Family Forward NC Teams up with the NC Food & Beverage Podcast to Talk Family-Friendly Policies in the Restaurant Industry


Who doesn’t love a good podcast? Or a good meal recommendation? Or a restaurant that offers its employees family-friendly policies?

Family Forward NC and the North Carolina Food & Beverage Podcast (NC F&B), hosted by food and beverage industry veterans Max Trujillo and Matthew Weiss, have teamed up to share how restaurants across the state are incorporating family-friendly practices to make their businesses more resilient and sustainable and their employees and their families feel supported.

On the NC Food & Beverage Podcast, Trujillo and Weiss talk with chefs, sommeliers, distillers, farmers and other prominent figures in North Carolina’s food and beverage industry. You can listen to the segments here:

Through the Family Forward NC partnership, NC F&B is featuring segments where Trujillo and Weiss “discuss an overlooked aspect of the business.” In these segments, Trujillo, Weiss, and a series of special guests dive into the challenges of implementing family-friendly practices within the restaurant industry, and, with the help of FFNC, they discuss the benefits and potential solutions.

“Families are the cornerstone of the community,” explains North Carolina restaurant owner Ben Knight, who is one of the featured guests. “And restaurants are gathering places for families and the irony is they’ve been a miserable place to work for people who have family obligations.” Knight owns Benny’s Big Time in Wilmington and co-owns The Chef and the Farmer in Kinston with his wife, Vivian Howard.

These segments on NC F&B offer an opportunity for employers to consider the issues that matter to their employees and the family-friendly policies that could help. It’s an extension of the Family Forward NC Rapid Response program, which has been helping the hospitality and manufacturing industries and small business owners recognize the benefits of implementing these family-friendly policies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Rapid Response includes a guidebook for the hospitality and manufacturing industries and webinars for hospitality and manufacturing employers, along with small business owners, to provide inspiration and resources to get started incorporating family-friendly practices. The program also includes a limited number of one-on-one consulting opportunities with HR experts from Performentor.

“We offer three hours of HR advisement,” says Jim Needell, restaurant industry and human resources expert and HR consultant for Family Forward NC, “and in those three hours we help implement or map a plan to lead the way forward.”

As we approach a post-COVID world, employers need to plan for the challenges their employees may encounter – child care issues, school closures, and the need to take time off to care for themselves or loved ones. Family Forward’s Rapid Response program specifically focuses on assisting the hospitality industry in adding the family-friendly workplace benefits that assist in re-opening and help workers build resilience.

Knight says he has experienced this first hand after he implemented many of these practices, including offering health insurance for his teams.

“We have modeled our whole company culture after the idea that a happy team makes happy food and that makes happy guests. We want our team to be happy and to feel supported outside of work. It’s created a tremendous amount of goodwill with our team.”