Founded in: 2011
Tip: “You can’t be everywhere at once, so build a culture where people are naturally motivated.”
When London-based cafe restaurant Grind opened in 2011, the company set their sights on building a brand that people loved, rather than just another franchise. They wanted the coffee to be great, the attitude upbeat and for staff to enjoy working there. But as it expanded to new locations, Grind faced the challenge of keeping staff motivated and service consistent. The management team was small and they had relatively little central resource.
Grind started by considering every element of the hiring process, from finding candidates and recruitment to onboarding. The company put a huge amount of energy into assessing what the day-to-day realities of a job at Grind would look like. This included how much staff were paid, what they could wear, who their boss would be and what the surroundings were like.
Rather than casting a wide net, Grind focused on hiring through its Instagram account and website. It allowed them to find staff who already loved the brand and lived and breathed its values. “We find young staff and mould them,” founder David Abrahamovitch explained. “We try to get people with the right attitude, who have happy and fun personalities.”
The company also wanted to develop people in the business as much as possible. Nine out of Grind’s 10 general managers joined the company in a junior role and worked their way up. Knowing that there’s a career path ahead of them encourages Grind staff to become invested in working there.
For David, one of the most effective ways to motivate staff has been to simplify their jobs as much as possible. Grind has invested in having the best equipment – and most importantly, the same equipment – across their locations. It’s easier for staff to make coffee and cocktails. Plus, with uniform processes, it’s also easy for them to move between different sites.
Grind now has 11 locations and around 300 staff. The company plans to expand further, opening up a series of franchises in airports and investing further in their retail arm. David believes that keeping service consistent is still the biggest challenge they face, but that their investment in hiring processes has created a culture that can scale.
“It’s all in our DNA and approach. We find the right people and let them have fun. We’re trying to keep 300 people engaged and adding 50 more people every time we open a site, so you have to build the right culture.”