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Chain LeaderEditorial Archives2005April 15 — Best Places To Work

Hiring Incentives Contribute to the Rock Culture

According to Hard Rock Cafe, many managerial and hourly applicants are immediately drawn to the chain’s rock ‘n’ roll experience and high-energy atmosphere. But to reel them in, the casual-dining chain’s recruitment practices include hiring incentives that are an extension of its service philosophy, “Love All, Serve All.”

For example, both managers and hourly employees who work at least 19 hours a week receive the same benefits including medical, vision and dental insurance and 401(k). However, managers are eligible for health benefits on the first of the month following their date of hire, while hourlies must work for six months.

“The fact that we do offer benefits to our hourly staff—the same benefits that we offer to our managers—sort of encompasses that all-in-one mentality or that ‘Love All, Serve All’ mantra,” says Human Resources Manager Megan Rossi. “That’s the message we expect our hourlies to go out and deliver to the guests. So it’s important to us that those benefits are even across the board.”

Hard Rock Cafe also offers career development. Managers identify potential managerial candidates among its hourly ranks. Those interested in management participate in the Manager in Orientation program for eight to 10 weeks, working in all areas of the restaurant. If they still want a managerial position after completing the orientation program, the candidates proceed to the 12-week Manager in Training program. Last year 24 percent of managers came from hourly positions.

Other hiring incentives include flexible scheduling, three free uniforms, paid jury duty and bereavement leave, and a 50 percent meal and retail discount for the employee and up to five guests. According to Rossi, these incentives help create a culture that keeps its 6,500 employees happy and the company competitive. In 2004, hourly turnover was 90 percent, while management turnover was 34 percent. With 122 units in 41 countries, Hard Rock Cafe posted $400 million in systemwide sales last year.

“People work for people, not for companies,” Rossi says. “So if you can combine the Hard Rock brand with the right people, then you’ve created a win-win for that person coming into work for you, for the management team and ultimately for your sales.”

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