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February 21, 2023


3 min read

How culture strengthens the foodservice workforce with Clarence Otis

blog header for Clarence Otis article

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This video is the third in a four-part series of Workforce InFocus, which explores the role of workforce education in business success from industry leaders.

As the former CEO of Darden Restaurants, Clarence Otis sat at the helm of one the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. Under his leadership, Darden expanded from 1,300 to 2,200 restaurants and grew to more than 200,000 employees. 

In an industry known for rapid turnover, Otis learned that you win the war on retention if people want to be there. Part of cultivating that desire is providing opportunities for advancement and instilling confidence in your workforce.

“There are a lot of people working for us who are capable of more than they think they’re capable of,” Otis says. Strong leadership can help people see their potential. “When you have that belief that everyone that walks through your doors has the capacity to rise to whatever level they aspire to . . . that’s powerful.” 

Otis believes that everyone who wants a shot at leadership should have one. But it’s crucial to provide a range of different educational opportunities so that you can match a variety of diverse learning styles and needs, especially for frontline workers who may be less comfortable with traditional learning environments. 

See how Otis’s thinking on retention and workforce education has evolved to support people on all types of career journeys, as well as contributed to Darden’s success.

To learn more about how InStride can empower your business through education, get in touch today.