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Women in Foodservice
The Newsweek/Plant-A Insights Group’s “America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women” survey included input from HR professionals and over 37,000 female employees at America's largest companies.

Several restaurant companies named as ‘great workplaces for women’

Eight restaurant companies received a 5-star rating in Newsweek/Plant-A Insights Group’s “America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women” survey, which included input from HR professionals and over 37,000 female employees.

Newsweek recently released its “America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women 2023” in partnership with data company Plant-A Insights Group and there were several restaurant companies on the list – including many without formalized gender parity goals in place.

The information was pulled from more than 37,000 female employees at 600 large American companies with at least 1,000 employees and is ranked based on criteria such as “compensation and benefits,” “work/life balance” and “proactive management of a diverse workforce.”

In a recent interview, Manuel Moerbach, founder and CEO of Plant-A Insights Group, said the impetus behind this research was to dive deeper into what he calls the “biggest transformation of the workplace” throughout the past few years due to Covid-19.

“There was almost like a workplace revolution,” he said. “So, we did two studies and combined them into one for this data. One, we interviewed a few hundred HR professionals to understand what drives satisfaction today and, ideally, tomorrow. That helped us calibrate categories.”

Eight categories were created, with five to 18 questions each.

Then, the employee study was launched. Moerbach said certain demographics were scored higher than others; for example, single moms in senior levels, female founders, etc. Then, companies on the list were screened for press coverage from the past two years based on key words such as “harassment,” “gender pay gap,” “discrimination,” etc.

“We wanted to see how these, the biggest companies in America, responded to incidents. Did they put the right measures in place or were they silent? We also removed companies that had major layoffs during our time of study,” Moerbach said. That time of study was the latter part of 2022.

Moerbach added that this work is ongoing, but his company will continue to approach workplace surveys with input from both the employees themselves as well as from HR professionals.

“This is a strong snapshot. My opinion is that now these companies should do their own full employee surveys to validate their work and go deeper to understand what more they can do,” he said. “Making sure you have a diverse workforce is super important – more important than ever.”

Restaurant companies on the list that scored the highest – 5 stars – include:

  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • Café Rio
  • Chevys Fresh Mex
  • Dutch Bros. Coffee
  • Five Guys
  • Noodles and Co.
  • Old Chicago
  • Taco Time Northwest

Restaurant companies with 4.5 star include:

  • 54th Street Grill
  • Bloomin’ Brands
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Dave & Busters
  • Papa John’s
  • QK Holdings (Denny’s largest franchisee that also operates a handful of Del Tacos)
  • Taco Cabana
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • Zaxby’s Franchising

Restaurant companies with four stars include:

  • Applebee’s
  • D’Amico and Partners
  • Denny’s
  • Domino’s
  • Panera Bread
  • Restaurant Management Group (Little Caesars franchisee)
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Tacala (Taco Bell franchisee)
  • TopGolf
  • Yum Brands

Bloomberg Gender-Equity Index

Since we’re on the topic, it’s perhaps worth noting that the annual Bloomberg Gender-Equity Index was released around the same time as Newsweek/Plant-A Insights Group’s survey. This is a wildly different measurement of gender equity progress based on information voluntarily submitted by companies against a robust “gender reporting framework.” That framework includes leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, anti-sexual harassment policies and external brand.

The purpose of the index is to increase transparency behind these efforts, as well as attract investors as demand for ESG increases. Notably, it is not a pay-to-play index. This year, 484 companies across 54 industries in 43 countries and regions are included on this year’s list.

Just two restaurant companies made it onto this year’s list – Yum Brands and Chipotle.

Yum Brands is the only restaurant company on both the Bloomberg index and the Newsweek list, reflecting both that the company proactively measures its progress against Bloomberg’s GEI framework and that the company’s female employees have given those efforts a vote of confidence.

Among those efforts are the EmpowHER Leadership program, connecting women leaders in franchise organizations across the system through development opportunities; business employee resource groups; the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence, in partnership with the University of Louisville, aimed at recruiting and educating underrepresented people of color and women on the possibilities of franchising; and more.

“Gender equality is a critical component of our business strategy – and as part of that, we’re investing in programs, partnerships and practices to support women within Yum and the restaurant industry,” James Fripp, Yum’s chief equity, inclusion and belonging officer, said in an email to Nation’s Restaurant News. “We are honored to see our efforts recognized, and we aspire to continue making progress in this space.”

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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