I’m Donna Giarratana, HR Manager at José Andrés’ Think Food Group, and let me tell you – I am a fan of this organization! When I first met the LCNV team and their Destination Workforce® program, I thought: this is IT. This is exactly what we at Think Food Group have been looking for. We have been interested in helping our staff improve their English skills for a while – having tried Rosetta Stone and other strategies, none of which quite worked for us. With LCNV, we found a program willing to work with us on our terms – at the time that worked best for our team and covering topics that mattered for their work. The LCNV team interviewed a few of our restaurant managers to get a specific understanding of staff’s specific areas for improvement in their language and professional skills, met with our training team to incorporate the ThinkFoodGroup brand into the instruction, and created two completely unique courses to help our team of 16 employees develop their voice and potential on the job.
As a new venture for our company, it did take a while to get this partnership off the ground. 18 months to be exact! But we knew the value of investing in our team’s language and skill development and never looked back. We wanted to develop a clearer line of advancement for our back-of-house employees so that we could bring them in to the next role. We knew we couldn’t move them from one role to another if they were struggling to communicate. I truly wanted to bring this program to our team so that we could see more of our long-tenured people grow – from line cook to sous chef, for example.
At the end of the courses, LCNV delivered a complete report showing us the impact of the classes covering both test results and qualitative stories. One of my favorite moments of the whole course was when one of the most beginning level employees, who was in the lower level class and was always so shy to be around me, walked right up to me to ask me to turn up the heat – that the restaurant was cold! I was near tears because here she was, finally expressing and advocating for herself! And then we have Jaime, one of our start employees who you’ll hear from in just a bit.
I am so grateful to the LCNV team for providing the program I’ve always wanted to see at Think Food Group. All I can say is that we need more. This program is so needed in the restaurant industry where people can find themselves in the same low-wage role for decades! I’m deeply proud of our partnership and hope you’ll support LCNV.
HR Manager at José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup