Twice a year, the Gateway Initiative and the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association hold a hospitality business Owner / Operator meeting for Baldwin County. The purpose of these meetings is to bring resources to restaurants, lodging, and attraction owners and managers that will assist them in employee recruitment/retention, and also to provide an environment where operators can share innovative ideas to increase the level of service to customers.
“We know how busy our hospitality owners and operators are so we limit our meetings to off-peak-season dates to facilitate good attendance," said Tyler Morgan of the Initiative. "Our goal is to provide innovative resources that can be put into play during the planning cycle for business."
Last week the second meeting of the year was held, including a packed agenda with presenters whose companies offered solutions for business owners and operators. Senator Chris Elliott kicked off the meeting with a legislative update, and the group was very appreciative of the successes he brought to the industry this past session. A summary of presentations can be found here:
The regional office of Vocational Rehabilitation was on hand to explain opportunities for business owners who hire individuals with disabilities. The group learned that there are many tax and wage reimbursement incentives available to businesses and also learned the benefits of hiring the disabled relative to statistically longer retention rates.
The ARC and The Cindy Haber Center discussed their organization's role in helping the 30% of adults they service with disabilities find jobs and help train them on the job until they are comfortable.
Enterprise Commute offered a unique transportation solution for employers with their van pooling system. Gateway has been referring Enterprise to businesses for nearly two years but in this meeting we learned that riders can now be under the age of 18 and that the system can be used to bring employees from Florida to our South Baldwin businesses.
Croux presented information on their modern solution for temporary staffing. Croux currently has more than 7,500 hundred workers (mostly in Birmingham) with an 80% fill rate. The platform gives flexibility to employees to work when they want and where they want and employees get paid within 30 minutes of their shift end. The system also offers a platform where employees and employers are rated to provide recognition for a job well done. Croux attended this meeting to begin promoting their platform to South Baldwin businesses.
A representative from Flawless Delivery made participants aware of their customer service certification training program for the hospitality industry frontline personnel in the lodging industry. This course is offered free-of-charge by a grant awarded by the Alabama Tourism Department.
Overwatch Technologies gave an overview of the data risk that hospitality companies incur on a regular basis and offered solutions for safeguarding guest data. He also showed a short video story about and employee he hired on the autism spectrum who has made forward leaps within the company.
Ed Bushaw gave an update on the Workforce Development Campus and reported that the Workforce Authority has hired Community Development Group to provide pre-development services for the project.
If you are interested in more information on the topics presented at the October meeting please reach out to a member of the Gateway team. We will be happy to share the presentations and make personal connections to them.
The next meeting for Owner / Operators will be February 19th at 3:30 PM at Magnolia Hall in Cosmos Courtyard in Orange Beach. Save the date!