Fired Up favors manager stability as boon to Carino’s

Some restaurant companies like to move their branch managers around—send a top performer to a struggling unit to see if he or she can improve sales, or send a strong manager who is good with pressure to a high-volume store, or have new managers gain knowledge about the company by moving them in and out of markets.

But while some executives favor lots of movement among restaurant managers, others strongly advocate keeping managers in one location as long as possible, and financial incentives are even offered to get those unit bosses to stay put.

Rodney Morris, a human resources veteran, argues strongly that long-term tenure for restaurant managers brings such benefits as low employee turnover, high customer satisfaction and better store performance.

Morris, whose 20-plus-year career includes stints at Brinker International [3] and Pasta Pomodoro, is senior vice president of HR for Fired Up Inc., whose Carino’s Italian Grill [4] chain is based in Austin, Texas, and includes 74 corporate Carino’s and another 86 franchised branches, 10 of them in Middle Eastern nations.

How does a manager’s tenure affect employee turnover?

People don’t leave companies, they leave the boss. We know typically that turnover jumps when you change managers. For whatever reason, people like consistency. The staff likes consistency. No surprises. When you keep the manager, you keep the staff. They stay satisfied. Lower turnover leads to greater satisfaction and higher profits.

How expensive is turnover?

The cost of replacing one manager is $19,129, and one hourly staff member is $1,707. Turnover is a hidden cost on the P&L.

Do restaurants with long-term GMs outperform others in the chain?

I can’t give you specific numbers, but our longer-term GMs tend to be in those restaurants that are higher-volume and perform well. They are making good on the bonus program and tend to not be looking for another job.

What about the customer?

When GMs are in a place longer, they are able to create ties to their regular guests as well as be the ambassadors for Carino’s in their local communities. We like people to become involved in their communities—live there, send their kids to school there. I call it running for mayor out in the dining room. Be the mayor of your local community.