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Our CEO Has Emerged as a Thought Leader for Recruiting New Restaurant Talent. What’s His Strategy? 

Oyster Bar Franchise Executive Team

Shuckin’ Shack is a well-known oyster bar franchise brand that is positioned at the top of the food chain in our industry, so to speak. We have already carved our place out in the market as a casual spot with great food. We provide a laid-back, East Coast beach bar atmosphere with premium shellfish and seafood, not to mention ice-cold beers! 

We have gotten to where we are by understanding our role In the world –in both the environment and in the economy; the lives of those we touch. Because of this, we have from day one been committed to the best practices that ensure the longevity of our franchise.

We are already well-known for this when it comes to ocean sustainability, it’s a simple idea, really: Take care of the ocean, and the ocean will take care of you. 

As CEO Jonathan Weathington discussed last week during an appearance on Good Morning America and in a Wall St. Journal article, the concept applies to employees too.

Take Care of Your Employees and Your Employees Will Take Care of You


This idea, which sums up Shuckin’ Shack’s recruiting strategies, has been vital in positioning our oyster bar franchise brand as an industry leader in 2021, just as the restaurant industry faces its second reckoning in as many years.

Unexpected, Not Unpredictable.
Restaurants all over America are reopening. This industry surge is being propelled by a great shift in consumer behavior, as people simply want to eat out after social distancing for so long. 

This change is driving the industry to a record number of job postings as restaurants serve at capacity. This sounds like a great thing – the news we’ve all been waiting for, right?! But there’s a catch!

Restaurant workers have been reluctant to return to work.
It has been a hard go for many of them. With employment having been a revolving door for so many the past year, many opted for the stability of relief payments from the government. 

Now as things are opening up, many are feeling hesitant.

Let’s be honest, not every restaurant has always chosen to provide well for their employees. 

With traditionally lower wages and often stressful working conditions, trepidation from workers who face the prospect of going back to these places has been rampant. 

Bear in mind that this runs alongside rebuilding their relationship with situations that they have repeatedly been told are dangerous for the past year and a half.

So, who can blame them? Add these factors all up and it is understandably tough for them to just jump back in the water. While there are some who have moved on to other industries – maybe for good, the idea that nobody wants to work in a restaurant anymore just isn’t true.


Jonathan Shares Our Recruitment Strategies for Success

There are workers out there who would be happy to return to their roles within restaurants – but it takes some incentivizing for them to make the jump.

Weathington, who has emerged as a restaurant industry thought leader for his unique perspectives, recently shared his strategies with the Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America

Just as he has with his high-quality yet casual oyster bar franchise, Jonathan is shaking things up by applying some genuine, thoughtful common sense to the issue. Let’s take a closer look at some of his insights and successes.

Treating Employees Like Shuckin’ Rock Stars (Because they ARE!)

While the same cannot be said about every restaurant, Shuckin’ Shack has consistently provided its oyster bar franchise employees with a safe and fair environment. 

If you were to peruse our reviews on indeed.com, you would find that we are a fun place to work with decent pay and good people. Just the kind of environment that draws workers.

We certainly aren’t an uptight, corporate-minded organization. 

Our boisterous pubs are places to be proud of working. Jonathan is a CEO who leads by example: After he has finished a week of managing the business, he works as an expeditor, helping to cover the short staffing issues that we have been facing. In fact, over Memorial Day weekend, Jonathan, along with Shuckin’ Shack co-Founder Matt Piccinin, pitched in to help in the kitchen at our flagship oyster bar franchise location in Wilmington, NC over Memorial Day weekend. Expecting a huge crowd of seafood lovers clamoring to return to their favorite restaurant, yet faced with a limited staff, the executive team took matters into their own hands and helped out with a range of back-of-house duties, from grilling shrimp and flipping burgers to washing dishes!

Perhaps this hands-on approach contributes to the success of the franchise.

As the ideas behind how we do business evolve, it is becoming more and more clear that you cannot treat workers as a number. 

Gaining an understanding of your employee experience is just as fundamental to the success of your business as is understanding your customer experience. You see, the two actually lean on each other, and our hands-on CEO has managed to both grasp that fact and embody it in his restaurants.

Yet, with all of these crucial best practices in place, it hasn’t meant that we’ve been immune to the effects of restaurant worker hesitancy as things pick up.

According to Jonathan’s recent interview, out of 12 people contacted for an interview, only 2 showed up. With business now booming, this creates some challenges, but he hasn’t flinched. 

Seafood franchise anticipates best summer yet!

Adapting to challenges has been a running theme for many these past months, and he is running a clinic. As Jonathan puts it: 

“We’ve seen an incredible surge in business. We as an employer have to get more creative in order to attract and retain people.”

While some restaurants have made amusing headlines by offering things like appetizers with an interview, Shuckin’ Shack is taking incentives a little more seriously.

Shuckin’ Shack is now offering a $500 retention bonus after 60 days on the job at one of our oyster bar franchise locations, and giving the option to work four-day weeks while still maintaining full-time hours. On top of that, the restaurant is supplying not only a mid-shift meal but a second meal to take home, which can seriously help make a dent in employees’ grocery bills – their largest monthly expense next to rent or mortgage payments.

This isn’t about an exploitative company getting its act together. It is about a great company upping its game and raising the bar for the industry. By incentivizing the return to work in a meaningful way to his workers, Jonathan Weathington and the rest of the executive team has positioned Shuckin’ Shack to be a leading growth- franchise as the economy rebounds and competition becomes fierce again.

Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar Franchise

Those are some big claims for an oyster bar franchise or any establishment at this point, but they aren’t actually unrealistic if you examine the facts. There are some massive benefits to treating employees well, and with restaurants making headlines for failing to do so, it’s now sink or swim for many. Here’s why Shuckin’ Shack is poised to cruise past the competition by leading the way in this strategy, and how our Franchise Owners are well-positioned to benefit from partnering with an organization that puts its employees’ needs first.

1) You’re going to have better employees. Right at the top of the list and for good reason. If you gain a reputation for treating your people well, word spreads. This is exactly what you want and your establishment will attract more talented workers. 

This has a cyclical effect – when more talented workers are the dominant strain, so to speak, they create not only a wonderful place to work, but a wonderful place to eat and drink. This brings us to our next point.

2) Your customers will have better experiences. Remember when we said that your customer experience and your employee experience lean on each other? This is what we mean. Now that the place is filled with talented, dedicated and happy employees like Shuckin’ Shack is, guess what happens next? The energy is passed along to your customers. 

You don’t have to be all that astute to realize that when an employee is having a bad day, whether they intend to or not, they often pass that along to the customer. Happy employees mean happy customers, full stop.

3) You’re going to spend less time looking for people. Now that you have implemented meaningful and effective strategies to create a wonderful place to work for your employees, and customers are happily pouring in, you are going to find yourself with substantially less turnover. 

This doesn’t only mean less time spent finding and interviewing employees. It means less time spent training, and more focus on providing a fantastic experience to all parties involved.

4) Your workers are going to take less time off. Stressful work environments cause a lot of problems and one of those is how many days off people need. When you create a great environment for your people just as Mr. Weathington has at Shuckin’ Shack, you create a place they want to come to. 

A place where things are happening. It’s popping here, and there is money to be made. When your employees get FOMO from missing work rather than missing life, you have a far more solid workforce.

With all this in mind, it is easy to see how Jonathan Weathington has positioned his oyster bar franchise to be at the pinnacle of success. It didn’t’ take a consultant, he didn’t need to downsize, all he has done is reinvest in his people. It is simple, beautiful, kind and above all else (at least in the context of this article) – it is great for business.

We are now set to lead the way, and we want to share the success. We are more than just an oyster bar, we are a family that loves to work hard and have fun. If you are interested in franchising with a company that truly cares about its employees and values their hard work and contributions, just click here to visit our website for more information

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