Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group (DFRG) focuses on feeding its guests and FEEDing its staff. Through the internal initiative, Far Exceeding Expectations Daily or FEED, employees are encouraged to consistently seek out ways to FEED guests and each other as a way to strengthen the culture through engagement and help with retention.
“It’s a mindset, not a program,” explained April Scopa, vice president of people & education at DFRG. “It was a four-year process to develop FEED and we are reaping the benefits.”
Through FEED, employees are trained to listen for opportunities to exceed expectations in the workplace. Scopa offered an example of how some tourists came into one of the restaurants and were drenched from a downpour. Staff members took it upon themselves to purchase them some sweatshirts to make their experience in the restaurant and the city more comfortable and memorable. To reward their efforts, employees receive FEED pins for their lapels.
“There is a story, a person and pride connected to each pin,” she said. “FEED builds connection and loyalty all around. In the restaurant industry, you have to have good food, service and treat people well. We are all about putting people first.”
Another way DFRG puts people first and hopes to attract and retain staff is by offering a robust benefits initiative that includes:
- Full-time employee status for working an average of 25 hours a week, which is five hours fewer than the government’s definition.
- Medical benefits provided to full-time employees 60 days after they are hired.
- Fully covered medical coverage to salaried managers. General managers and executive chefs get their families insured as well.
- A 401(k) with a 25 percent match, deferred compensation with a 25 percent match, a full range of health and disability insurance.
- Tuition reimbursement for specialized certifications such as sommelier certification.
“Our unique benefits set us apart,” Scopa said. “We care about our employee happiness. FEED is about building relationships and if we can connect, we improve loyalty and people will want to stay.”
Del Frisco’s also asks employees to complete reviews on annual basis and when someone leaves in an effort to gain more knowledge of ways the company can improve the employee experience.
Based in Southlake, TX, DFRG owns and operates 50 restaurants across 23 states and Washington, D.C., including Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and Del Frisco’s Grille. In 2015, consolidated revenues increased 9.9 percent to $331.6 million from $301.8 million.