Fourteen high school students participating in the summer business apprenticeship at Metro were treated to an amazing learning experience at Potbelly’s corporate office in Chicago on Wednesday, August 2.
Eleven employees including interim CEO Mike Coyne teamed up to provide an in-depth look into the many facets of Potbelly’s unique corporate culture encompassing its competitive advantage, vision, mission, passion, and values. The kick-off talk on culture detailed how the firm leads and how employees are expected to behave in the hotly contested, fast-casual restaurant business.
One of the girls remarked how great it was for the company to focus so heavily on customer service and ethical behavior without overemphasizing the need to make money, which tends to drive so many other firms, she said.
The girls’ instructors also commented about how well the four-hour program complemented what they’d been teaching about entrepreneurship this summer. The girls clearly were as passionate about the three businesses they had created (Bands & Bows, City Bracelets, and Fresh & Fruity) as Potbelly is about delivering the “best darn lunch in a neighborhood sandwich shop”.
After lunch (featuring, what else, an assortment of Potbelly sandwiches and cookies), 30-minute breakout sessions offered the girls a chance to quiz Potbelly staff on the different roles they play in marketing, human resources, operations, and finance. Several students immediately expressed interest in pursuing career opportunities in those areas.
The program, which one student described as the “best field trip ever”, culminated with a check presentation, acknowledging Potbelly’s sponsorship of the summer apprenticeship at Metro as well as a partner relationship with Midtown Educational Foundation that began in Spring 2015 with then CEO Aylwin Lewis.
MEF thanks Potbelly for its generous support and the following individuals who made the day extra special for Metro girls: Blake Bogdanovich, Mike Coyne, Mary Laube-Gale, Candice Hurst, Codi Livingston, Paula Malocha, Nancy Johnson, Giancarla Owca, Celeste Pereda, Bryan Stevenson, and Jennifer Sullivan.