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October 26, 2023

Welcome to Elevating Brick and Mortar.
The podcast about how operations and facilities drive brand performance.

On today’s episode, we talk with Mike Guinan, Vice President Operations Services at White Castle. White Castle is America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, started in 1921. The family-owned business now owns and operates more than 350 restaurants.

Mike Guinan has worked in many roles since he started at White Castle more than 38 years ago. He began behind the counter learning the grill, and eventually made his way to Vice President Operations Services. In his current position, Mike oversees Destination locations, Real Estate, Construction, Engineering as well as leading the company in Robotic and Automations.

About the Guest

Mike Guinan has worked in many roles since he started at White Castle more than 38 years ago. He began behind the counter learning the grill, dressing sandwiches and cleaning while he was still in high school. Mike rapidly moved up into more prominent roles as shift manager, Castle supervisor, Regional Assistant Director, Director, Regional Vice President of restaurant operations and currently Vice President Operations Services. In his current position, Mike oversees Destination locations, Real Estate, Construction, Engineering as well as playing a lead role in shaping company strategies on the company work plan. Mike currently leads the company in Robotic and Automations. He enjoys building relationships and helping others grow as leaders. Mike also revels in helping people to be all they can be and says that is one of his
greatest rewards at White Castle.

Through the years, Mike has lead as well as attended seminars, workshops, and worked with business leaders to learn more about the restaurant industry. He currently lives in the south suburbs of Chicago with his family and where he grew up. Mike also is an avid runner, having completed several marathons. He is on the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Board as well as the YMCA Safe Place Services National Board. Mike has many favorite Craver moments, which include hearing memorable stories from customers, seeing a young Craver’s face light up when they enter the restaurant, and watching the many generations that visit the Castles daily. While he says there are too many items on the menu to choose a favorite, he would choose the White Castle Slider with cheese.

“We’re very excited about [kitchen robotics]. I promise you, it’s not gonna take anyone’s job away. It’s gonna enhance their job. And more importantly, it’s going to enhance how the customer is able to interact with us and how we’re able to deliver against what their expectation is.”

— Mike Guinan 

TIMESTAMPS

**(00:31) How Mike got started

**(02:27) How White Castle stands the test of time

**(08:23) White Castle’s iconic design

**(13:13) Leveraging robots and tech in the kitchen

**(21:50) Evolving the restaurant space

**(28:23) Adapting to technology

 

SPONSOR:

ServiceChannel brings you peace of mind through peak facilities performance.

Rest easy knowing your locations are:

  • Offering the best possible guest experience
  • Living up to brand standards
  • Operating with minimal downtime

ServiceChannel partners with more than 500 leading brands globally to provide visibility across operations, the flexibility to grow and adapt to consumer expectations, and accelerated performance from their asset fleet and service providers.

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