Restaurants and food franchises are at the forefront of the re-emergence of the American economy. But the challenge for food franchisees is this: how do you hold onto valuable staff once the rest of the economy catches up?
The people at Harris Interactive have conducted a poll that shows that 1 in 5 people plan to search out a new job when the economy recovers. High turnover has long been a bugbear for franchisees at quick service restaurants, and it’s a topic which QSR magazine dealt with in a recent story that profiled the employee-retention plans of some of the country’s biggest fast food franchises.
The story comes on the back foot of the People Report Summer Camp Conference, which was held outside Dallas recently and attended by representatives from White Castle, Taco Bell and many others. The talk of the summit was employee engagement. This topic is so important to franchises that Taco Bell has created the position of People Capability Coach, which is currently occupied by Jason Fripp.
Tripp told QSR that his role is not just to work with employees on a day-to-basis, but to give them an incentive to stay when the economy comes back around. The severity of the US recession has seen a drift of quality workers from higher-paid professional work to the QSR sector.
"It's an opportunity for us to upgrade our talent because many of the candidates out there today were not interested in us (before the recession)," Fripp said. "That helps us really give our folks the opportunity to be better than we were before."
So how do franchises go about this? Many look to White Castle, who traditionally has one of the lowest turnover rates of any chain. Employee surveys seem to help, as do programs which nurture talent when it arrives.
What franchisees need to do, to put it bluntly, is to engage with their employees. The economy won’t be in the doldrums forever. Make your staff feel valuable today and it’s likely that they’ll stay loyal to you no matter how the economy is faring.