EAT boss restructures company in a bid to retain “flightier” shop floor staff

EAT store Birmingham

UK-based food-to-go operator EAT is redesigning its staffing structure in a move designed to grow its employees amid struggles retaining millennials.

CEO Andrew Walker, who stepped across to EAT last year having previously worked for rival food-to-go operator Pret A Manger, has been tasked with boosting the company’s performance and looks to do so by overhauling the staffing structure.

EAT, which is predominantly based in London, has changed 80% of its area managers as well as 60% of its store managers and is now looking to incentivise lower shop floor staff in a bid to increase staff retention levels.

Walker, speaking at Lunch! this month, said the move to restructure the company came in response to finding that millennials are “flightier” than their older counterparts.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, it’ getting harder,” he said: “They will come to you and say ‘yes, I want to work’, but they have also said that to three other people. They then work two trial days and they might not turn up again if they have a better offer in the meantime, so it is very competitive. It is getting quite hard to retain them, because if they get another offer they move on to the next place.”

In order to entice employees to stick around longer, Walker said the companylooks to motivate new recruits from their first day with the chain.

On each employee’s first day they have the company structure laid out to them and are given a plan for where they can be within a couple of years.

“What we are trying to do is build a career path so that when they come in on day one we say ‘look, this is where you can be in two years, you can be the manager, you can earn a bit more money’ and give them something to aim for,” Walker explained.

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