CEO Randy Sharpe discusses how Xperience was able to avoid managerial layoffs during the pandemic and how they’ve been tackling higher wages for years

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the ways Chevy’s Fresh Mex parent company Xperience Restaurant Group demonstrated their priority of employees was by refusing to lay off any of their managers, Xperience Restaurant Group CEO Randy Sharpe said in this week’s episode of Extra Serving.

“We took the approach that we were going to keep our team, we’ll be bullish and make sure they have a place to call home,” Sharpe said. “It was nerve-wracking at times on whether it was the right decision or not. Some companies went into protect mode, but we didn’t do that with our employees.”

Now, coming out of the pandemic, Xperience is challenged with alleviating the industry-wide labor shortage while keeping up with the company’s 20% sales jump over 2019 numbers. Like many restaurants, they’ve instituted recruiting bonuses and tried to make team members feel appreciated.

But one thing Xperience isn’t worried about is keeping up with rising minimum wage demands. As most of their restaurants are in California where state minimum wage will reach $15 per hour by 2023, Xperience already had a plan in place to deal with these extra costs.

“We’ve been ready for the $15 minimum wage,” Sharpe said. “Our average minimum wage is well above $15 an hour.”

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