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Boston Market CEO Explains Why He Works On Thanksgiving

Alison Griswold
George Michel Boston Market

Courtesy of Boston Market

George Michel, CEO of Boston Market, bags pie for a customer.

Boston Market CEO George Michel will celebrate this year's Thanksgiving from behind the counter of a Manhattan restaurant.

Over the next two days, the restaurant chain known for its rotisserie chicken will prepare and sell a jaw-dropping amount of food to more than 1 million people. In 2012, Thanksgiving sales included 36,000 whole turkeys, 10,000 hams, 3 million pounds of mashed potatoes, 735,000 pounds of stuffing, and 360,000 gallons of gravy.

Throughout the rush, Michel will don a staff uniform to work at the chain's location on 10th Avenue. The company has already hired extra workers and extended some employees' hours for the two-day stretch, but Michel says helping out is a tradition and a way of leading by example.  Last year he assisted in Miami, and the year before that in San Francisco.

"I'm in the field a lot, and I spend a lot of time in our restaurants," explains the CEO, who began his career as a kitchen helper at A&W in 1971. "That's where I started, and that's where I feel very comfortable."

Whenever he travels to Boston Market locations, Michel says he is careful to listen to feedback from restaurant staff. The people who do the day-to-day work are the ones who know best how to improve things, he says, just like he had suggestions for A&W when he was in a similar service role.

As CEO, Michel adds that it's his responsibility to make sure employees feel comfortable sharing that valuable feedback with higher-ups. "My job is to remove the stumbling blocks," he says.

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