Visit any Wendy’s Restaurant in Prince Edward Island and you’ll find a diverse and inclusive workforce that has been part of the corporate culture for many years.
“We’ve always been willing to hire anyone who wants to work. There are employees with some form of disability in every one of our restaurants,” says Mike Stargratt, Regional Manager at Wendy’s Restaurants of PEI/DP Murphy Inc. “We believe in giving everyone an opportunity.”
Callie is one of the company’s most recent hires. As a customer service ambassador, she greets customers, does patron surveys, cleans trays and helps customers with their drink and food orders.
According to a 2010 Deloitte study, employees with disabilities are typically associated with strong performance, good attendance and higher-than-usual job retention.
“From a business perspective I don’t think I have a better employee. She is passionate about what she does and never calls in sick. I wish we had a Callie in every store,” says Stargratt.
According to the National Restaurant Association, the employee turnover rate can be as high as 75% in the quick service restaurant industry. On an annual basis, this can have a significant impact in terms of the cost of employee training and resources. For Stargratt, this is a key benefit to hiring individuals with an intellectual disability.
“We have a zero percent turnover rate with our employees with disabilities. We have one individual who has been with us for 30 years and has never missed a shift,” says Stargratt.
Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) is a national initiative designed to increase the labour force participation of people with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Active in 20 communities across the country, RWA connects and supports employers, persons with intellectual disabilities or ASD and local, provincial and national community agencies.
From assistance with the hiring process to support with on site training, RWA helps businesses along every step of the way.
“Overall, it’s no different than hiring any other employee. You have to put the right person with the right job and RWA provides the help and guidance that you need,” says Stargratt.