On a recent conference call in which he was supposed to explain $2 million in losses over the last quarter, Stephen Edwards, CEO of the restaurant chain Cosi, took an unusual tack. It’s not the food that’s the problem, he said. It’s his employees.
“People love our sandwiches; they love our salads,” he said, according to Business Insider
. “We hear it time and time again. It’s never a complaint. A complaint is because someone was rude to me, my sandwich or my salad was incomplete in the ingredients that it was supposed to have … or I got the wrong order or it took me 20 minutes to get my order when there was nobody else in the store."
Edwards, who took over as Cosi’s CEO in June, said the company was going to begin focusing on “Class-A hospitality and service experience.” Edwards is the Deerfield, Ill.-based chain’s fourth chief executive since 2011. The chain has about 150 locations in the United States.
Cosi employees would appear to have similar feelings about management. The company has a 2.6-star rating on Glassdoor
. By comparison, McDonald’s has a 3.1-star rating, and Burger King has a 2.9. Many of Cosi’s employee reviews criticize the company for not offering training and call out managers for treating employees badly.
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One review, titled, “Fun job, horrible management,” put it this way: “It was always the employees' fault. The turnover rate was very high.”