I have this document on my computer that I wrote before we opened our store. It has goals about paying living wages, offering benefits, and making this a place where people can start and grow their careers. I want Rebelle to breed high-caliber food & hospitality professionals. I want to subvert the notion that food service jobs are low-skill, low-pay and just pit stops on your way to something “better” like an office job. (I had one of those office jobs and it wasn’t for me.)
Anyway, I have a lot of ideas in that document but it’s not crystal clear how we get there. I can’t raise our prices 10% every year to pay for raises and benefits, so giving our employees more while keeping our prices relatively stable requires creative financial acrobatics and being militant about operational efficiencies. Tough balancing game.
But I think we’re figuring it out just fine. It’s time to give back to the crew that makes the magic happens! We’re going to start giving our team a cut of the business’s profits. This is called profit-sharing, and it’s all the rage right now, and as far as I know we’ll be the first restaurant in Providence to offer this benefit. I’m not trying to gloat — but I think this is a BIG DEAL. I hope this will be successful for us and that other business owners will follow along.
Here’s how it will work: Every 3 months, we will put 5% of the profits into a “pool” that all employees will share, disbursed according to hours worked. It will function just like our tip pool, but funded by the business. As a retention incentive, team members have to be with us for 6 months before participating in the pool. If I did my math right, this benefit will amount to about 1 week’s paycheck as a bonus every 3 months. For Q1 2019, our profit sharing program will be a test (and has been communicated to the team as such). My deepest hope is that it will improve our retention rate, create long-term engagement within the team and make them feel better compensated for their work.
Don’t be nervous: We’re not paying for this or our upcoming 6% wage increase with price increases. In the short term, we’re absorbing the cost. And in the long term, I am hopeful our growth will continue into 2019, and that we’ll be able to keep and expand this program with your support. I ask you to consider this as you decide where to eat your breakfast, where to grab your morning coffee, or where to order holiday treats.
Every dollar you spend is like casting a vote in support of business practices. I hope you will vote more often with us!
(And if you’re a talented food & hospitality professional: let’s talk. We have some openings on our team and we’d love to meet you!)