Three chefs stand around a chrome stovetop, smiling and laughing. They all wear white chef's jackets, and the chef on the far right, a woman with dark brown hair pulled back into a bun, is stirring something in a large silver pot.
Témoc Morfin, the Founder and CEO of Cilantro Taco Grill, stresses the importance of getting to know your employees and even getting behind the counter to work with them. — Getty Images/Maskot

If you could create your own fantasy board of directors, who would be on it? CO— connects you with thought leaders from across the business spectrum and asks them to help solve your biggest business challenges. In this edition, we ask an expert about how you can make your employees feel like valued family members.

In this edition of “Ask the Board,” we interviewed Témoc Morfin, the Founder and CEO of Cilantro Taco Grill, a popular taco restaurant in Chicago that recently began a franchise model. Temoc shares his tips on how you can improve employee retention and morale by making employees feel like family.

According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, in March of 2023, the number of people quitting declined to 3.9 million, which is the lowest since May of 2021. While the Great Resignation is subsiding, the trend to ensure that employees know their value remains. At Cilantro Taco Grill, we go the extra mile to ensure our employees feel like family. Here’s how you can do the same:

Connect to your staff

It doesn’t matter what your position is in the company, you should know your employees. Taking time to speak and get to know each person working for the company goes a long way in connecting the whole team together.

Get behind the counter

It’s crucial to learn and know all elements of your business, even if you’re not involved in many of the day-to-day tasks. There were times throughout the pandemic where myself and other members of the corporate team came in to work alongside employees. It’s important for your workforce to know you are all in this together, especially when times are tough.

Sometimes, it makes sense to promote loyal, hard-working employees into business owners.

Témoc Morfin, Founder and CEO of Cilantro Taco Grill

Foster a culture of career growth

Just like anyone else you consider family, you want to see the ones you love succeed. It’s important to have tracks in your company for your employees of all levels to be promoted. Cilantro Taco Grill joined [the National Restaurant Association’s] RHLC program that provides certifications to line cooks, kitchen managers, and restaurant managers and highly recommends this certification path for all restaurants.

Turn employees into owners

Sometimes, it makes sense to promote loyal, hard-working employees into business owners. One of the reasons I partnered with FranSmart to start a franchise model in late 2023 is to give employees the opportunity to have the same success as my family.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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