17:11 PM

The Thrill of the Grill

Eight WhataGames teams competed in the first day of the restaurant competition event.

Do you hear that sizzle?

That’s the sound of the WhataGames finalist teams burning up the competition in the Get Your Grill On game, a high-stakes, emotion-filled contest that challenges everything operators know about running a restaurant.

The intense competition kicked off Thursday, with teams putting their operational skills and kitchen confidence to the test during a simulated $400 30-minute lunch rush where anything can happen.

“This game is where the best teams rise to the top,” Director of Restaurant Learning and Development John Zurovchak says. “The competition showcases coaching, leadership and camaraderie. If you don’t have those, you’re going to struggle. You can’t fake it.”

Nerves of Steel

“Everything has to be perfect,”17-year-old Family Member Jennifer Diaz from Unit 898 in Crosby, Texas, says. “There is a lot of pressure.”

But if you think all that pressure is shaking the finalists’ nerves, you thought wrong. These competitors are calm, cool and collected.

“We loved it,” says Dana Stino, the GM at Unit 1079 in Houston. “We ran in to a few little bumps but that’s real life. It’s all about teamwork.”

Unit 898 GM Filiberto Castillo is happy with his team’s performance at the event, and is now looking ahead to what’s next. “It was really exciting, but we’re happy it’s over.”

Instead of stressing, the finalists just focus on the great things they do every day – serving great food with a great attitude.

“I interact with customers every day. It’s always eye to eye and heart to heart,” Family Member Wandell West from Unit 1079 says. “This was no different.”

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