Which restaurant chains are real employers of choice?


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Consumer perception of a restaurant chain can make or break the brand. With such a shortage of manpower, the same can be said about the vision that future hires have of a potential workplace.

How does the industry workforce rate your brand as an employer? The answers were provided this week by William Blair’s annual list of the best places to work in the chain part of business.

William Blair provides all kinds of financial and research services to equity investors. Since 2015, the company has been applying its analytics capabilities to what restaurant workers post about their employers on Glassdoor, the popular job search site.

The data is grouped into a ranking of restaurant chains based on how likely their employees are to recommend their workplace to a friend looking for a job.

Rather than just listing favorite catering employers, we decided to commemorate the start of the school year with a quiz on top workplaces. See how well you know where industry workers are most satisfied.

Which restaurant chain is the most appreciated (if not loved) by its employees?

A. Chipotle Mexican Grill


C. Shake Shack

D. Entry-Exit

The correct answer 😀

The regional burger chain has topped Blair’s list of Best Employers for eight consecutive years, a celebration the research firm attributes to combining a winning culture and attractive values ​​with the core strengths of abundance of good managers, opportunities for growth and flexible working hours. According to the study, 87% of In-N-Out employees would recommend the company to a friend.

The other three sources generated what William Blair described as mixed results. For example, employee ratings on the quality of Starbucks’ senior management (and the CEO in particular) fell from a year ago, although the coffee giant remained #1 in diversity ratings. Blair and #2 in benefits.

Chipotle was instead in a broad-based decline, according to the study, with what William Blair described as “surprisingly low” ratings of senior management employees, CEO Brian Niccol and workforce business prospects.

Which of these chains hasn’t seen a significant increase in employee ratings?

A. Black Rifle Coffee

B. Dutch Bros


D. Portillo’s

Correct answer: C

“After peaking in 2019, Sweetgreen has seen a broad downward trend in most areas except career opportunities,” William Blair’s report notes.

Other noteworthy declines were generated for Shake Shack, BJ’s Restaurants and Kira Sushi.

Which of these chains had the most noticeable improvements in their employee ratings?

A. Dave & Buster’s

B. Black Rifle Coffee

C. Outback Steakhouse

D. Portillo’s

Correct answer: D (but with partial credit for A)

“Portillo’s jumped 47 positions to number 40” in the propensity of employees to recommend the chain as a place to work, “the largest gain of any company in our coverage,” noted William Blair.

But he also observed that Dave & Buster’s “had the most significant improvement in our coverage in the positive business outlook, alongside steady improving trends across most areas.”

The report noted that Black Rifle Coffee was no slouch either, with 76% of employees saying they would recommend the company as an employer.

Which of the six employer attributes assessed by the study was least likely to earn a company an employee recommendation as a good place to work?

A. Culture/values

B. Career opportunities

C. Work/life balance

D. Salary scale

E. Competence of senior management

F. Diversity/inclusion

Good answer 😀

Before the pandemic began, employers were learning that compensation had grown in importance to potential hires. But William Blair’s study found that the link between wages and workers’ likelihood to recommend their employer was relatively weak, signaling that soft attributes like culture and opportunity have gained in importance.

A full copy of William Blair’s study can be viewed here.

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