The head of this restaurant chain surely knows the value of an excellent employees relationship.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in early March, many businesses were forced to close down. To curb the spread of the virus, the government ordered non-essential establishments to pause their operations. One of the companies affected by this mandate is the popular restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse.
Instead of seeing this event as a drawback, its CEO and co-founder, Kent Taylor saw it as an opportunity to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of his staff.
Taylor purchased latex gloves, masks, and eyewear for the employees in his nearly 600 branches. He also got to work establishing a sort of stimulus package specifically meant to aid the Texas Roadhouse family.
“It’s how I was raised. I did what I felt was right,” he said. “This is that kind of time where you have to persist and think differently and take care of those that are with you and lift everyone’s spirits and march forward.”
The company head donated his annual base salary and bonus, which amounted to more than $800,000, to pay his chain’s workers. Incredibly, even as the business faced difficulties amid the shutdown, the company has so far not laid anyone off or decreased pay.
Aside from forgoing his salary and bonus, Taylor also donated another $5 million to an emergency fund called Andy’s Outreach, named after the chain’s mascot Andy Armadillo. He set it up for his employees 18 years ago to help them with expenses like mortgage payments, utility bills, and funeral expenses.
“We were doing that to take care of our people that might have a loved one die that needed money for a funeral or an operation,” he explained. “It would transition to where people gave part of their paycheck, whether 10 cents of $10, to help our people during times of need.”
He noticed that many of his staff were relying on the fund for aid and the reserve was quickly depleting. That event compelled him to donate millions of dollars from his own pocket.
“I’m 64 years old and I call people under 55 kids. So I have 70,000 kids, and you want to take care of them,” he said of his workforce. “I relate it to my own personal family and I want to take care of my family, is how I look at it.”
Although he’s already a successful businessman, Taylor places a high value on maintaining excellent employees relationship and rewarding them for their hard work. He also faced struggles of his own back in the day, and these experiences were a significant factor in his desire to help others out.
During the early days of Texas Roadhouse in the early 90s, he was a struggling single father raising two daughters. Back then, he had to lean on his parents for financial support and, at times, even housing.
“When you’re down and out, that sticks in your head,” he said. “A lot of people think when you make it later in life it leaves, but it stays in your brain. Later in life you want to give back in the same way.”
The employees’ response to his efforts has been positive. Because of his generous act, hundreds of people have sent him thank you letters, with some of them even causing him to shed a few tears. That’s how you improved employees relationship with the management.
Taylor’s only hope is that when all this is over, his staff will learn to pay it forward to whoever needs it.
“I want them to transfer the love we’re showing them to other people,” he said.
We need not be as wealthy as a CEO to support people in need. We can help them in our own little ways; we just have to find out how we can be of service to them!