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“The Disneyland of Restaurants”

September 18, 2009


The movie is 15 years old yet the Forrest Gump themed Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant still has two hour waits almost nightly down at Chicago’s Navy Pier. It seems that good shrimp and random Forrest Gump trivia still brings in guests night after night. The food is great and almost everyone loves the movie Forrest Gump but the one thing that brings guests  in time and time again are the servers. The servers almost always have an upbeat smiling face and make the dining experience a unique one. Some patrons affectionately refer to Bubba Gump’s as the “Disneyland of restaurants.” So how does Bubba’s keep the wait staff motivated to stay energetic and positive night after night?

The management at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company has non cash incentives for performance per night. For example, for every $100 of merchandise a server sells at their table on a given night, they receive a free t-shirt from the gift shop. Since Bubba Gump t-shirts are part of the uniform for servers, having a few extra ones lying around are a huge help!

Another incentive strategy is a points based program that rewards servers for selling drinks and merchandise. Certain drink specials on the menu are worth certain amounts of points. After attaining different milestones in point amounts, employees names are entered into drawings for prizes. Servers are also divided into teams for point totals so that there is a base for encouragement from your co-workers. For the summer tourist season, the server with the most summer drink points is eligible for a much bigger prize. At the Bubba Gump’s at Navy Pier, the sever with the highest point total won tickets to Wrigley Rooftops for a Cubs game!

For the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, non cash rewards and incentives have helped push them  to become one of the most successful themed restaurants out there. Employee engagement with rewards and the “five minute meeting” before shifts begin helps drive Bubba’s continued success. Do you agree?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2009 6:01 pm

    I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

  2. October 13, 2009 9:40 pm

    Thanks! It’s cool to have a fan!

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