How Texas Roadhouse envisions purpose during COVID-19

The steakhouse chain had to adapt during the pandemic, and prioritized employees to avoid layoffs and launched an employee assistance fund.

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What does it look like to put employees first?

That’s what many organizations are asking in the wake of COVID-19 and research that shows overwhelmingly that consumers want to see businesses prioritize people over profits during this crisis.

Texas Roadhouse, the U.S. steakhouse chain, wanted to ensure that its employees were cared for and says that the evolution of its approach to the pandemic has offered lots of lessons it hopes to take into the post-pandemic era.

We spoke with Vice President of Communications Travis Doster who offered these insights from the restaurant group’s crisis response:

Doster: Our first thought was our people. Our founder [Wayne Kent Taylor] says we are a people company that just happens to serve great steaks. It was with that mind-set our founder donated his salary and bonus to our employees. Other efforts included no layoffs and offering COVID-19 Relief Pay in March to front-line employees. We also paid the insurance premiums for our employees and later rolled out another stimulus payment in April. These efforts are in addition to our employee assistance fund–Andy’s Outreach–which today has helped over 900 employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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