What do you value most?

What’s your best burger? What do you value most?

What’s the most important thing to your facility? What do you value most? My husband LOVES to eat at Five Guys. If you haven’t ever been to a Five Guys their walls are PLASTERED with newspaper headlines, magazine covers, and quotes from customers. 

“The best $5 burger a man can eat.” 

“…there’s isn’t a freezer in the joint!” 

“Five Guys serves heaven on a bun.” 

They clearly want to be known for having the best burger and maybe even the most reviews. That’s what they market, that’s what they tell people about. That’s what they plaster all over the walls and if you dug really deep, that’s how they make decisions. 

I’m sure that someone has brought up a business suggestion that threatened the quality of the food. Someone in the room probably asked, “Would that go against our goal of serving the best burgers?” They made the decision based on that one thing they want to be true about themselves.  

So what gives?

Now keep in mind just because Five Guys wants to have the best burger, it doesn’t mean they don’t still have great customer service. It doesn’t mean they may still treat their employees well. Their food is still affordable. It just means they know what the most important and core value is to them. Serving fresh food that hasn’t been frozen is the most important thing to Five Guys. 

As I was enjoying “heaven on a bun” one day, I was thinking about an employee of mine. This person valued flawless, precise training. It was difficult for them to compromise for the sake of the animals’ choice, for meeting deadlines, for achieving the perfect guest experience, or for building relationships with their teammates. Their “best burger” was precise, uncompromising training. The challenge was we were working at a facility who wanted to be known for having the best guest experience. 

This meant that if the serval didn’t want to go into a crate and there were guests waiting to pass, a trainer might have to make the decision to bait the serval into their crate, instead of using an LRS and building behavioral momentum to get the animal in the crate. The result was a frustrated trainer who wasn’t happy to watch their team members serve “frozen burgers”. 

So who’s right? Who’s wrong?

As I sat there reading the reviews on the back on the cup, the biggest revelation was that sometimes I LOVE to eat at Five Guys, but I also like the convenience of McDonalds, or the taste at Chick-fil-A. None of those restaurants are wrong, and neither was the trainer who decided that baiting the serval back in to the crate was the best idea at the time. The trainer who wanted to be able to train without compromise wasn’t wrong either, just working in the wrong place.

What are your dealbreakers?

The important thing is that you know what you value above all else, what you aren’t willing to compromise, and you find a facility that matches that. 

Maybe skill is what you value the most. You want to be the best trainer and you want the training to be perfect. You should look for a facility that values that over all else.

Maybe you’re an excellent public speaker but the facility that you’re at is focused on research projects and isn’t concerned about keeper chats. It might be time to look for a new position. 

It’s possible that you value a clean exhibit over naturalistic enrichment. You’re not wrong, you just need to find a facility that is inline with your “best burger”. 

So what’s your “Best Burger?”

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