This blog is part of a series to highlight the restaurant companies nominated for the Best Practices Awards, presented by Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K). Winners will be announced at the 2017 Global Best Practices Conference on Tuesday, January 31st.

Each January, Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) honors several top-performing restaurant companies with the Best Practices Awards at the annual Global Best Practices Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Best Practices Awards are given to companies who demonstrate excellence in workforce diversity and engagement, community involvement and sustainable practices. Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) and place in the top 10 percent of their dining segment in these categories (see the full list of 2017 nominees here). The winners will be announced at the event in January.

This year, we are pleased to recognize Boston Market, a fast casual restaurant chain, as a nominee for this award. This company’s remarkable devotion to service and employee engagement have long distinguished it as an exceptional workplace

Give Kids the World

Boston Market displays admirable dedication to service in numerous ways. Perhaps their biggest commitment is their involvement with Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization that fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses by providing week-long, cost-free vacations to the children and their families. Boston Market has partnered with this organization for over eight years.

One way employees contribute is by staffing Katie’s Kitchen, an on-site restaurant in the Give Kids the World Village. “Everyday at Katie’s Kitchen, we provide delicious and nutritious lunches and dinners, cost-free, for families while they are staying at the Village,” explained Jason Lessman, VP of Human Resources as Boston Market.

“Since joining the Give Kids the World Village family in 2008, Boston Market has demonstrated a delicious dedication and commitment to the Village,” says the Give Kids the World website. In addition to operating Katie’s Kitchen, the company has also donated over $4.5 million to the organization in the duration of their partnership. This has been made possible by including Boston Market guests in the donation opportunities. Guests can purchase coupon books, for which 85% of the proceeds benefit the Village.

Employee Well-Being & Appreciation

Boston Market shines within its own four walls as well. Employee engagement is an obvious priority, as evident by the number of initiatives to support the physical, mental and financial well-being of all team members.

One such initiative is access to a year-round wellness program that provides challenges and offers grants for employees to participate in team building activities. The purpose of this program is to promote healthy lifestyle choices through fun, engaging and educational activities. Additionally, Support Center employees have access to a retirement program that helps them responsibly prepare for their futures with realistic financial and retirement plans.

When it comes to showing appreciation for employees, Boston Market also has a particularly unique tradition. Each year, the company hosts the Boston Market Games, a series of competitions designed to identify the best hourly employees at various positions including trainers, cooks and servers/cashiers. Around 10 finalists across the nation are selected to compete in their respective categories at the corporate headquarters in Denver, Colorado, where they can showcase their abilities. These finalists are rewarded with various forms of recognition ranging from pep rallies to cash prizes and a celebratory dinner with the leadership team.

Does this level of employee engagement and community service affect the company’s success?

“We absolutely believe that our practices impact employee retention and, in turn, guest counts and profitability. To have a successful company, we understand that our employees are as important as our guests,” explained Lessman. “Although our restaurants are nationwide, the practices we have in place and the culture of those we employ displays a neighborhood feel to each individual restaurants and help encourage guests to come back time and time again.”

More Best Practices to Come!

Stay tuned as we continue to highlight our Best Practices award nominees in the weeks leading up to Global Best Practices Conference.

More importantly, it’s time to save your seat! Registration is open to all restaurant operators here. If your company is a member of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report), Financial Intelligence (formerly Black Box Intelligence) or Guest Intelligence (formerly Guest Intelligence (formerly White Box Social Intelligence))™, use access code BPCMember17 during registration for your special membership discount. For more information, please email Grace Kaucic at