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Each January, Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) honors several top-performing restaurant companies with the Best Practices Awards at the annual Global Best Practices Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Best Practices Awards are given to companies that demonstrate excellence in workforce diversity and engagement, community involvement, and sustainable practices. Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) and placed in the top 10 percent of their dining segment in these categories. The winners will be announced at the event on January 31st.

This year, we are pleased to recognize The Cheesecake Factory, an upscale casual restaurant chain, as a nominee for this award. This company defines its purpose with the following statement: “We nurture bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits.” Community involvement, sustainable practices, and employee engagement are just a few examples of their commitment to this purpose.

Fighting Hunger Across the Nation

The Cheesecake Factory gives back to the community regularly through numerous events. Their most notable events are the Peanut Butter Drive during Hunger Action Month, Thanksgiving Day feasts, and the Give Back team sponsorship program.

Hunger Action Month is an event produced by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief charity, and occurs annually during the month of September. The Cheesecake Factory team members actively involve themselves throughout the month to raise awareness and funds. Passion plays a huge role during this month, as staff across the organization host rummage sales, and haunted houses during Halloween, and produce awareness videos using their own resources. Dina Barmasse, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at The Cheesecake Factory, explained, “All the videos share a common thread: each one conveys our staff and managers’ sincere desire to make a difference in the lives of people in need.

Additionally, over 3,000 employees volunteer to prepare and serve dinner to low-income individuals each year on Thanksgiving Day. These feasts take place in 13 cities across the nation and annually benefit over 6,000 people in need.

Finally, The Cheesecake Factory fosters a unique concept called the Give Back team sponsorship program. This program supports teams of staff members who want to give back to their communities through fundraising and service events. The company makes financial donations to the organizations that their teams have chosen, and a larger number of volunteers results in a larger donation.

Ecological Impact

Giving back to the community also means caring for the environment. The Cheesecake Factory has taken a number of steps to reduce its ecological footprint. Barmasse commented, “For us, the term ‘sustainability’ informs how we operate in relation to the environment as well as our relationship with the food we serve, the people we employ, and the communities that we are a part of.” In 2015, the company adopted a number of goals to be accomplished by 2020. These goals include:

  • Reducing energy consumption by 15 percent
  • Reducing water consumption by 15 percent
  • Increasing solid waste diversion to 50 percent
  • Implementing at least one staff environmental program annually
  • Enacting a sustainable purchasing policy
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent

Employees Come First

The Cheesecake Factory also recognizes the importance of fostering a great work environment and a great team. The organization emphasizes employee engagement on a wide spectrum, including health, work satisfaction, and fiscal responsibility. This is accomplished through the Life Ingredients program. “Life Ingredients is designed to provide our staff and managers with resources to support their physical, emotional, and financial well-being, giving them more energy to share with their guests and their teams at work as well as with their family and friends at home.”

One of the top priorities of the Life Ingredients program is personal health. The company wants all employees to understand the resources available to them as well as how to use them, in order to ensure a truly healthy lifestyle both in and out of the workplace. Employees have a number of resources available, including wellness screenings, personal health profiles, and coaching calls designed to increase understanding and set achievable health goals. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program is available to staff to provide counseling services for physical and emotional challenges ranging from stress and depression to substance abuse and more.

“By these actions, we live our guiding commitment to ‘Do the Right Thing.’ We believe that by upholding this core commitment, we foster a sense of pride among our staff and managers...This sense of pride is a key element of our close-knit, family-like culture, which ultimately fosters a business environment in which we can excel at staff and manager retention, guest satisfaction, and profitability.”

Join Us Next Week!

Join us to celebrate all of our Best Practices Awards nominees at our 2017 event, kicking off next week!

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