An operator's guide to a successful work environment.

Sponsored by Sprockets 

Over half of Americans work hourly jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022, 55.6 percent of all wage and salary workers were paid hourly rates, many of them working in quick-service restaurants. 

AJ Richichi is the CEO of Sprockets, an AI-powered software that helps quick-service restaurants hire and retain hourly workers. Working in the industry, Richichi quickly realized there were few resources for restaurant operators and managers to navigate the unique challenges facing the hourly workforce. 

“The hiring information in books and media is almost always for white-collar jobs,” Richichi says. ”There wasn’t a manual for hiring those that make up the majority of our workforce, and very little on how to empower them for business success and quality of life.” 

To shine a light on the “invisible” hourly workforce, Richichi wrote Hourly”. The book shares insights from influential employers and industry experts to help bridge the gap between restaurant operators and their employees, resulting in a more collaborative work environment and successful business. 

“Employee turnover and a lack of support for the hourly workforce are massive problems,” Richichi says. “I felt compelled to bring attention to these issues so that others could work on addressing them. I also wanted to showcase some current efforts that positively impact this group.” 

From hourly workers to general managers and franchisors, the book emphasizes their input and highlights strategies and suggestions for solving day-to-day problems in the restaurant industry. 

One issue is the generational gap between hourly workers and their managers. Operators are typically older, while hourly workers at the cashier or in the back of the house are usually Gen Z or Millennials. “There’s a disconnect, in my opinion,” Richichi says. “They’re very different culturally and in how they want to be hired and treated at work. The book has tips  operators can use to connect with their workers, optimize their productivity, and bridge that gap, which can be challenging.” 

Empathy is a major focus in discussions about hourly workers. It’s difficult to fully understand the lives of employees outside the restaurant. “The statistics are haunting,” Richichi says. Many employees are paying off student loans, have record-high credit card debt, and are single parents. With the cost of living going up and the federal minimum wage stagnating, many hourly workers cannot navigate life like people with privilege.

“By shining a light on the life of an average worker and going into detail about the challenges they have, operators and general managers can build policies that create positive change,” Richichi says. 

A section of the book is about the cost and growth benefits of treating your hourly employees well. Richichi shares two sets of data on a 50-location franchise. One was employee engagement satisfaction scores, and the other was performance and profits. “There was a direct correlation between success in the restaurant and employment satisfaction,” Richichi says. “If you treat your people well, they treat customers well, and people come back.” 

“Hourly” also encourages operators to implement technology. It is undeniably one of the most effective ways to streamline processes and can enable better communication with younger generations. Sprockets is an AI-powered platform that sources, screens, and schedules interviews with the absolute best applicants for businesses. Richichi says, “The goal is to make the life of the hourly worker and general manager easier by creating better matches.” 

Preorder your copy of “Hourly” today by clicking here. To discover how Sprockets’ hiring platform can streamline your recruitment process, visit their website now. 

By Olivia Schuster

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