Community minded Carrie Oakley is well-known around town because she loves to help people live their best lives and now the former franchisee of the Broken Hill Hungry Jacks restaurant has accepted an offer to step into the Store Supervisor role where she can continue the great work she does, especially with the young people of the town.
While many local businesses struggle to find or to keep staff, Ms Oakley’s firm but fair old-school approach seems to work.
“I’ve been working with young people at Hungry Jacks for years. Before coming to Broken Hill in 2004, I was Operations Manager for the Melbourne airport franchise, and Hungry Jacks Restaurant Manager in Roxburgh Park before that. I was awarded Franchise of Australia of Hungry Jacks in 2007,” Ms Oakley told the Truth.
“I sold the Broken Hill franchise in 2016 and opened Café Kona at Westside Plaza. The owners of Hungry Jacks recently approached me to come back as the store supervisor to bring it back to how it was operating previously.
“Hungry Jacks is a great training platform for life. Young people need an opportunity to work, to learn customer service, learn to clean, learn to cook, but most of all, learn to turn up on time for their shifts. Cancelling shifts last minute has been an issue,” she says.
“So, you have to build a rapport with staff. Most of my staff have been with me for seven years or more because I remind them regularly that they are appreciated. You have to make them feel that they’re important. I never let a staff member leave the store without saying, well done, great job today. I don’t have any qualms in giving them credit where it’s due,” says Ms Oakley.
“I used to run formals where staff would dress up in ball gowns and we’d recognise all the staff in the store. We had an Employee of the Year but none of this is happening anywhere anymore, and we wonder why staff don’t want to stay at a job for long. If the staff aren’t feeling important, this reflects in the food and service quality.
“I’ve employed 10 staff already in a week because they know my history. I go the extra mile because I care about each of them. In the past, I had one get into a fight on a Saturday night and get locked up. I called the police and told them they had a 6am shift and I’d go and get them out,” she said.
When we suggested that she sounded like a mother figure to some staff she shared her concerns about the number of young people with a range of diagnosed disorders.
“Anxiety, depression, insomnia, and the tablets they’re on are making it harder for staff to concentrate at work. Autism is another big one. The illnesses are holding back the young people. Never in my whole time of being in Hungry Jacks have I heard of anxiety or depression at the age of 15. It’s horrific. I don’t know what’s going on, but it breaks my heart to see this change.
“So, the community will notice a big difference to the store soon. Our opening hours have gone from 6.30am to 10pm, so we’re open every night. Major renovations start from April 23, so we’ll be shutting down for four days – April 23 to 26 – to freshen things up.
“I have some exciting plans to move forward with, but I won’t give away too much at this stage. In the meantime, people can go to the Pass it Forward Broken Hill Facebook page to see how they can help people in our community.”