Sponsored by Aloha Hospitality
(Loxley) A legendary guest experience at Baumhower’s Victory Grille might just mean a restaurant manager at home relaxing with family. With a revolutionary change to the employee playbook, Aloha Hospitality introduces a flexible approach to scheduling that creates a 4-day workweek for all store-level restaurant managers companywide. The goal is to create a new workplace culture that promotes life-work balance – in step with a growing number of companies realizing a younger millennial workforce comes with different needs and expectations. The restaurant industry is finding the traditional “necessary evil” of 85-hour workweeks and six or seven-day schedules are not conducive to team retention or guest experience. And with nearly 15 million people employed in hospitality, a fresh approach is essential.
“It’s a win-win for not just our team, but our guests,” says Bob Baumhower, CEO and self-proclaimed Head Fry Cook for Aloha Hospitality. “We want our team to be fresh, energized and focused on a legendary guest experience.”
The chain of casual, sports-themed restaurants that bear Baumhower’s name employs more than 1,000 team members between all ten locations throughout Alabama. The shift to a four-day work week will impact more than 60 full-time managers in total. Like the growing trend nationwide, staffing and retention is a challenge for Baumhower’s Victory Grille. A recent report from global HR think-tank Reventure found tourism and hospitality are experiencing a skills shortage of nearly 40,000 current unfilled vacancies. The restaurant and takeaway food sector alone is expected to generate another 84,100 new jobs by May 2022 . The millennials seeking those jobs value experiences more than belongings, and intangible benefits far beyond just higher wages. Understanding that trend led former University of Alabama and Miami Dolphins football legend-turned –restaurateur Baumhower to upend the traditional gameplan.
Baumhower credits the company’s operational infrastructure, the Aloha Factor, developed and honed over his nearly 40 years in the restaurant business, in making what some in the hospitality industry call a far-fetched dream become a reality. “You’ve heard the phrase ‘it takes a village,’ well in our case it takes a team! Everyone has to buy in, go the extra mile and support each other to make it work and our people are some of the best in the world at teamwork.”
In 1979, Baumhower got a taste for the restaurant business when he became a partner in the famed Bachelors III restaurant with fellow gridiron greats Joe Namath and Richard Todd. Later, while playing as a member of the notorious “Killer B’s” defense for the Miami Dolphins, Baumhower visited a restaurant owned by Eddie Hauck, the first in Florida to serve Buffalo wings, and immediately knew he had his first restaurant idea. Wings and Things opened in 1981 in Tuscaloosa, AL where Baumhower played college football under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, and he has been in the industry ever since.
Aloha Hospitality believes the new program will increase morale, retain team members, and enhance a sense of team ownership. The Aloha Factor program’s 4-day workweek allows managers time for extended rest, more time with family and friends, less of a rush to run errands, etc., etc. With two days off in a row, the plan at last mimics the much longed-for “weekend” in the hospitality industry, as well as an additional day off during each week.
“So much of what we do is about celebrating, making memories, and enjoying amazing food,” Baumhower continues, “…we want our teams to be able to enjoy those things too. Allowing our managers to have the life-work balance they desire while being able to better serve our guests at the same time makes this revolutionary concept a no-brainer. It’s funny how ideas come to you, and you wonder to yourself – ‘why didn’t we do this years ago?’”
According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 43% of companies offer four-day workweeks to some employees, and 10% now make it available to all or most of their team . The reason? Employee-centered flexibility positively impacts the bottom line. Studies show turnover rates drop, revenues climb, and workplace culture is revolutionized. Clearly, the metrics affirm the extra effort is worth it. For Aloha, the 4-day work week will actually produce more coverage on the restaurant floor. As many as three managers will be present simultaneously assisting with service and interacting with guests during peak periods of high volume.
As one of Aloha Hospitality’s new young lions in the field, Spencer Baumhower can closely relate to the up and coming generation of hospitality managers. “Moving to this 4-day work week will be a huge recruiting tool in that it provides the ability to travel, go see a two-day concert, or just enjoy downtime with their family,” he says. “Millennials, like myself, are looking for not only the prospect of having an impact in the world, but also getting to go out and enjoy and experience it as well.”
About Aloha Hospitality
From consulting services to culinary innovation, for more than 35 years Aloha Hospitality has served up both a passion for food and the commitment to excellence that CEO and Owner Bob Baumhower learned in his playing days with the Alabama Crimson Tide and Miami Dolphins. Aloha Hospitality is known for its classic to cutting-edge dishes with a commitment to high quality, locally-sourced ingredients and, above all, a Legendary guest experience. Aloha Hospitality is the parent company to the high-volume, sports-themed Baumhower’s Victory Grille, with ten locations throughout the state of Alabama; and Dauphin’s, a fine-dining experience, located 424 feet above downtown Mobile, AL with nearly panoramic views of the Mobile Bay. For more information regarding Aloha Hospitality visit https://alohahospitality.com