September 2016, Part I
Advancing Education, Advancing Employees. Ellen Davis, Senior Vice President of Research and Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director of the National Retail Federation Foundation, penned an op-ed for Huffington Post Voices on Sept. 1 to showcase the educational opportunities provided by the service industry. Davis writes, “The value of education at all ages cannot be overstated in its ability to open new doors and promote opportunity and growth in the workforce. That’s why the service industry is empowering its employees to further their professional development and personal growth. Retail businesses and restaurants across the country offer a plethora of educational benefits – from scholarships to tuition reimbursement to certification programs.”
Fries And Friendship. On Aug. 29, The Boston Globe profiled Freia David, a McDonald’s employee who retired after 32 years. In 1984, David began a sixth month training program for adults with cognitive disabilities and has been thriving in the workplace ever since. Working five days a week, and even coming in on Saturdays to greet her friends, the job had become the most important part of her life. The restaurant held a party in her honor at which more than 100 people packed in to wish her farewell. At the end of the party, Bob Broughton, operations director for the franchise group that includes this McDonald’s location, said, “We love you, we appreciate you, we respect you, and we’re all better people for having you in our lives.”
From The State Fair To A Mainstay Business. The Dallas Morning News reported that Isaac Rousso, a Dallas-born entrepreneur famous for selling food at the State Fair of Texas, will open a new restaurant this month inside a Plano Walmart. Although Rousso has spent nearly a decade in the service industry, the leased space at Walmart will be his first year-round location, and he expects to have 15 new restaurants open next year. “At the end of the day it’s incredible that you have someone like Wal-mart believing in a small entrepreneurial guy and seeing the potential of what we can bring,” he said.
Waffle House Employee Celebrates Decades Of Service With A Smile. This Labor Day, longtime waitress Ruby Mason celebrated working nearly 30 years at Waffle House by opting out of a day off. A recent WGCL-TV Atlanta profile recognized Mason as a fixture of the Decatur, Georgia community who delivers food “with a good laugh and an infectious smile” to ensure that customers keep coming back to the restaurant. Mason credits having a steady job at the food chain for helping her survive and mentions the potential to climb the career ladder to becoming a manager one day.
Pro-Start Offers Milwaukee Students First Taste Of Service Industry. OnMilwaukee.com’s Lori Fredrich reported that Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) recently welcomed 450 area high schoolers to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Pro-Start program. The two-year hands-on culinary arts curriculum educates students on everything from cooking, to food safety and purchasing, to management and front of house operations. The program also provides career readiness in a non-traditional academic setting by connecting students to local chefs. MPS’ Manager of Strategic Plans and Special Projects explains, “Chefs come from so many different walks of life. And many of them were not star students in school. That’s a great story for the kids to hear. It’s inspiring. And at the same time, they’re gaining exposure to mentors with different leadership styles and experiences. That offers even more chances for the messaging to resonate.”
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