As district manager for Bridgeman's Restaurants Inc., a chain based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Steve Lampi had to run interference between store managers and corporate headquarters whenever it handed down some harebrained scheme. So when Lampi became operations manager, in 1987, he formed a committee of six shop managers. The group was to be consulted on menu additions and store improvements to help avoid confusion and costly mistakes.
When headquarters recently slated fresh-baked muffins to appear on a new menu, the committee pointed out that some stores lacked the bakery equipment needed to deliver the goods. So instead of misprinting the menus, simply muffins was added. "The meetings have saved us a lot of money, time, and aggravation," says Lampi, who became president of the company last April.