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Employee Retention of Jack in the Box

Employee Retention of Jack in the Box

Discuss Employee Retention of Jack in the Box within the Human Resources Management (H.R) forums, part of the PUBLISH / UPLOAD PROJECT OR DOWNLOAD REFERENCE PROJECT category; Jack in the Box (NASDAQ: JACK) is an American fast-food restaurant founded by Robert O. Peterson in 1951 in San ...

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Pratik Kukreja
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Employee Retention of Jack in the Box - April 12th, 2011

Jack in the Box (NASDAQ: JACK) is an American fast-food restaurant founded by Robert O. Peterson in 1951 in San Diego, California, where it is still headquartered today. In total, the chain has 2,200 locations, primarily serving the West Coast of the United States. California is the state with the greatest number of outlets (927), followed by Texas (611), Arizona (177), Washington (143), Nevada (77), and the bi-state St. Louis metropolitan area (72, between Missouri and Illinois). Since 2000, the company has also opened outlets in North Carolina and other Southern states.[2] The company also operates the Qdoba Mexican Grill chain.

The Contrib Club has helped Jack in the Box employees for more than 30 years by offering emergency relief funds to employees who are victims of natural or personal disasters. The Contrib Club is funded by employee contributions to The Foundation.

The Jack in the Box Foundation has partnered with Junior Achievement (JA) for many years to help young people in San Diego understand the economics of life through hands-on learning experiences. Twice a year, Jack in the Box employees volunteer as teachers for a half-day at local elementary schools, where they educate students about the basic concepts of business, economics and how education is relevant to the workplace.

The Foundation also supports JA BizTown, a vibrant village in San Diego that JA uses to teach fifth-grade students about free enterprise and commerce. Thanks to a donation from The Foundation, Jack in the Box is one of 20 businesses that "lease" space in the 10,000 square-foot town, which is designed to resemble a small-scale San Diego. After completing 30 hours of classroom preparation, students apply for jobs and work at the different businesses. The BizTown Jack, which has its own CEO and CFO, serves up popcorn, sodas and antenna balls to hungry guests.

Retaining employees is an ongoing challenge for new franchisees -- and a key ingredient in building a successful business. After training employees to do their jobs well, the franchisee's goal is to retain them as productive, reliable workers. It costs much more to hire and train replacements than it does to work with current employees to improve their job performance.
So how does a new franchisee learn how to retain employees? Initial training from the franchisor should cover this, but for most franchisees, the focus in the early going is more on learning the system, marketing, finding a site, and how to open -- which involves hiring employees, not retaining them. Learning how to retain employees is a learnable skill, but is often neglected as new operators learn how to run their fledgling business.
Another good way is to learn from franchisees who have been doing it for years. Each issue of our Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine features in-depth profiles of successful franchisees from all types of industries. One of the questions we always ask is, "How do you train and retain employees?" Another is "How do you recognize/reward top-performing employees?" Below is a sampling of their replies to these questions from recent issues. Visit our archived issues online to learn more about these remarkable franchisees, many of whom started out as teenagers working for the brands they now own and operate.

Drive up to Jack in the Box Inc.’s restaurant in the eclectic Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, and you find something startlingly different. First, the building doesn’t say Jack in the Box but rather JBX Grill--a hip moniker that’s derived from the company’s stock symbol. It’s one of two JBXs being tested in San Diego.

Missing from the JBX are Jack in the Box’s usual fluorescent lights, vinyl booths and tile floor. In their place are pendant lamps, upholstered banquettes and wood floors. The walls are painted in shades of pumpkin and avocado. Armchairs face a gas fireplace. It feels more like a Starbucks than a fast-food burger joint.

And that’s the point. It’s not just diners who need to imagine what Jack in the Box could become someday. Employees do too. And the idea is to keep them around to carry out that business vision.

"Employees are hugely important," says Carl Winston, director of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program at San Diego State University. "If you don’t have your employees understanding the big picture, you just can’t execute it. Like a lot of retail businesses, retention is a huge issue for quick-serve restaurants."

A changing market
The company needed to differentiate its restaurants and bolster its bottom line in an industry that is locked in a price war of 99-cent menu items and is losing customers to "fast casual" competitors--like Panera Bread--that offer fast-food convenience but higher-quality food. Net earnings had reached a five-year low in fiscal 2003, down 26 percent from 2000. But in 2003 the San Diego-based company announced its plan to reinvent its brand.

"We knew it would take more than a fresh coat of paint or a new burger to meet the increased expectations of fast-food customers, let alone create an entirely different dining experience that would appeal to a broader audience of consumers," Jack in the Box president and COO Linda Lang told analysts in September. "So we embarked on a holistic approach aimed at creating a superior dining experience at Jack in the Box, focusing on significant upgrades to our menu, guest service and restaurant facilities."

The company’s performance this year provides signs that the strategy is working. Jack in the Box reported that net earnings for its 53-week fiscal 2004 increased to $78.5 million from $73.6 million in fiscal 2003. Same-store sales increased 4.1 percent, compared with a 0.9 percent increase in 2003.

Jack in the Box executives see ample room for growth. The company’s namesake restaurants are in only 17 states, and executives hope that the new strategy will help the company gain a national presence. Market-share data compiled by consulting firm Technomic Inc. show that Jack in the Box had 4.7 percent of the fast-food hamburger segment last year, up from 4.4 percent in 2000. Market leader McDonald’s Corp. increased its market share to 43.6 percent in 2003 from 43.1 percent in 2000. Burger King’s market share fell to 15.6 percent in 2003 from 18.8 percent in 2000.

Corporate and Regional Employee benefits
Medical/Dental/Vision
Pension Plan
401(k) Savings Plan
Tuition Reimbursement
Paid Time Off:
Vacation
Floating Holidays
Sick Leave
Company Holidays
Life Insurance
Optional Disability Coverage
Long-term Care
Optional Accident Insurance
Employee Assistance Program
Health Advocate Program
Volunteer/Community Giving Incentives
Flexible Spending Accounts
Employee Stock Purchase Plan
Service Awards
Meal Discount for employee & family

Restaurant Managers, Management Trainees and Area Coaches:
Medical/Dental/Vision
Pension Plan
401(k) Savings Plan
Tuition Reimbursement
Optional Life Insurance
Optional Disability Coverage
Long-term Care
Optional Accident Insurance
Paid Time Off:
Vacation
Floating Holidays
Sick Leave
Company Holidays
Employee Assistance Program
Health Advocate Program
Volunteer/Community Giving Incentives
Flexible Spending Accounts
Service Awards
Meal Discount
Employee Stock Purchase Plan
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