The unemployment rate in the U.S. stands just above 4 percent. While this near historic low rate is good news for employees, it can present a challenge for employers. In fact, many companies, restaurants included, are finding it challenging to hire and retain quality workers.
What's the answer to the employee crunch then? For Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes, the answer is “The Pam Program” (person activating marketing), or PAM for short. Based in Texas, 10-year-old Mooyah is a franchise with more than 100 restaurants spread throughout 17–18 states and multiple countries. Like others in the fast casual medium, Mooyah has been trying to figure out how to get quality employees and help franchisees grow its business.
However, for Mooyah, finding quality employees was especially challenging. The franchise has a key tenant; each Mooyah should be part of the hometown team. Michael Mabry, president and chief operating officer of Mooyah, explains further. "When you open up a Mooyah, we want the local community to adopt that restaurant and vice versa. This should be done by supporting schools, churches, and local businesses." Entry-level team members look like and are part of the community, and guest specialists (cashiers) are to be the face of the community. This tenant is another job requirement and insisting employees fulfill this requirement increases the challenges related to hiring.
Eight and a half years ago, Pam Parham needed a job. She was a career woman, in the field of marketing, but scaled back to focus on her family. With her children grown, Parham was looking for a role that would get her back into the workforce while still allowing the part-time flexibility to be a mom.
In response, Parham wrote a Facebook post about her interest in returning to the workforce. The original Mooyah franchisee saw the posting. He was looking for some marketing and community building help, and responded to the post with a job offer. Today, Parham is a local store marketing specialist and serves as part of the corporate team at Mooyah.
Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes