or maybe they’re celebrating a birthday. It’s your, your, your part of their life. And we’re typically or maybe it’s just they had a really hard day, and they needed to order dinner. But we’re typically people’s part of their lives and part of an event and part of any emotional connection for them. And that’s why it’s so important to remember, no matter what is going on in the world, that one moment right then and the power of that one moment of just being able to sometimes just smile through your mask right now. And say thank you and be kind is some of the best things that we can be doing right now.

Nick Glimsdahl 10:53 Yeah, I wouldn’t, I would definitely agree with that Sue just kind of touched on it and kept on running. So I want to go back to it a little bit. But you did nodosa has been in group for the first 36 years. And then back in 1999, you actually did sell donatos to McDonald’s. So but then it kind of a turn of events, the seismic shift. After four short years, you and your dad decided to purchase the NATOs back, walk me through that journey and what that was like,

Jane Grote Abell 11:23 I don’t know how long we have. It’s in the book, I would say I learned a lot, personally, and I learned a lot professionally and we were not looking to sell the company. So when I was that little girl standing under the sign in my pajamas, never did my dad say one day, we’re gonna look for an exit strategy and take her money off the table ever. And so when we were first approached by McDonald’s to sell it was because they were doing their meal allocation strategy. And they were expanding with sapote lay and Boston Market and facilities and wanted a pizza concept, and had done all this research on us and found us to be best in class. And so they had already been to every one of our restaurants and identified the fact that we had a very consistent product. But they also said we invest in class people, which I think for me that was much more important, honestly, sorry, but then having a consistent product because it was about our people muscle. And so we flew to McDonald’s. And as a family, we decided it would be the best opportunity for us, our people to grow and for our family business to grow and to other markets internationally globally. With the world’s largest restaurant company, we found them to be very culturally aligned. And so we decided to along with our franchise partners. And I’ll never forget my dad’s biggest moment of that, because I was pretty emotional. I was a chief people officer and I was not a fan of selling. But my dad’s first response was, what an opportunity for us to influence the world’s largest restaurant company, on how to do business based on love, and on our principles and treat others the way you want to be treated then what we now coin as a copy of capitalism. And a God by capitalism is about doing the right thing leading with love treating others the way you want to be treated, we’ve actually we have the domain on a God by capitalism. So if we can build a business based on that, and we can influence the world’s largest restaurant company on that, that was our excitement about being able to do that. And then my personal learnings through that, and ours professionally was, you know, they’re big public company, and they care about the people. And they taught us a lot about real estate and drive thru and training programs and curriculum and but we lost ourselves. During that time, I lost myself personally, during that time and our culture started to deteriorate, McDonald’s started getting a lot of pressure from the street. And as a private company, honestly, I only grew up in a private company prior to that, so wasn’t used to that I was used to making decisions based on long term and not necessarily quarter by quarter. So I started operating a little bit differently. And I had some very valuable lessons during that time where the CEO didn’t like me very much. And then by the end of it, I think I found my voice again, and I no more courageous way that allowed me to really speak up with much more of a sense of confidence versus maybe ego early on. And that that was that was a big difference. And so then, shortly after that McDonald’s stock took a historic hit in 2003. And I heard on the radio in February that actually NPR that they were going to sell or close all of the donatos and can’t imagine so by this time, it’s just my dad and I that are still in the business. My mom and sister and my two brothers had left the business to pursue their other dreams and passions. And the good thing about that was they had the financial freedom to do it. So my dad and I was I was at that time as our Senior Vice President of development and franchising and marketing and our people department, and he walked in my office and I was, you know, when you just have those moments I knew deep in my gut and my soul and everything with me that we had to buy the company back. And I just believe we have a destiny because I remember sitting standing in it assigned in my pajamas, that we had a destiny to do something greater. And so I just was like, Dad, like, we have to do this, I have no idea how to buy back a family business from the world’s largest restaurant company. But I know if you get enough smart people around the table that are smarter than me that we can put together a plan and do it. And I really need you, because you’re super smart. But I really need your money, because I did not have enough money to do it. So we did, and dad and I bought it back and late to December 11 2003. And since then, we’ve been on a journey just to kind of reposition ourselves, which we did, and then start franchising again. And now looking forward to our growth as we continue to grow the business

Nick Glimsdahl 16:05 is such an amazing story. Just from the beginning to the end, I think it just it teaches a lot of perseverance. And one thing that you just mentioned was you found yourself and maybe dig into that a little bit like what is that? Where did you what, what what shifted in your mind, or that process that made you switch?

Jane Grote Abell 16:29 I would say going into selling the business i was i was a family business. And so well, that is also hard, by the way. So we were growing, we were franchising prior to McDonald’s. And there’s a certain stereotype that goes along with not only the second generation failing business, but a female on the second generation of a family business, and a female in the pizza business. So I’m kind of like not heard of back then right, which was quite some time ago. And so I was our chief people officer at the time. And I would say my passion has always been our people. So I went into the human resource area of our business because I wanted to be able to create a space where people could bring their authentic selves to work. And that means whoever you are, right, like, I don’t want people to feel like they had to pretend to be someone else, or to aspire to be something else to be here that they could just be who they are. And when we sold to McDonald’s, all of a sudden, I talked about culture all the time to our managers I talked about not living in fear. But to be honest with you my checklist signed by my dad, and I was an owner of the company at the time. And so while I talked about the importance of networking and fear, I never had worked in fear before, even though I talked about it. And so when we sold to McDonald’s, I found myself and a couple situations with the new CEO where he didn’t like me at first at all, because I was very opinionated. And maybe not as respectful as I always should have been, because I was in a family business. And this was a new game for me. And so, but because of that, then I found myself beginning to operate differently and stopping before I walked into the door or getting out of my car and saying, Okay, this is who I have to be when I walk in there. And that was a feat that was my first step into, I’m working in fear. And I don’t mean fear, like I was afraid to lose my job, I wasn’t afraid to lose my job because I had an employment contract. So it wasn’t that it was fearful that I really wasn’t creating space in our company where people could be authentically themselves anymore. And because I wasn’t even operating authentically myself. And so I wasn’t doing an ethical things. I just was doing things in a different mode, or I started becoming a little bit more concerned about me and my resume and who I reported to and what departments reported to me and a little bit more about me than I was about our mission. And I had never felt that before. So that was a big aha moment for me. Literally just one one middle of the night, when you’re in fear, you become paralyzed and paranoid. And, you know, you’re always wondering what people are thinking or who’s making what decision without you. And I had never operated in that ego sense before. And so we were making a very big decision on closing the market and Atlanta, not because we had to, other than the market needed a symbol that we were we were focused on doing things right. And so it logically didn’t make sense to me, but I was doing it because I was told to do it. And it was three in the morning I was at the office and I just remember thinking, I’m not gonna operate this way anymore. Like I it was my aha moment. It was as if someone came in and turn on the lights. It was just that either I need to change the way I’m acting or behaving, or I need to not be here. And that’s what I think the most important thing is people need to recognize either if we’re working in theory, they’re not in the right environment or we’re not in our right selves, right. We’re not authentically grounded in who we are. And so I realized it was me and the environment. But I had some influence on influencing the environment. And so I put to gather with a whole team of people a different plan to the Atlanta market. And the vision was, if we had to close the market, because we had to we were being told to symbolically for the street, then we were going to do it the right way. And we weren’t going to put a pink notice on the door, we were going to inform our customers two weeks ahead of time with a letter, we were going to tell our people two weeks ahead of time, we were going to give every hourly associate a severance, we were going to give every manager job by the end of two weeks, which we did, we had a career fair, my vision, my dad’s always put out there like power of positive thinking, right thinking grow rich. And so I remember thinking, I want to see this on the front page of the beacon journal, that we had to leave the market. But we did it with goodwill, and we did it the right way. And that ended up happening, which was super cool. Unfortunately, we had McDonald’s Monday. And we sent 42 people to the market. But we did it, we did it the right way. And that’s when I realized, you know, being going through really difficult decisions when you’re living in the gray area. And it’s really stressful, and it’s really hard to stay grounded and who you are. And whatever that means for people. For me, it’s my faith. But I when I every time I get a little bit further from my faith, and I think it’s more about me, then it is about something greater than me, then I started to realize that life is a little bit harder that way. And that was a very, really inspirational moment for me. And I think it’s just every time in life when things get hard. It’s just checking your foundation and where you’re at, and staying grounded to who you are.

Nick Glimsdahl 21:51 I just want to say thanks, I think it takes a lot of humbleness, and just to be transparent like that, and walk through the journey with with warts and all like, hey, this was not a good experience. And this is what I did. And this is how I went through that. And on top of that, one thing I really noticed in the last five minutes is that you, you’re very vivid on the dates that are important to you. And the time so I woke up at three o’clock in the morning, and we did this on December 11. And I think that shares a lot about the passion that you have within the organization that you’re in today. Oh, thank

Jane Grote Abell 22:31 you with it. When, when you’re under stress like that, like all of us this year, there are moments this year, right that, you know, I have a few of them as the rest of the world does. That were just aha moments. And it makes you pause, and kind of reprioritize everything in your life.

Nick Glimsdahl 22:49 Yeah. So let’s shift real quick to one thing, speaking of not being the person that you thought you would be and switching it to you had the ability to be an Undercover Boss. Yeah. So tell me about that. I mean, I know that I’ve actually seen the video and how you got to go undercover, and how a couple people maybe notice that it may or may not be you. But what was that experience like?

Jane Grote Abell 23:19 Crazy experience? So if you asked me when I was a little girl, what I would I ever want to write a book? And would I ever want to be on a national TV show? I would have said no. Both of those, they were both a lot harder than I thought they were going to be. I would say the reason we ended up being asked to be on it was because they were looking for a female in the pizza business. And at that time there. I was it. But White Castle, which were friends and family with here in Columbus did their first episode. And so they had called White Castle to say, Do you know any women in the pizza business? And then of course, they said yes, our good friend, Jane. So I went into it kind of going, ah, I’ll say yes. But I’m sure there’s a good reason not to do this, right. And so the only reason that I felt maybe positively we as a team did was Wow. On the other end of this, this is exciting, because we can get back to our people in a big way. They, we never get to just do that. And my husband, who was also working with us at the time, we kind of went through they did an exhaustive interview with us, like a four hour interviews with me. They were in all of our restaurants. And so, you know, there’s a whole ruse that goes on and yes, because I always watched it go on these people know they’re on camera. They do know they’re on camera, but they think it’s for a completely different show. And ours was called the startup. So I would say for me, I grew up in the stores. The hardest part for me, honestly was to pretend to be someone else, right? I just told you my whole story and how you should be authentically yourselves. And here I am walking into the restaurants dressed up as someone else and saying my name which you know if you watch the episode, I messed up a couple times. Let’s say my name is Kathy. And that I didn’t know how to make a pizza. Like one of it was I had to make my dad’s favorite pizza and I messed it up. And that was, that was a hard part for me. But I kept getting through it to say on the other end of this, we’re really gonna be able to help some people. And we’re gonna learn a lot about ourselves. So it was two weeks, it was 16 hours a day, it was them filming me when I put on my makeup, take off my makeup, I wasn’t allowed to use the phone. I was allowed to call people etc. But I will share a little story after the driver shared his incident with me if smoking pot with our customers. So for those of you haven’t watched it on never forget that night, I went back to the hotel rooms late at night, it was two after two. And I was crying because this is going to be on national TV. And I thought I totally just blew, we had my family business, and we’re going to be on national TV and, and at that time, marijuana was much, much different conversation than she does. And I’m 14. And so I called my dad, I was like, I’m not supposed to be calling you. But this just happened. And I you know, and here’s another story. My brother lives in Colorado, my younger brother, and he has a ranch where he grows marijuana, right? And he has a dispensary. And so I was like I think I just outed Kyle on national TV and our business and my dad. All he said was well, did you love your way through it? And I paused and stopped crying then? And I said yes, I did. And I did what we would do, which if you haven’t seen the show, you have to watch it. But I did what we would do. And he said then don’t worry about it rest. And so that that and every hard time in my life has been our mantra, just love your way through it. Nick Glimsdahl 26:46 In for those that have not seen that episode, I recommend going back and listening and looking at how she did handle it because it wasn’t maybe the way that everybody would handle it. But I believe it was the right way. Unknown Speaker 26:59 Well, thank you. So

Nick Glimsdahl 27:01 yeah, so one of the things that I had outside of business, like take the NATOs off the plate, what values have you learned from your dad? Jim?

Jane Grote Abell 27:13 I would say that’s exactly that one right there is just love your way through the really hard times. And because there’s really hard times I’ve been through divorce, and is really hard and gone through divorce and leading a company is really hard. And always if you at the end of the day, you can lay your head on the table and say you did your best, and you loved your way through it. And you did everything you possibly could. And so he My dad is um, he’s he’s a inspirational, strong, visionary entrepreneur, who’s still involved. He still yesterday called me about, you know, a better way to do our handoffs, and he’s inventing things over at the edge Innovation Center to help us make a more consistent product all the time. It’s his passion. But I think for what he taught me is the value of loving your way through and persistence and dreaming, thinking Grow Rich, and you know, the power of visualizing what you want and the end of that and it really ultimately becoming what you transpires what you work hard for. And those are all the things he taught me. My mom, on the other hand, who doesn’t get a lot of notoriety, they’re divorced, started a nonprofit here in Columbus, Ohio called Amethyst. And she’s a recovering alcoholic for 37 years, taught me really resolve and also taught me the ability just to love unconditionally and give people second chances. So how we treated our Undercover Boss was truly a reflection of my mom’s ability to, to learn to give people second chances. And we’ve been doing that ever since. Actually, for for 58 years, we’ve always continued to hire people that have had barriers in their life that they haven’t been able to get work. And that’s we take a lot of pride in helping people learn and grow here.

Nick Glimsdahl 29:12 Yeah, in one thing that you also do, that maybe people might not know about you is that you’re very big into the community, and you’re very big and serving the community. So maybe tell us a little bit about some of your personal passions today.

Jane Grote Abell 29:27 So my biggest personal passion is just the growing disparity one on the just our inequity of, of prosperity and what we have in this community. And so poverty and racial injustice are probably two of the things right now are really weighing heavy on my heart. Several years ago, we had an opportunity and are in the south side of Columbus where my dad grew up, where I grew up, where the community is falling on really hard times. So Mayor Michael Coleman at the Time called my dad asked him to be a champion. And, you know, at this stage of life, you’re able to give back your time, talent or treasure, or hopefully all three. And my dad said, Absolutely will be part of it. And then my dad called me, and he said, Jane, I need to do something we need to help this community. And I, you know, I, you’ve already heard me say, I don’t know what any answers are. But I know if you get enough people in the room that are smart, so I caught my very best friend Tammy crane, crane plastics, who also has a family business on the south side. She said, whatever you put in will match all this without really a strategy. And then from that with the city, and with a Reverend john Edgar and Don Kelly, and city officials and Erica Clark Jones and a whole team of people, we created Reba Avenue center, and Tammy and I co-founded and we are on the board, and we’re the master tenants. But it was an old elementary school building that was abandoned. And we raised 16 and a half million dollars to renovate it where 14 different nonprofits reside. And all of those nonprofits are really to help lift up the community not give a handout, but a hand up. And so the idea is to really transform the community. If you just go in with one pillar, like child care, and you’ve got all these other barriers around the holistic part of that family’s life, that they’re going to continue to be against barrier. So for us, it was about making sure that we were able to lift the entire community up. Nick Glimsdahl 31:27 Yeah, it seems like you guys are doing exactly that. So I appreciate the the community service that you’re putting into that, because it sounds like a lot of work. But it’s also a big impact to the to the community of Columbus. So thank you,

Jane Grote Abell 31:40 thank you. If I have time, real quick about a webinar that’s called love kindness. Um, and that is, as all of us are out on the streets today, we see more and more people panhandling. And it’s hard, right? Like because you don’t want to drive by and not look. And if you look, then you felt guilty, and then you give them cash, and then you’re not sure that’s really helping. And so we came up with something called love kindness, and you can buy them on our website. But it’s a it’s an envelope with a card in there. And all day long bus pass that can get them to rebaptized center will give them a care kit, we’ll get them the help that they need, we’ll get them a meal, and we can help them with housing or drug and alcohol or getting a job or clothes.

Nick Glimsdahl 32:19 Wow, that’s awesome. Go to that website, what’s the website chain,

Jane Grote Abell 32:23 websites, read avenues center.org. And under that is love kindness.

Nick Glimsdahl 32:28 There it is, go to the website and hand those out to help people out. So I wrap up every podcast with two questions. And the first question is what book or person in customer service or customer experience where it doesn’t have to be one of that topic, but has influenced you the most in the last year? So parameters. And then if you could leave a note to all the customer service people and customer experience professionals, and it’s gonna hit everybody’s desk Monday at 8am. What would it say?

Jane Grote Abell 32:58 Okay, well start with, I would say, I’ll start with an organization that inspires me on Customer Service says chick fil a, they’re probably one of the best out there overall in our category that does an amazing job not only hiring, so we hoped and that we hope that we’re equal to them. two books that I’m reading right now are there to serve by Cheryl batchelder. She was the CEO Popeye’s, but now sits on the board of chick fil a. And thanks for coming in today creating a culture where employees can thrive and customers services alive by Charles menten. And those, you know, probably just represent overall, the idea of taking care of your people so that they can take care of your customers. And it is about servant leadership. And it is about being in your whole heart, body, mind, spirit and emotion. And I tell our managers, when we are in person, if they’re not in this because they love to serve, then they’re in the wrong business because we really truly are a service business. And if there’s one thing that I could say that would land on everybody’s desk is it’s going to sound probably cliche, but especially now more than ever, is just be kind because we have no idea what is going on and people’s lives and just try to make someone’s life a little better that day in that moment.

Nick Glimsdahl 34:21 Yeah, that’s great advice. And seems like that’s the that’s the theme of this entire episode is continue to make somebody’s life a little better. And that is exactly what you’ve done on this episode. And I and I think to all my listeners today, so Jane, what’s the best way for my listeners to get a hold of donatos or the Reeb or you know, finding you on social what’s the best way to connect?

Jane Grote Abell 34:48 I am on social on Oh gosh, my account handle under Jane.

Nick Glimsdahl 34:54 I’ll make sure that it’s under tag. Yeah.

Jane Grote Abell 34:57 Okay, so I’m on. I’m on Twitter now. As much but more Facebook Instagram, tik tok I love Tick Tock like most people nowadays, and obviously are not as website you can find all kinds of information on that I also have a microsite Jane grody abl.org. And, or you can just email me at jane@turnitin.com.

Nick Glimsdahl 35:20 That’s great. And, you know, it’s it’s not a customer service or customer experience book, but it is a book that talks about customer service and customer experience. But go go ahead and find her book, also the missing piece doing business the donatos way. It’s a really interesting book and I highly recommend you take a peek at that as well. So Jay, thank you so much. I really enjoyed this time today and I look forward to the success you have at donatos.

Jane Grote Abell 35:47 Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.


The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.

Nick’s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:

  • Customer service & customer experience leaders
  • A hostage negotiator
  • Award-winning authors
  • Home Depot’s Senior Director of Customer Care
  • Former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
  • Lyft’s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
  • Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:

  1. What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
  2. If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?

You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.

If all you want is the guests’ book recommendations, you can go here.

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