How to Increase Diversity in Your Restaurant
By 2043, many have projected the U.S. to become a nation composed primarily of minorities. This projection means that now more than ever, it’s essential to diversify businesses. Indeed, incorporating diverse perspectives into the workplace has increased over the past few years as companies begin to recognize the inherent value of diversity. The importance of diversity in the workplace doesn’t only mean financial returns, however. Employees, customers, and upper management all stand to benefit from increased diversity in the workplace.
The hospitality sector is bound to follow these developments, as one sector with the most to benefit. Enhanced customer service and creativity are especially key in the restaurant industry, where diversification can improve employee experience and success.
Hiring decisions are always important, but they’re even more important for customer-facing positions. No matter the integrity and efficiency of your foodservice operation, the customer will only see one thing: their interaction with staff during their dining experience.
That’s why it’s essential to practice intentional hiring and commit to employees from a wide range of backgrounds. Hiring like this sets you up for a workforce that can easily accept and accommodate different perspectives. Your clientele may vary widely in age, nationality, and beliefs, but they should always feel at ease when interacting with employees.
While the restaurant industry does employ many people of color, they’re often kitchen workers or busboys, meaning the front-of-house staff is notoriously un-diverse and primarily white. Not only does this make your restaurant look bad to customers, but it can also hinder your operations. One study revealed that “inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time.”
A safe and inclusive work environment is mutually beneficial for all parties. This goal can be achieved by selecting new employees who align with company values, arranging for diverse interview panels, and updating employee training guidelines. Remember, it’s not enough to talk the talk — prospective employees and customers want to see concrete actions to reduce workplace discrimination and increase respect among colleagues.
Capitalizing on Business Expansion
Opening new restaurant locations provide the perfect opportunity to roll out new procedures and implement diversity standards. Whether that’s lengthening employee training to address religious and cultural freedoms or launching fundraisers for minority groups, there’s always room for improvement.
When you’re building a new location from the ground up, you can select ideal employees by putting in the time, dedication, and financial commitment from the very start. Starting on the right foot is especially important if you’re buying your first business investment property. Investing is a big step! It’s important to consider all angles before making a final decision, both when purchasing the property and building the restaurant team.
Before investing, you should also examine your current asset performance. Working with a professional accountant and using marketing resources can increase your chances of success when it comes to restaurant expansion financing. Although opening a new location can be a big upfront commitment, it can also increase company diversity and boost revenue.
Long-Term Benefits of Prioritizing Restaurant Diversity
In the long haul, instituting diversity initiatives and encouraging individuality amongst your restaurant employees will increase financial returns. As your company gains a reputation as a fair employer, employees of all backgrounds will flock to work for you. This increase in applicants gives you the choice of the best workers.
Immigrants, for instance, form the backbone of the restaurant industry in the United States, yet they’re often underpaid and underappreciated. Immigrants compose 22% of food production roles nationwide, and the industry wouldn’t function without them. These employees are passionate, hard workers whose quality of life would be drastically improved by better working conditions. They’re not the only minorities who could stand to benefit from increased workplace diversity. Women, people of color, and individuals with disabilities all deserve livable working conditions and wages.
Immigrants are just one example of the kind of dedicated, long-term employee a diverse restaurant can attract. Diversity doesn’t end at lower-level employees though. Besides financial benefits and enhanced employee well-being, diverse operations can help your restaurant run more efficiently. When both upper and lower management is diverse, even a 1% increase in racial diversity can result in increased “firm productivity by between $729 and $1590 per employee per year.” The bottom line is that diversity increases restaurant productivity, especially when minorities receive advancement opportunities, mentorship, and a respectable wage and benefits package.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has walloped the restaurant industry, it will eventually bounce back. Now is the prime time to invest in industry upgrades like diversity training. The restaurant industry will expand alongside nationwide diversity; an investment in industry diversity is a solid opportunity in a constantly changing world.
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About the Author
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.