Company cafeterias: Yum! Brands lives (and eats) fast food
With more than 34,000 restaurants under its belt, you'd think that Yum! Brands would have the cafeteria thing down. But it was only two years ago that the Louisville, Ky., company put its mouth where its money is. After nine years, Yum!which runs KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's, and A&W restaurantsfinally unveiled a corporate eatery that looks like the restaurants it runs for its 1,800 local staffers.
"It helps employees realize they work at a restaurant company," says Rusty Hagemann, senior director of corporate services. "It's pride in the fact they work for Yum! Brands." The company used its own restaurant design team to remodel the dining area, giving it windows that look out on to a lake and seating, such as high-top tables, from its newest restaurants. Modern art separates booths, flat-screen televisions dot the room, and a jukebox stands against one wall. The private dining room where employees hold business meetings or informal gatherings looks like a jazzed-up Pizza Hut.
While Yum! used to serve food from a few of its restaurants, with the renovation it also began serving meals from Long John Silver and A&W foods. Ordering counters mimic what customers might see in fast-food settings like college campuses or malls. There's even space behind the counters to train desk employees to make tacos or personal pan pizzas so they can understand the jobs of workers in the field.
In fact, Hagemann says Yum! doesn't call its Louisville facility a headquarters but a restaurant support center. The goal in the cafeteria was to make sure employees experienced what its customers did in its restaurants. That has created at least one downside: Employees have to pay the same as customers for their meals. "We think we have a solid value proposition for our food," says Hagemann.