We are excited to share some stories of resilience during Covid-19 from our FBC Family Business Members. Over the next few weeks, you will learn about businesses in various industries nimbly facing challenges through innovation and compassion. First up is a family that has been serving the Sacramento area for over 80 years – The Fat Family Restaurant Group.

All Fat Family restaurants, as expected, switched to a to-go only model the day of the mandated closures. The to-go team stepped up and successfully responded to the increased demand for takeout orders. A more challenging situation was paving a path for a return to in-door dining.  Once restaurant reopening guidelines were released, the executive team quickly got to work. They assembled a protocol binder for each employee which contained the duties of each role in the restaurant, how to handle proper disinfecting measures, opening dates and hours, new seating arrangements, and other steps towards reopening.

Kevin Fat, CEO of Fat Family Restaurant Group pictured here at a past FBC Family Forum Event. Kevin served on the FBC Board of Directors and was the Membership Committee chair for several years.

CEO of the Fat Family Restaurant Group Kevin Fat and the rest of the executive team presented this information at a pre-opening meeting to help ensure all staff, leads, and managers were thoroughly educated on how to move forward with in-door operations.

Another struggle they faced was getting many employees back to work. Yes, the restaurants were permitted to operate, but the California Department of Public Health requirements only allowed 50 percent occupancy or less, making compensation for their employees difficult. (Fewer people = fewer hours and tips.)

With the Cares Act providing $600 Pandemic Additional Compensation to unemployment benefits, many employees were, in fact, making more money on unemployment than if they returned to work.  Compounding the issue, some were hesitant to return for risk of exposure. Fat’s responded to this issue by increasing communication, respecting each employee’s decision to work or not, showing gratitude when due, and offering an incentive for those who did return to work. This bonus program was a way for the company to demonstrate its appreciation to hardworking employees for working during a pandemic.

Additionally, Fat’s is doing its best to maintain morale with their employees by increasing communication between the executive team, management staff, and employees and making more visits to each restaurant to build a personal connection with employees. “Weekly Zoom meetings between the executive team and management staff are very important,” said CEO Kevin Fat.

“We want to maintain an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable and supported,” Fat continued. “When our team is successful, we’re successful. Everyone has a part in the restaurant.”

Learn more about Fat’s Family Restaurant Group

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