Waffle House Recruitment Plan


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This project was done by Clemson University Marketing seniors at the request of Waffle House executives and managers in order to find a way to raise awareness of Waffle House Management positions and to learn better ways to recruit college graduates to the position.

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Waffle House Recruitment Plan

  1. 1. Mid-Term ProjectMarketing 450: Strategic Marketing Management Daniel Carroll Julie Clamp Alyssa Goodson Wesley Moran Katherine Williams
  2. 2. Table of ContentsExecutive Summary…………………………………………….3Situation Analysis………………………………………………4SWOT Analysis………………………………………………...5Value Proposition……………………………………………….8Identification and Evaluation of Strategic Alternatives………...8Recommendations……………………………………………..13Appendix………………………………………………………15 2
  3. 3. Executive Summary The goal for this particular case study was to provide a recruitment plan to help WaffleHouse attract potential managers to their booth at career fairs in order to find employees formanagement positions. However, many students are not aware of the management jobs thatWaffle House has to offer, and have the negative perception that Waffle House is only a late-night hangout spot. The first step in the process was performing a situation and SWOT analysis. Followingthis, a value proposition that clearly stated Waffle House’s core values, while also appealing tomany individuals in the job market, was created: “Great training, friendly people, and countlessopportunities will make this House your home.” Further analyzing the situation analysis, five strategic alternatives that Waffle Housecould implement to effectively recruit top students to career fair booths were created. The firstsituation requires Waffle House to get more involved at the university level by meeting withstudents and faculty to let them know about the jobs that Waffle House offers. The secondalternative calls for Waffle House to focus on their internship program in order to capitalize onthe fact that it is a great way to attract potential employees and exposes them to all aspects of thecompany. The third strategy suggests that Waffle House targets specific individuals throughprofessor recommendations and/or career centers. This would allow Waffle House to choosespecific individuals they feel would be a good fit with the company. Similarly, the fourthstrategy calls for Waffle House to target specific universities in order to recruit students fromenvironments that best coincide with Waffle House’s values. The fifth and final alternative wasfor Waffle House to revamp their website to make it more user-friendly and offer promotionalvideos about Waffle House employment. This would increase publicity and job awareness, 3
  4. 4. informing students and other potential employees about the specifics of job opportunitiesavailable within the company. After evaluating the alternatives, it was determined that the best strategy for WaffleHouse to execute would be a combination of strategies one, two, and five. This means thatWaffle House would get involved at the university level, they would build their internshipprogram and raise awareness for career opportunities within the company, and they wouldrevamp their current website to attract top students to their company. If implemented correctly,many top students would be aware of the opportunities with Waffle House, resulting in boostedinterest levels at career fairs. A variety of sources were used to gather information from this case study. Most of theinformation utilized was found in the documents posted on BlackBoard. Also, a survey askingstudents questions about internships and qualities they look for in a job was used for primaryresearch. Situation Analysis By looking at the internal, external, and customer environments, it was possible to get agood idea of Waffle House’s position in the market. Internally, Waffle House has great customerservice and a friendly atmosphere. They are privately traded, giving employees the opportunityto become owners. Also, there is a strong emphasis on improving the communities in whichWaffle House is located. Waffle House faces problems associated with the fact that their websitelacks professionalism and creativity. Also, many people, especially the millennial generation,associate Waffle House with a place to go when the bars are closing. Externally, Waffle housefaces the fact that there is a current economic recession and that top students looking to graduateand start a career are more interested in starting out with larger, more prestigious companies, 4
  5. 5. such as those included in the Fortune 500. Also, openings in the job market are very competitivenow, which is really an advantage for Waffle House since they are always looking forworthwhile employees. Within the customer environment, Waffle House succeeds in attractingall different types of customers and employees. They serve a variety of entrees and stay open 24hours a day, 365 days a year, with over 1,500 locations nation-wide. SWOT Analysis By looking into the internal environment many strengths and weaknesses associated withWaffle House were found. The following characteristics are ones considered strengths of WaffleHouse, helping them in their desire to attract top students to their booth at college career fairs. Waffle House has 1,650 locations and they continue to add new units frequently. Waffle House restaurants are known for their welcoming environment and they take pride in the fact that their employees are friendly and create a constructive work environment. Waffle House is people oriented in both the customer sense and the employee sense. They go out of their way to portray this by their value proposition, “We are not in the food business…We are in the people business.” They dedicate time to training. They have a 12 week training program. They are involved in the communities in which they are located and partner with many local organizations to improve the quality of life through the use of funds and resources. Their stock is privately traded. Along with that, their stock value has continued to rise. They offer competitive salaries and good benefits. They are a company that offers quick promotions if employees perform their job well. They offer 3 weeks paid vacation. 5
  6. 6. Waffle House has been around for 56 years. They are an established, well known restaurant. Waffle House offers job security. They take pride in the fact that they place value in their employees and keep them employed. Also, they are always looking for new people to join the Waffle House team.Listed below are some of the weaknesses determined to be associated with Waffle House thatcould potentially limit the types of students who would be interested in a full-time positionwith Waffle House following graduation. Being a unit manager would sometimes require employees to work poor hours. The Waffle House website gives a bad impression of the position due to improper grammar and lack of creativity. It also doesn’t provide a lot of information on the specifics of the responsibilities and expectations of a management position. Another issue associated with the website would be that it doesn’t have a lot of information about the training program or what characteristics they are looking for in a management position. Waffle House has the perception that working as a manager it is not challenging and/or there is no intellectual development involved with the career. There is not an image of professionalism or prestige associated with the Waffle House brand/careers. Waffle House lacks in advertising and marketing efforts, and without knowledge of the company, there is lack of knowledge in the careers possible with them. Not a lot of technological advancement involved in the operations of the individual restaurants. 6
  7. 7. By looking at the external environment it was found that there were a number ofopportunities and threats relevant to Waffle House. Listed below are some of the opportunitiesWaffle House could choose to use in their advantage. The current state of the economy allows for the future improvement in many aspects of business. There are numerous technological advancements within the restaurant industry, such as computer software programs that help with efficiency and inventory that are not utilized by Waffle House. Many companies do not offer the amount of employment opportunities and/or opportunities to advance that Waffle House does during the current economic recession, so this would be great thing to stress to management prospects. The target market of potential employees currently has little knowledge of the company. Many other companies are not currently hiring or are much less approachable in the current job market than Waffle HouseListed below are the threats that Waffle House faces. Other opportunities with large companies for entry-level employment tend to overshadow those offered by Waffle House. Current graduates tend to seek out employment at prestigious corporations and Fortune 500 companies. The current legal environment effecting Waffle House includes sexual harassment lawsuits as well as discrimination lawsuits, which threaten the brand’s image of a friendly and accepting environment. The current trends in society are moving towards healthier foods and lifestyles. 7
  8. 8. Value Proposition “Great training, friendly people, and countless opportunities will make this House your home.” This value proposition communicates the core values of Waffle House, and also shows thedesirable traits that this company has to offer. When conducting research, it was discovered thattraining and experience, work environment, and opportunities for advancement are all veryimportant characteristics to those who are involved in a job search. Strategy 1: Get involved at the university level Waffle House needs to first get involved at the university level. In order to do this, WaffleHouse must give presentations to marketing and management classes, professors, andprofessional business groups. It is also suggested that Waffle House hosts luncheons for bothfaculty and students in order to provide detailed information on possible career opportunities.When giving such presentations, recruiters would dress professionally and act with a high levelof competence to negate many of the negative connotations associated with the company. Thesecond part to this strategy involves attending multiple career fairs and being listed on collegecareer center websites. Overall, this strategy will help Waffle House educate potential employees on details ofthe company and allow them to ask question about the company. It would also allow them totarget a large number of students who attend events like career fairs. Additionally, this will allowstudents to step outside of the restaurant setting and see all of the aspects of the company.Students will also be able to meet face-to-face with managers and understand what actually goeson in the day of the life of a Waffle House manager. However, this strategy does have its 8
  9. 9. drawbacks. For instance, this strategy may spark a need for recruitment training and may forceWaffle House to allocate funds to send managers or recruiters to meet with potential employeesand faculty at universities. Regardless of the drawbacks, it will be beneficial for Waffle House tobecome more involved at university level and let their presence be known on college campuses.This will ultimately publicize the fact the Waffle House has quality jobs to offer for top levelgraduating seniors. Strategy 2: Focus on the internship program Waffle House could focus on internship program recruitment strategies. The internshipprogram currently in place at Waffle House gives students the opportunity to work in a hands-on,productive learning environment. This offers Waffle House the opportunity to exploit theseaspects of the internship program during the recruitment process. The program also allowsinterns to work with Human Resource managers, senior-level management, and corporateemployees. This shows interns the various jobs and career options available if they accept a full-time managerial position upon graduation from college. There are numerous positive aspectsassociated with this strategy. First, students that were selected to be Waffle House interns wouldhave the ability to get to know the company on a highly personal level, which could be convertedinto an early sense of company pride, inspiring them to pursue a full-time career at WaffleHouse. Additionally, word of mouth about the Waffle House internship program would continueto raise awareness around university campuses due to the fact that students tend to discussoutside professional experiences. This also has the potential to spark interest in other students oncollege campuses. Fully utilizing every aspect of the internship program in its promotion wouldalso allow Waffle House to develop strong impressions of potential hires by getting a first-handview of the individual’s work ethic, attitude, and other characteristics influencing Waffle 9
  10. 10. House’s decision to offer interns full time employment post-graduation. In analyzing data from asurvey distributed to Clemson students, it became abundantly clear that students are looking forinternships prior to graduation (See example A in the Appendix). An overwhelming 78.2% ofstudents surveyed said that they have previously held or plan to hold an internship beforegraduation from college. These results reinforce the importance of promoting the stronginternship program offered by Waffle House. One drawback with focusing on the internshipprogram, however, is that too much focus on the internship program might take away fromWaffle House’s full-time employee recruitment process. It can also be an expensive form oftraining that does not result in a guaranteed full-time employee upon the conclusion of theinternship. Strategy 3: Target specific individuals The third strategy would be to target specific individuals. This could be done throughprofessor recommendations and resume searches conducted with the help of the college careercenters and their online websites. This would allow recruiters to specifically seek out studentswith characteristics that they felt stood out and would add to the Waffle House workenvironment. It would also place value in those individuals and prospects would be morereceptive to offers made for employment because of the flattery associated with beingspecifically sought out. There are some drawbacks to this strategy though. First, there would beexpenses involved, whether that is paying the recruiter for the extra time spent talking withprofessors and career centers, or paying for meals during meetings between recruiters andstudents. Second, while targeting specific top students, you would only be pursuing a very smallpercentage of your target market and you might miss out on the opportunity to meet a variety ofindividuals. Another thing to think about is that recruiting specific prospects could offend the 10
  11. 11. students that Waffle House did not specifically target, which could create bad word of mouthamong other things. Strategy 4: Target specific universities One tactic to consider would be to target specific universities. Waffle House would seek outand develop relationships with particular schools. This would allow Waffle House to develop astrong base from which to recruit students for employment. There are several positivesassociated with this strategy. In targeting specific universities, it would enable Waffle House todevelop a visible presence at universities. This, in turn, would create a higher level of awarenessamong students attending each particular school. This strategy would also allow Waffle House todetermine the environment from which they would like to recruit. However there are also severaldrawbacks to consider. The primary downside is that this strategy might take a lot of time toimplement. It will take time and effort to develop and foster the networking relationshipsbetween Waffle House and the chosen universities. It is also possible that targeting specificuniversities could limit the scope of Waffle House’s search. It is easy to want to target largeuniversities without giving smaller colleges much consideration, but if they only sought out largeuniversities, Waffle House could miss out on a lot of qualified potential employees. Strategy 5: Website Development The fifth and final strategy suggested focuses on further development of the Waffle Housewebsite. Along with careful proofreading and editing of the current web content, thisdevelopment would involve the addition of a number of videos focusing on different aspects ofmultiple Waffle House careers as well as the revamping of the manger-specific career webpage.The careers webpage could offer “a day in the life” video series featuring different careerpositions walking the viewer through what an average employee in their role does on a day-to- 11
  12. 12. day basis. This would not only include the tasks they are required to perform, but also theinteractions they have and first-hand examples of issues they deal with in their job. In order tomake these videos, specifically the managerial one, more relevant to the target market of toplevel students about to graduate they would feature younger aged management employees justout of school. Not only would this be an effective way to begin to build a rapport with potentialemployees, but it would also paint a more believable and understandable picture of the jobrequirements to potential recruits. An additional video to the series would spotlight a recentlypromoted employee who could give a testimonial on the process he or she went through in orderto earn the promotion. This would give potential hires as well as current employees a concreteexample of a benchmark, which they could strive to reach or to which they could compare theirperformance. This video would also offer insight into how the ambition that Waffle Housepromotes in its employees can pay off. Another aspect of the strategy would be to revamp thecurrent managerial webpage in order to highlight the increased responsibility and trust that isplaced in Waffle House mangers beyond that of hourly employees. Not only would this indicateto potential hires that they would be held to a higher standard but it would also play on students’desires to know that they would be performing a vital role in the company should they pursue amanagerial career at Waffle House. This strategy does, however, come with a number advantages and disadvantages. Benefitsof this strategy would include offering more in-depth coverage of job requirements to potentialemployees as well as providing a more personal level of interaction to employee prospectsresearching the company. The videos would offer an intimate look into what these researcherswould be trying to find and would also ensure there were no surprises when they came to apply.Another benefit resulting from the revamping of the managerial career webpage would be the 12
  13. 13. more appealing look and feel of the website to those researching the opportunities offered byWaffle House and painting a more professional picture of the overall company image. On theother hand, the negatives associated with the strategy of web development would revolve aroundthe extra time and costs associated with the improvements to be made. Creating the “day in thelife” video series, as well as the recent promotion video, would require an extensive amount oftime and money to go into casting the videos with the right personalities from within thecompany. Heavy time involvement and costs could also be incurred when reconstructing thewebsite. Recommendations After considering Waffle House’s current position and the strategies that have beenproposed, it is recommended that the most effective method for Waffle House to attract topstudents to their career fair booths would be to combine strategies one, two, and five. This wouldinclude getting involved and increasing awareness at the university level, focusing on thepromotion of the internship program, and developing additions and improvements to WaffleHouse’s web presence. Both primary and secondary research has shown many factors thatsupport this strategy. This research not only backs up the promotion of the internship program byshowing that a vast majority of students see value in internships, but it also showed that salary,location, work relationships, and/or opportunities for advancement were among many studentstop considerations when looking for jobs (See example B in the Appendix). These considerationscould easily be addressed in each strategic aspect of the final recommendation. Research alsoshowed that students look to company websites more than any other resource when researchingjob opportunities. Also among the resources that were considered before job fairs wasnetworking as well as internship assignments, both of which are addressed in these 13
  14. 14. recommendations (See example C in the Appendix). Through each aspect of the recommendedstrategies, Waffle House would be able to attract students through their own considerationpreferences, offering useful information and resources before they meet face to face anddiminishing the need for impacting first impressions at career fairs. 14
  15. 15. AppendixA: Primary Reasearch Have you previously held, or do you plan to hold an internship prior to college graduation? Held an Internship Have not held an InternshipConsiderations for Employment Opportunities(Percentage of students that listed each attribute in their top 3 considerations)Salary 61.8%Location 49.1%Work Relationships 49%Opportunities for Advancement 47.2% 15
  16. 16. B: Secondary Research*Information provided by NACE Survey “Moving On…Job Market for the College Class of 2007”http://img.icbdr.com/images/jp/content/training/pdfs/Careerbuilder-CollegeRecruitment.pdf How Are Most Jobs Found? (Select all that apply) Visiting company web sites (81%) Checking job postings on a company web site (67%) Checking job postings on the college career center website (55%) Job openings on commercial job-search web sites (54%) Networking (52%) Co-op or internship assignments (36%) Career/job fairs (35%) Speaking with company representatives (35%) Viewing employer information presentations (29%) On-campus interviewing (28%) Reading employer recruitment brochures (26%) 16
  17. 17. C: Presentation Slides 17
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