Hungry for success

By Leslie T. Snadowsky

SERG serves up visionary goals

Disney, Ford, Walmart … SERG.

Jordan Norris, director of HR at the SERG Restaurant Group, said the above companies are leading innovators because they consistently improve upon their market shares, they never stop reinventing their brands, they’re flexible and change with the times, and they realize their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Norris has no reservations about calling SERG a visionary company, due to its impressive menu of award-winning local restaurants and catering services including Frankie Bones, Giuseppi’s, Holy Tequila and The Rooftop Bar. Norris said SERG’s signature dish is its loyal and dedicated employees.

“Our founders and our leaders have big ideas, and they’ve built a team under them that has the visionary drive to help place that forward,” Norris said. “We’re always looking for new ways to improve employee satisfaction, and I think that helps grow our team and our goals.”

Food for thought

Norris said SERG is dedicated to providing guests with quality cuisine, exceptional service and genuine coastal hospitality. The local epicurean company has become synonymous with cultivating an enviable, and visionary, company culture that values its employees.

“We’ve always been forward-thinking,” Norris said. “We have big goals, we’re always looking for ways to improve our current business, and we are constantly coaching our employees on how to better manage the business. I believe we are the benchmark for restaurants when it comes to marketing and employee benefits in the area. And we offer the opportunity for so many to have an ownership stake with support from a team of people. I think that’s visionary for restaurants in the area.”

Front of house

Visionary companies build legacies, have core ideologies and clear goals, are adaptable and strive for employee satisfaction. Norris said SERG employees’ work-life balance is baked into their cake.

“I truly believe the way you treat your employees is the way they’ll treat your guests,” she said. “We’re always looking for something new to add each year for our employees. Last year we started introducing the team rewards program with the idea employees can get points just for working. So if they want to pick up more shifts, the more hours they work, the more points they’re going to get. They also can get points for doing exceptional work.”

Points can be exchanged for hotel rooms, concert tickets, sporting events, out-of-state trips, AirPods, gift cards and gifts for their friends and family. 

“It’s a new program that we hope helps retain our employees as well as give them something that they want versus something they need,” Norris said.

Cooked to order

At SERG Norris said there’s a 100 percent medical insurance option for employees and management team and 88 percent for hourly workers. This year they’re starting to offer pet insurance.

“You have to get creative,” Norris said. “We’ve got a young demographic, and a lot of people don’t have kids. That younger demographic may not think health insurance is important, but a lot of people have dogs and cats, which can get just as expensive.

“It’s hard to operate a restaurant, and I think we’ve put the work-life balance back into restaurants that most people aren’t going to get working at mom-and-pop restaurants.”

Chef’s table

SERG’s long-term goals include improving what they do every day, adapting to change and building a sustainable culture. Norris said they strive to exceed expectations and focus on their guest experiences, service, teamwork, training and development. When they hire, Norris said they look for people with extraordinary traits and characteristics that they can’t teach. Once they are hired, SERG teaches them skills and provides them with the training to develop those skills to be successful in their job.

“Almost all of our partners have started as servers,” Norris said. “We feel that’s very important for our company.

“We have high standards,” she said, “and we strive to provide an environment that surrounds others with talented people who have a passion for food and embody our coastal hospitality. We want to make it a fun environment and surround ourselves with greatness.”

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