Week 10 @ Speedway

The internship is over. After a long week of doing wage surveys I am definitely happy with my whole experience. To define what a wage survey is, its when you go to your stores competitors in the area and ask for their starting wage and the positions that they are hiring. It was a long process and I had to do surveys for 12 stores in 2 and a half days.

The stores that I was doing these surveys were in district 106 which were in the cities of Troy, Farmington, Redford, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, and Detroit. This was a lot of driving on my own. The best part of these surveys was the last day. I saved the Detroit location for last because I knew that it was next to the Renaissance Center. So for lunch I was able to eat at the Panera Bread in the food court and still ask the fast food places for the wage surveys. It was a beautiful day to eat outside next to the river.

This whole internship was a wonderful experience for me. I learned a lot about customer service and management techniques while working at Speedway. For the last day I was given a book from the Regional Manager, the book is titled How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I heard great things about this book and will definitely read it before going back to school. The nice thing was being offered to come back to Speedway to train to become a District Manager next summer. The company gave me an educational leave so I can come back to Speedway without all of the store training. As I said before, I was very happy with my whole experience at the company and I will consider coming back next summer.

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Week9@Speedway

My second to last week I had to make a presentation to all of the District Managers and the Regional Manager. The project was a collaboration with me and the other interns at the corporate offices. The objective was to make video demonstrating the importance of on-boarding and how to make the new hire accepted at Speedway. Our presentation went very well and the managers all enjoyed watching us on the big screen. We had some laughable moments but also informational points.

For the last day in the week I was able to shadow Human Resources. I didn’t get to see much or learn a lot, but for the day I witnessed follow ups on employees Family Medical Leave (FML). Not much for this week since it was all about working on the project and presenting. But my last week will be filled with fun. I am supposed to travel to Royal Oak and Farmington Hills to conduct wage surveys. These consist of traveling to our competitors stores near a Speedway store and find out their starting wage, their benefits, and time to promotion. I will basically be doing some espionage for the company but more importantly help with setting up a competitive edge on our competitors.

Week8@Speedway

I am no longer shadowing my District Manager, Jay. My assignment for this week was to shadow the people at the recruiting center. There are usually two people at the recruiting center, one is the recruiting director and the other is a processor.

The first day I showed up, the director did not have a lot of things for me to do. It was a little boring in the beginning but the day picked up a little when I was partnered up with the processor in the front office. The processor’s job has many responsibilities and sort of acts as a receptionist. However, the processor does more than just greeting and scheduling. On a daily basis the processor will call potential new hires to schedule an interview with the director but they can hire new employees themselves since they know what stores need new employees. Keeping records on who applied and those that were hired are important to the company’s hiring standards. Also, the processor is in charge of on-boarding new hires to their job location.

During the week I was given the responsibility of calling applicants and setting up their interviews for the rest of the week and next week. It was a long process of sifting through applications and communicating instructions to applicants. Now, I have not only talked to different kinds of customers but to applicants of different experiences. On my last day at the recruiting center I sat in on interviews. The interview itself can be a frustrating experience. Applicants often lie about their experience, their working availability and overall background. There were a few diamonds in the rough though. We picked out a person who was Co-Manager material and two people that would work best at the stores.

This week I also met with the other interns to discuss and start making our internship project for the Regional Manager and Human Resources. We have been assigned to make a video on how General Managers at Speedway stores should greet their new hires and welcome them to the team. This topic is very important since many of the new hires at Speedway quit in the first 72 hours of working because they did not feel welcomed or was not introduced to the convenience store life the right way.

Week 7 @ Speedway

My District Manager Jay

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Well this week was insane. I was still riding along with the District Manager, Jay. Let me get right into it. There was cigarette thief on the run for weeks. The suspect was robbing many different Speedways in the Detroit Metropolitan Area, including one of the stores in my managers district. The robber went behind the counter at the store and threatened the worker with a knife and stole many cartons of cigarettes. Luckily all of the stores in the region have been on the lookout for the man and one store had a clear picture of his license plate. To our relief, the suspect was finally apprehended at his house later in the week.

Tuesday, Jay had assessments for the remaining managers who weren’t assessed the week before. Human Resources showed up once again to go over their standards. Since I had already sat through this meeting the first week, Jay gave me the opportunity to drive around to the stores in the district to check-up on them. My tasks for the day included the following; perform a visitor walk through of the store, check in store signage, update ovens in stores that had them, delegate tasks and help around the store where it is lacking. This day was by far my favorite day. I was able to do things on my own. I visited a total of 6 stores in the district, from Warren, Eastpointe, St. Claire Shores, Roseville and Sterling Heights.

The second part of the week was the real fun. The Regional Manager (RM) showed up to do a ride-a-long with me and Jay. The RM was a funny guy and stern at the same time. I felt very comfortable talking to him and gave my two cents on issues, this surprised Jay since not many of his workers felt as comfortable talking with the RM. We stopped at a total of 4 stores, many of which have high profits for the company. I acquired valuable lessons and information about the company from the RM and feel like I made an impact on Jay’s boss.

The last day with Jay, I got to witness the hiring of a much needed Co-Manager for his district and two terminations. After hiring a well qualified manager for the district we received news of an employee following through with a phone scam. The employee rung up $500 worth of re-loadable Visa cards over the phone which is illegal. This termination was not the exciting one though. We heard of an employee stealing 10 Xbox gift cards at $25 each throughout the week. This employee was caught on camera activating the gift cards and entering a manufacturer’s coupon into the system when no customer was present. When confronted, the employee claimed he didn’t know how to apply a coupon to the card so he was “testing” if this new method worked and he “put the card back on the rack”. This is far from the truth, since we have seen the footage of him putting the cards in his pocket. We did not bring this up to him so as to prevent him escalating the conversation and told him plainly that he was being terminated.

Week 6 @ Speedway

Working alongside a District Manager is very informative on how to be an effective leader. Visiting most of the stores in the district is time consuming but we usually end up just visiting 3 out of our 12 stores in one day. It would be nice to get around to each store but it is beneficial to talk to employees and see how they are performing. Staying around to help on the register and stock their supplies also goes a long way for them.

This week was very crazy. We held a walk-in recruiting day at the recruiting office in Warren from 10am to 7pm. The office had a total of 80 applicants come in for interviews. The Regional Manager was amazed by the turnout and said that it was the most interviewees that the region has ever had in one recruitment center. I was able to interview some applicants myself, but they were not Speedway material. The people that I interviewed did not show interest in the company enough as compared to the other applicants who were talkative and experienced. It was a very good thing to have this many people since my District Manager desperately needs more Co-Managers and Shift Leaders for his stores.

The next day was another exciting day. The Regional Manager and Human Resources came to the recruitment center to evaluate the General Managers and their stores performance under my District Managers control. Nothing too exciting except the fact that we talked about a cafe manager that needed to leave one store location. The next day we went to the office again and talked to both the General Manager and the Cafe Manager separately. The solution was to send the Cafe Manager to another store to become a Co-Manager at a store. This would be a promotion but the employee sadly did not show up the next day. So in the end, my manager is still in desperate need of Co-Managers.

Week5@Speedway

The beginning of this week was not that exciting except for the fact that it was my last days at the Speedway on Merriman road just north of I-94. My manager was on vacation so I did not get to say goodbye, but I still worked with my co-manager and he saw me off to my next assignment. Being that it was the Independence Day on Tuesday, I thought there would be more customers on Monday and Wednesday coming to the store. It was quiet during my shifts so it was kind of an easy last two days. My co-workers did tell me however that there were some crazy rushes on the holiday so I was lucky to have the day off. It was nice working in the store since I never have had that kind of customer service experience before. From the store, I will take away valuable people, team/communication, and selling skills. I will also take away some cool beer supplier swag that was given to the store for its employees. So, I received a Coors Light and Miller Lite hat, two Miller Lite cozies and a great bottle opener.

The second part of the week was a heck of a drive. Driving to Romulus everyday was nice because it was only around 20-30 minutes away from home. However, now I must drive 45 minutes to an hour to the city of Warren. My new assignment is having to shadow a District Manager (DM) during the day. I was lucky enough to be partnered up with an experienced DM who is still young and someone that I can relate to. Starting at 8 a.m. we stopped by a total of three out of the 12 stores that is under his management. On Friday, we stopped at three stores as well but only two different from the first. Each store was different and every manager had a different system of managing. To say the least, I was very impressed by the work ethic of managers and the staff. The reason we went back to one store on Friday was due to a former employee being fired for embezzling money on the job. We went over the camera footage and notified the police. It was a smooth process. After the situation was handled the store that we were at was given a surprise monthly inspection by the Field Inventory Manager (FIM). It was a crazy day with full of surprises.

Sorry for not posting pictures but it is very unprofessional to be taking pictures while working at speedway. The company’s focus is on the customer, not taking pictures.

Week4@Speedway

Well this week was fun. Over the weekend there was a power outage in the store which made us write off a lot of products and killed our business for that day. Insanely enough we still received shipments from our vendors. However, with the store being closed and no customers making transactions we couldn’t clear out enough space for the new orders.

So, this week was all about catching up and getting back to regular operations. This week was hectic with the fact that I had a very limited time for breaks and ate lunch at late times every day. Right now, my internship is about understanding how a store is managed. Mangers have it rough in the retail business. The one thing I learned from this crazy experience was the fact that working as a team is important. Having enough competent workers and being a good manager who delegates tasks effectively ensures that the manager doesn’t get stuck with working on the “gap” of responsibilities. Sadly, my manager had a lot of responsibilities because her employees were not as helpful as she had thought.

Speedway has rigorous standards for each classification of its stores and for the store I was assigned to, we receive many sales so we require a lot of attention and labor. We struggled this week due to the availability and skill of our employees. Next week we are receiving some new hires that can hopefully help alleviate the manager “gap” of responsibilities in the future.

Week3@ Speedway

I have been fully trained to work on the cash register. Learning this skill has improved my communication skill significantly. The store that I am located at happens to be right outside of the Detroit airport in Romulus. There are so many customers who walk in the door that my other responsibilities of cleaning and stocking are prioritized last, or whenever I can afford to step away from the counter. The different types of people who come into the store are never ending. I have had to communicate with people who speak broken English and those with disabilities. The more I talk to the customers, the more I enjoy my job.

Manning the register was not the only thing I mastered this week. My manager has entrusted me with scanning in vendors along with adding lottery counts. Vendors come to the store at least twice a day and it can sometimes be very challenging to step away from a long line at the counter to check in the orders. I was very excited to assume this new responsibility since only management is known to do so. Stocking cigarettes and pop is alright but I would rather be ordering or receiving them.

Week 2 @Speedway

Starting out my second week at Speedway I was finally able to start on the register in the store. Before starting, I was warned that there are many different types of people who come through the store and some are more frightening than others.  Since customer service is big at Speedway I was afraid of making a mistake during an order and being yelled at by a disgruntled customer. I was not worried by the different people but when I didn’t pick out the correct cigarette or understand what lottery ticket a customer wanted I was shocked. People are impatient but this makes sense at a gas station/convenience store.

The best part of my week was going to corporate to sit in on training classes for 2 full days. The first day covered Speedway’s Foodservice Development Program. This covered some history on the company and the importance of food safety in the stores. Proper cleaning of equipment, maintaining safe temperatures and most importantly proper grooming (leading cause of food borne illnesses is caused by poor personal hygiene).  The second day of classes I received a Field Leader’s Guide. This day covered the duties of a store manager and the benefits of working at Speedway. For every employee, Speedway offers a great 401k plan, health care plan and offers to pay a percentage on college expenses during employment.

Next week I will be given more duties, including but not limited to; ordering shipments, supplier invoices, and managing the inside of the cooler (that should be fun).

Week 1 at Speedway

The first week at a new job can be a little frightening, my first day at the store was definitely one of those jobs. Being hired as an Operations Management Intern at speedway has surely changed my view of convenience store workers. There are a lot of things to manage and encounters with a lot of different people. Now first true day was at corporate in Romulus where I was acclimated to Speedways mentality and understand my duties and where I was to report for the next 10 weeks. From my orientation I learned that Speedway is a fortune 500 company and happens to be one of the best convenience/gas stations in the United States. I heard great things from all of the employees, at corporate and in the stores, which makes me happy choosing to work at a big corporation that shows value not only to their customers but also their employees.

The first day at the store was a tricky day, since my manager was out on that day. The co-manager was not aware of my schedule, however he was relieved to have more help in the store. He showed me how to enter shipping statements and set up displays.

Recent news at Speedway, the company has acquired licenses for the sale of beer at most, if not all, speedway stores. This is a big accomplishment for the company since it was hard to obtain such a license. I happened to be able to meet some beer suppliers at my orientation when we all ate lunch together.