Kanga Fam Jam


I’ve written in the past about Megan and Erynn, the smart and energetic duo behind Eat Kanga, an Australian meat pie company here in TO…delicious!!!!…find them online here and then visit at 65 Duncan Street:


Megan recently contacted me to talk about her perception that  “genuinely acknowledging the teams we work with, at every possible opportunity, is vitally important to operating an awesome business.”

She mentioned that she liked my post about my son’s reaction to his employer serving several hundred people a Thanksgiving turkey lunch. Coincidentally she and Erynn hosted a turkey dinner for their team at Christmas to a great response: “It was such a hit, and we felt it made such a difference, that we have decided to do a ‘Kanga Fam Jam’ approximately every two months, going forward.”

When Megan and I spoke on the phone, I shared with her a couple of the things we do at PGB including a monthly All-Stars list and a monthly Peer Champion award. The All-Stars list includes everyone who has an error-free month, as defined quite awhile ago: for the bakers, things like error-free making of recipes, and for the customer service team, cashing out successfully and receiving no customer complaints about them. Gift cards are given to those people who are on the list for three consecutive months, quite an achievement!

The Peer Champion program is a little different because the winners are decided by the team, not the management team. Amy has set up a SurveyMonkey program so that everyone can vote weekly and also include comments about exactly what their nominee did to stand out. The winner in each of Baking and CS/Ops also receives a gift card.

After we talked on the phone, Megan spoke to a few other small business  owners who don’t share our views. Their view is that at the modest wages paid in the food service business, it is simply not possible to get the best from people and that the only lever is to give people the number of hours they request.

While I don’t agree with this perspective, I accept that one thing that is very hard to achieve is longterm stability in the whole team. Often jobs in the food service business are temporary for people as they go through school or look for a role in the field in which they were trained. So although it is always hard to say good-bye, still, I get it when people need to move on to a more lucrative role.

But while people are working at a place, regardless of the salary that the role commands, I think that reward and recognition programs, or events like Kanga’s Fam Jams, do make a difference to how the team interacts with each other and with customers. This impact may be hard to measure but the other aspect for me is how I feel…and I feel better about owning a business and being the “boss” when there are programs in place that let me recognize people in an organized way.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


To receive email notifications of new blog posts, please subscribe below.



Hello, You!

I’m so glad you are here.

Sign up to receive my posts and you will never miss one. (and by the way - absolutely no other marketing-type emails will be sent your way!)

- Jean