In an effort to hire new talent as its enters trend-bucking growth – as well as retain its dedicated team – Mission Yogurt, Inc. has instituted a nonprofit dedicated to its employees, a new recruitment program and will provide a first-of-its-kind weekly travel allowance for its airport concession employees.
In addition to its notably competitive pay rates and benefits, Mission recently became the only concessionaire at Denver International Airport to offer a $100 per week travel allowance to team members, compensating them for the additional time and effort it takes to travel to-and-from work, and the time required to go through security.
“Airports are very rewarding and exciting places to work, but they can also be some of the most difficult locations to access for your shift, in regard to parking, then going through the security process,” says Rod Tafoya, president of Mission Yogurt, Inc. “Our weekly travel allowance is meant to show we understand the time that is spent to simply come to work, and we value that time.”
Another form of Mission’s increased emphasis on recruitment, retention and wellbeing comes through a nonprofit recently founded in support of the company’s employees, called Mission Cares. Through a dollar-for-dollar matching program, Mission Cares offers a by-application fund for employees in need of rainy-day grants for unforeseen hardships, without judgment. All Mission employees are welcome to contribute to this fund and are encouraged to apply for grants – paid by the organization – to cover medical emergencies, natural disaster recovery and other circumstances that impact their ability to work or overcome from a personal crisis.
In addition to retention programs, Mission’s innovative Talent Knows Talent program rewards current employees for their recruitment efforts with monetary incentives alongside a natural community-building initiative as it looks to expand its team. Since July 2021, Mission has hired and retained 70 employees through its Talent Knows Talent program. With upcoming additions of new concepts and kiosks, Mission will be responsible for adding upwards of 300 total employees by 2023.
The addition and launch of these initiatives comes as business and recreational travel returns to pre-pandemic rates, a welcome sign as the industry continues its recovery after two difficult years. During the height of COVID-related closures and restrictions, Mission made just five percent of its pre-COVID sales and retained only 30 percent of its staff, but kept 14 stores open. This resilience and commitment to serving passengers helped the concessionaire earn industry recognition including Airport Experience News’ award for Best ACDBE Operator in 2020, and Airports Council International North America’s Concessionaire Adaptability Award in 2022.
Founded in 1988 by Denver native Rod Tafoya, Mission Yogurt, Inc. first made a presence at Denver International Airport in 1995 with the opening of Sara Lee Sandwich Shop/Colombo Yogurt, followed by the airport’s first authentic Mexican restaurant, and Tafoya’s original concept, Que Bueno! Mexican Grille. It has continued to grow over the past 25 years, and will more than double its footprint in the next year as it expands from 14 total restaurant concepts – including 11 at
Denver International Airport (DEN), two at San Diego International Airport (SAN) and a Denver-metro Mexican restaurant, Que Bueno Suerte – to nearly 30 food, beverage and retail concepts across three international airports.