Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2021

Florida voted last year to approve a new $15 minimum wage, and although the increase will be incrementally implemented, one popular chain restaurant is adopting higher wages and benefits early as a way to address their labor shortage. According to ​​Caribbean-food chain Pollo Tropical, boosting pay, improving benefits, and giving hiring bonuses to new staff helped the chain’s 169 locations overcome hiring shortages that other restaurants are facing around the country.

Richard Stockinger, CEO at the chain’s parent company, Fiesta Restaurant Group, told Business Insider that the additional measures have helped the restaurant stay staffed as many others in the area struggle to fill shifts. While other restaurants have increased menu prices to increase wages and attract workers, Pollo Tropical is confident that better staffing will lead to more patronage, naturally making up the extra expenditures. According to the company, wages made up 28 percent of the company’s expenditures during the third quarter, compared to 23.3 percent in the same quarter last year.

In addition to higher wages, the chain is also offering childcare leave, company-paid educational programs, and more affordable medical plans. The plan seems to be paying off. The chain reported a 4.3 percent increase in sales across restaurants that had adequate staffing—meaning at least 80 percent of optimal staff numbers.

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