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Each year, Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) (Transforming Data into Knowledge) hosts the Global Best Practices Conference, an event designed to bring together the best and brightest restaurant leaders to share insights as well as honor those in the industry who have truly gone above and beyond in creating superior workplaces. These workplaces are honored with the annual Best Practices awards for outstanding performance in categories such as workforce diversity, community involvement and sustainable practices. Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) and place in the top 10% of their segment in these categories.

This year’s list of finalists includes Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, a family dining restaurant with a clear commitment to service. Here are some highlights of what we learned about their mission of giving back:

Q: Does your company have a specific policy or practice in the area of community involvement? If so, would you like to share any examples of how your company gives back to the community, including how employees at all levels might be involved?

A: At Perkins & Marie Callender’s we have been extremely successful in creating a vibrant culture of giving centered around the non-profit organization Give Kids the World. Our restaurants, team members, franchisee and business partners have been ardent supporters of the organization for the past 26 years. Give Kids The World® is a 70-acre, nonprofit “storybook” Village where children with life-threatening diseases and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations complete with accommodations in the Village’s whimsical villas, transportation, donated attraction tickets, meals and much more.

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In 1990 Perkins Restaurant and Bakery opened the one-of-a-kind Gingerbread House Restaurant at Give Kids The World Village where, through the boundless generosity of Perkins staff, franchisees and guests, over 5,000,000 meals have been served to date to 140,000 wish families from all 50 states and more than 75 countries. Give Kids The World continues to be a constant source of inspiration for all of our team members, franchisees and business partners whose fundraising efforts contribute to the successful operation of this amazing facility.

Q: How do you engage the community in your involvement with Give Kids the World?

A: A key fundraising event we hold each year is our Perkins Free Pancake Day. Typically held in September, guests young and old are invited to enjoy a free short stack of Perkins famous, made- from-scratch buttermilk pancakes at any participating Perkins Restaurant & Bakery. All the company asks is that guests consider “paying it forward” with a donation to Give Kids The World. Perkins Free Pancake Day is one of those fundraising events that the entire community looks forward to and rallies around each year. The day creates a positive environment for wait staff and guests alike!

Q: What key traits do you look for when hiring Perkins employees in order to continue this culture of generosity?

A: While there are many factors considered during the hiring process, it is all the better and more exciting if candidates share our passion for and commitment to “giving back.” Clearly, this trait would translate extremely well into the culture we have created at Perkins and the decades long support that we show for Give Kids the World.

Q: Do you believe that any of the practices listed above impact your retention, guest counts or profitability?

A: When we ask people why they join and/or why they stay…more often than not, it has to do with a sense of belonging and opportunity to be their best. Our philanthropic involvement with Give Kids The World, whether in the form of financial support, team members volunteering or initiating fundraising efforts, improves morale, enhances recruitment, elevates brand imagery and most importantly, has a profound impact on furthering the greater good. It is a rally cry, one that we all are intimately involved with and feel passionate about supporting.

Best Practice Award Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) and place in the top 10% of their segment in management retention, hourly employee retention, composite workforce diversity, year over year improvement in people metrics overall and community involvement. For more information on these awards, please contact sarah.atkinson-higgins@tdn2k.com.