How to Empower Employees and Build a Great Brand

In the following video, we hear from Fedele Bauccio, founder and CEO of Bon Appetit Management. His company has built its reputation on locally sourced, seasonal, healthy foods and is actively involved in sustainability issues affecting every aspect of the food industry.

Finding the right staff is critical; Bauccio explains that Bon Appetit is fortunate to attract candidates who truly believe in and are committed to the company's mission and goals.

A transcript follows the video.

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Isaac Pino: It must be very important ... your approach, which was probably pretty radical in the industry, to allow chefs to come up with their own menus, to come up with their own varieties of food, and therefore the supply chain has to be influenced in that way.

I think that what would be important around that is hiring the right people to be the chefs, to be the managers, to be the employees of your company. How do you go about that? Is that very critical to your success?

Fedele Bauccio: Because our brand is so strong -- and by the way, we've never had a salesperson in the company, once -- we're a little over $800 million today, with some 12,000 employees, or maybe a little more than 12,000. We're very labor intensive.

Our brand has been so strong that we decide where we want to go. I'm really lucky. I have a group of really terrific people that, what I'm telling you is part of the DNA. They really get it. They really care about this food revolution, and they care about the community and the local farmers, and supporting them.

Because that brand is so strong, we seem to attract lots of resumes. We don't really have to advertise for people and, in our world, whether we're on a university campus feeding young people who are going to be our customers tomorrow at Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) or Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO  ) or here, it's fairly easy to attract chefs that have worked on the restaurant side, and they have a set menu and they can do a special one or two nights a week.

With us, we give them a blank piece of paper and say, "Go work with farmers and ranchers in your community. Customize something that you think, and every week do something uniquely different."

That's terrific for a chef to be able to do that: And, by the way, if you work in corporate America you've got Saturday and Sunday off, so you're not having to work on Christmas Day and Mother's Day and everything else, and at night.

That's not true on college campuses, but there's lots of breaks on the college campuses, so we're able to attract lots of wonderful chefs into the business, and we're able to attract lots of managers that want to be part of this revolution that we've started in the industry, and really care about these initiatives.

We've been lucky. We don't have to really go out and advertise for people. We have more resumes than we can fill.


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