LPM Restaurant & Bar recently implemented a four-day work week for its UAE operations that led to a “dramatic” change in the restaurant’s service culture, said its Middle East Director of Operations Alexandra Audon during an exclusive interview with RetailME.
A predicted rise in flexible working could contribute $10.04 trillion to the global economy by 2030, indicated a socio-economic study of changing workplace practices.
The four-day work week arrangement goes beyond just having one more day off in a week. It actually leads to higher employee engagement and better productivity at individual and business levels, believes Andrew Barnes, the mastermind behind the Four-Day Week initiative and founder of New Zealand based Perpetual Guardian. In fact, the four-day work week trial undertaken by Perpetual Guardian showed a 40% increase in employee engagement.
Against this backdrop as four-day work week is being deliberated and implemented in many countries and organisations across the world to prioritise employee wellness, several UAE-based businesses have started piloting and implementing this new working structure.
One such entity is LPM Restaurant & Bar that recently implemented a four-day work week for its UAE operations team following trials at its Abu Dhabi restaurant that ran from August to October 2022. During the trial period factors such as working hours, wage versus revenue (efficiency), staff happiness, guest satisfaction, task organisation and efficiency were carefully investigated. Finally, from a poll that was shared with the staff, 100% positively reacted to the change.
What was the main motivation behind taking the decision to transition to a four-day work week?
The hospitality industry has changed, and we wanted to embrace this change by making the first move. The main motivation behind the project is the well-being of our employees, putting their work life balance at the forefront to keep everyone focused, motivated and well-rested. Our team members are now able to organise their shifts to have three days off at different times of the week, and this way they can create a schedule that best suits their needs.
What kind of changes did you notice during the trial period?
The four-day work week was officially introduced after LPM Restaurant & Bar Abu Dhabi conducted a trial to measure the impact it would have on our 67 employees. After adjusting to the new change, the team began to react positively to the flexibility they were given. Furthermore, the service culture changed dramatically for the better, our customer engagement improved due to staff having extra time to relax, which led to more meaningful interactions with our guests. The trial period was a huge success.
Could you tell us about some challenges associated with a transition of this kind, and how can it be planned well – now that you’ve done it?
The main challenge for us was reviewing our internal organisation while also changing team members’ longstanding habits. It is always a challenge to ensure everyone’s happiness, despite having this in mind for any initiative we have. However, the four-day work week structure has received the support and acceptance of all staff members.
What are some aspects that organisations must evaluate before embarking on a pilot and full-time four-day work week?
Will this help my employees’ happiness at work? Will it improve guest experience, while not increasing the labour cost? Or will an increase of cost but improvement of staff and guest happiness increase revenue and profitability? These are some key questions that organisations must deliberate on before undertaking a change of this scale. In our case we did a thorough job in task reorganisation to create a new schedule while not affecting our trading hours and guest experience.
Globally, the hospitality industry is seeing a lack of interest from Millennials and Generation Z due to factors such as long hours while the pay (at the entry level) isn’t a lot. Are you trying to do things differently in this regard?
As far as LPM is concerned, in the Middle East especially, we believe we provide extremely good wages and benefits topped up by excellent tips from our guests and performance bonuses. Of course, you can’t compare our industry to another that does completely different work. In our case, a waiter can make up to $2,500 net per month along with accommodation, annual air tickets to go back home and a yearly bonus.
Going forward, besides the four-day work week structure, what are some other initiatives that you will undertake to ensure long-term employee wellbeing as well as attract younger people to join the industry?
We are always looking at providing a better work environment for the team. What’s key at the moment is short-term career path for every junior employee. With the internet, increase of high-end restaurant businesses in the region and ease of employment bans employees have a lot more choice and they know it. If we want to avoid somebody jumping the ship, we have to offer a clear plan for them, where we balance expectations from both sides to make it fair. We do that for all our team members. We also have regular reviews and sit downs (monthly and yearly appraisals) where team members are given feedback and get the opportunity to express themselves. Finally, there are regular incentive competitions organised for them to either get a gift or some monetary benefits. We have seen that this has helped in improving sales while positively impacting employee morale and guest experience.
The key to a successful omnichannel future
A frictionless omnichannel experience which is predictive, value-focused, and highly personalised isFebruary 16, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Scandinavian brand J Lindeberg capitalises on the rise of athleisure to expand in the UAE
J Lindeberg was started by Johan Lindeberg in 1990s with the aimSeptember 2, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Three friends started this ‘made in UAE’ eco-friendly brand to reduce carbon footprint
I joined Landmark Group with no prior experience in retail: Renuka Jagtiani
Like a recipe the secret sauce for success isn’t just a list of ingredients: Sumo Sushi & Bento CEO
On the cover: Apparel Group Founder & Chairwoman on innovation, inclusion, integrity
This Dubai-based start-up broke even within seven months of starting the business
Géant, part of GMG, recently opened two new stores. The brand has
UAE-based diversified family business GMG has launched four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in
The growth opportunity for food and grocery retailers during the Holy Month
From value, variety and convenience to philanthropy GMG retail stores, including 16
MAGGI from the house of the Nestlé is all set to launch
What does 2023 look like for consumers in Saudi Arabia? A Nielsen
Dubai-based food & grocery retailer Union Coop has launched its discount campaign
Around eight years ago in 2015 a brand called Fruitful Day was
Technology has the potential to transform everyday life in Africa for the
Looking at the regional food retail landscape, one can’t ignore the fundamental
In the early 1970s when large-scale oil exploration activities started, the UAE
Waitrose & Partners UAE has renovated its 45,770 sqft Dubai Mall store
With Southeast Asia and Europe being its key focus areas of expansion
Restaurateur and founder of Bulldozer Group Alexander Orlov has opened a new
Ahead of the Holy Month of Ramadan Jumeirah Mina A’Salam’s Parisian-inspired pastry
Restauranteur Natasha Sideris’ licensed concepts Avli by tashas and Galaxy Bar will
In collaboration with Lavoya Restaurant Group, Danish healthy juice bar and coffee
American ice-cream brand Häagen-Dazs has launched ‘The Rose Project’ a global initiative
Cloud kitchen platform Kitopi has acquired F&B group AWJ Investments – the
Dubai-based steakhouse Carna by Dario Cecchini reaffirms its commitment to sustainability and
Dubai headquartered artisan café, bakery, patisserie, gourmet grocer, deli and cheese monger
In an official statement quick service restaurant (QSR) brand Subway with presence
In a unique move food brands, restaurants and chefs have come together
Alshaya Group, Starbucks Corporation, The Starbucks Foundation join hands to support earthquake victims in Turkey
Middle East based retailer Alshaya Group, Starbucks Corporation and The Starbucks Foundation