The Texas Roadhouse in Springfield, Mo., has become something of a family affair, employing six members of the same clan in various roles at the restaurant — and making it work.
Two of the employees, Tess Miner and her sister Megan Miner, have worked at the restaurant since it opened in November 2005, and their family numbers have only expanded at the unit, which has about 100 employees.
“The restaurant itself has a family atmosphere,” said Tess Miner, 23, in a telephone interview. “Most of our guests are families. It makes it easy to work side by side with sisters and brothers.”
Tess Miner, who serves as an administrative assistant to managing partner Johnny Cunningham, started working with Megan, now 24 and a server-bartender-key hourly, when the restaurant opened. Since then, the team was joined by their mother, Ramona Miner, in August 2006, as well as siblings Taylor “T.J.” Miner, 22, Logan Miner, 19, and the youngest, Bailey Miner, 17, who started working as a hostess in July 2011.
“People who work with us are always commenting on how close we are,” said Tess Miner. “We were raised close in age. We grew up doing stuff together like family vacations. We are used to being together all the time. When we started working here we were all living together.” The family ties have never been an issue, she added.
Janet A. Hoffmann, a New York City-based human resources consultant with Janet Hoffmann and Associates Inc., said family members working in the same organization can have advantages.
“Family members that work together can increase teamwork, loyalty and productivity,” Hoffmann said in an email exchange. “Members of the same family support each other and help each other out.”
The situation allows for some flexibility on the part of the restaurant manager, Hoffmann added. “If one family member is not able to work, another may fill in for them,” she said. “Family members may also more readily hold each other accountable. The employer can reap the benefits in each of these situations.”
Especially during the winter holidays, having half a dozen members of the same family provides time for the family to be together as well, Tess Miner said. She said they often work together on holidays and have even given other staff members the holiday time away.
“It is kind of nice to work with your family on holidays, like Christmas Eve,” Tess Miner said. “If you get to be at work with your family, you’re not missing that much. And on Valentine’s Day, we’ll just all work together and others get the holiday off.”
Hoffmann said there are possible disadvantages to the family-work/work-family situation.
“If there are problems at home, they may be brought into the workplace and disrupt the working environment,” Hoffmann pointed out. “Even if the family members work well together, other employees may feel uncomfortable or ‘left out.’ If there is any type of reporting relationship, other employees may perceive preferential treatment.”
However, for seven years the family affair has worked well for the Miner clan and Texas Roadhouse. “When you get into your 20s, you usually don’t get to see your family a whole lot,” Tess Miner said. “But we value our family time both at work and away.”
Best practices: Hiring family members at the same restaurant
To assure the best practices in hiring and retaining family members in the same restaurant, resources consultant Janet Hoffmann suggests that operators do the following:
• Have a policy in place that outlines the company's position on family members working together along with expectations.
• Cultivate open and honest communications with the family members regarding the company's expectations.
• Ensure individuals are hired based on their qualifications for the job, not because of the relationship or because one family member is an exemplary employee.
• Make sure none of the family members are in direct lines of reporting.
• Assure that everyone is treated fairly and held accountable or recognized for a job well done consistently.
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