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Eat boss: "Flightier" millennials need to be given a career path

21 September 2017 by

Millennials are "flightier" than their older counterparts and need to be given an indication of where their job can take them in order to inspire loyalty.

That's according to Andrew Walker, chief executive of sandwich shop chain Eat, which has 110 sites around the UK.

Speaking to Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA, at the Lunch! trade show in London yesterday, Walker said all the operators in the grab-and-go sector were fighting to get good people in a labour pool that was "getting tighter", thanks in part to Brexit.

And he remarked that the millennial generation (those born from the early 1980s until the early 2000s) are "flightier" and require a different approach.

"They will come to you and say ‘yes, I want to work', but they have also said that to three other people. They then work two trial days and they might not turn up again if they have a better offer in the meantime, so it is very competitive. It is getting quite hard to retain them, because if they get another offer they go ‘what the hell' and move on to the next place," he explained.

Walker, a former operations director at rival Pret A Manger, has been in charge at Eat since June last year and has tasked himself with boosting the sandwich chain's performance.

"It is no secret that when you go into a Pret store, it is busier than an Eat store," he conceded. "We are focused very much on getting the core market in London operating at a higher revenue."

The business is exploring franchise opportunities in major transport hubs in partnership with the likes of the Restaurant Group and SSP, and it is already due to open stores in Debenhams in Basingstoke and Portsmouth with Compass.

Eat has also placed a major focus on its staff, changing eight of its 10 area managers within the first three months of his arrival and 60% of store managers in the first six months.

In April this year, Eat unveiled revenue of £101.1m for the year to 30 June 2016, but pre-tax profits narrowed from £3.1m to £1.5m.

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