Selection Tool Serves Up Recipe for Success

By Staff Report

May. 29, 2004

The first ingredient in the recipe for success in the restaurant business is hiring great people. According to Lance Trenary, Senior Vice President of Operations for Golden Corral restaurants, great people combined with a great concept generate the type of business results any company would welcome: increased profits and employee satisfaction.

Golden Corral’s mission is to make pleasurable dining affordable in their clean, fun, friendly atmosphere—a philosophy that is culturally embraced by the company’s coworker and management teams. Recruiting and retaining the best talent in the industry has helped the company secure its position as America’s #1 family restaurant chain.

“The biggest thing we are always focused on is recruiting, hiring and training the best talent in the industry,” says Trenary. “We have the best product offering out there, but if we don’t have a great manager running our restaurant, we’re dead in the water.”

Three years ago, Golden Corral was experiencing management turnover close to 50 percent. With a high level of turnover, the operations team knew they needed to refocus on the talent that was joining the team. Company analysis over 30 years of operation indicates that the more tenured the management team, the better the profitability of the restaurant.

To improve the tenure of the management team and reduce turnover, Golden Corral began using Kenexa®’s talent management solutions to aid in their recruiting and retention efforts.

“Kenexa helps us identify the people who have the highest likelihood of being successful and being a successful part of Golden Corral,” said Trenary. “They help us sort through the literally thousands of applicants we get to find the people who will thrive in our culture.”

Applicants who don’t pass the first step in the Kenexa screening process do not go on to the next phase of the interviewing process. Trenary notes that the Kenexa solution can tell them right “off the bat” if a potential candidate is someone they want to pursue.

In the three years since Golden Corral began using Kenexa Insight® Interviews for their management level, they’ve been able to reduce turnover down to 20 percent, equaling 80 percent retention of salaried management. Trenary remarked that the cost of turning a manager is nearly $25,000. By increasing manager retention, they are able to increase the organization’s profitability.

“We’re very sold on the behavioral-based interviewing system and just purchased Kenexa’s Insight Coworker Interview Solution,” added Trenary. “We have improved our management retention by over 30 percent and our goal with the Coworker Interview is to improve our coworker retention to 50 percent.”

“These decisions are not only cultural, but they’re also dollars and cents,” said Trenary. “The Kenexa solution is obviously helping us sort for the best talents which helps increase our own profitability through retention and stability in the restaurants. A lot comes down to financials and we’ll make more money by hiring great coworkers that fit our culture and Kenexa enables us to do that.”

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