Another Employer Connection: Landry’s Restaurant Group

Bonni Cutler photo

Bonni Cutler brings experience in corporate recruiting, teaching and student counseling to her work as Employment Supervisor at Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego, which she began in February 2012.

Bonni Cutler, Employment Supervisor with Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego, has hooked us up with a great new employer, Landry’s Inc.  Here’s how you can access jobs now and contribute to development of a national employer partnership as we move forward.

1.  Send a brief email request to so you can receive relevant job openings in your service area. 

Mary Maclachlan, Bonni’s corporate HR contact is responsible for national hourly employee recruiting.  She has requested email contacts for as many refugee employment programs as we can provide.  When Landry’s has job openings to announce in your area, Mary will send you a job opening announcement.

Bonni has already been in touch with many of you via ORR’s Match Grant service provider list.  She has compiled and forwarded the contact information you provided.

If you didn’t provide information to Bonni, feel free to send your contact information and a brief introduction. Don’t forget to say thanks for this great opportunity.   Be respectful of Mary’s time.  She  is accessible, but very busy.  Bonni will continue to work with her to deepen that aspect of the partnership.

2.  Research, craft your initial pitch and make initial contacts with Landry’s stores in your area. 

Landry’s Inc. website has great information about their corporate values, approach to the hospitality industry and the brands and locations in their network.  You might not realize that a restaurant in your area is part of this large corporate group, that has owned and franchised stores.  Use their website to identify locations in your area and plan your initial pitch.

Bonni advises, “each agency should take the opportunity to create a relationship with their local venues one they receive job postings. Mary does not do any hiring at the store level.”  You can also make initial contacts even before you hear about an opening from Mary.

Need help?  Sign up for Higher’s On-line Learning Institute and take our training Communicating with Employers:  Initial Pitches.  It’s free while our limited supply of lifetime usernames and passwords lasts.

3.  Contribute your experience, strategies that work and successful placements with Landry’s Inc. stores. 

We can all develop our own relationships with restaurants in our service areas.  Over time, we can deepen that partnership by providing our corporate contacts with success stories to build their understanding and appreciation of the great staffing solutions and supportive services employers can rely on throughout our network.  Tell Higher about your experience, whether you’re already working with a Landry’s store or begin to build that relationship now.

thanks bonni

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Sample Employer Testimonial Video

LeAndra Collins, Area Human Resource Director for three hotel properties, partners with Lutheran Family Services (LFS) of Nebraska, Inc. to hire 70% of her housekeeping and janitorial workforce and 20% of total employee numbers.

The video was made to highlight LFS interpreter services, but it also highlights the benefits of hiring refugees and the value of our supportive services from the employer perspective.

Listen to her comments on the importance of communication, the value of pre-screening candidates and how clients gain confidence and job skills through employee recognition activities.

A similar video from one of your employer partners could be a powerful testimonial to use on your agency website, in at Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club presentation or other employer outreach events.



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Help Build a National Employment Partnership with Cosi

Cosi picHigher has an excellent opportunity to help all of us develop a national employment partnership with Cosi, a national chain of casual restaurants.

They have new leadership committed to hiring refugees.  They contacted us and are motivated NOW.

We want to respond quickly, including a collection of great examples of how they’re already hiring refugees and working with us.

Cosi snip

You can do that by phone, email or by leaving a comment on this post.  Stay tuned to hear more!


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Employer Resource: Chipotle Study Guide

chipotle logl

A number of employment programs have placed clients in jobs at Chipotle.  Click here for a great study guide for Chipotle job interview preparation.  (It’s in an online slideshare format)

The guide provides very useful detail about Chipotle corporate values, job descriptions, the interview process and the experience of employees who have been promoted far above the entry level position that got them in the door.

How You Could Use It

  • Develop an interview practice and training session to prepare a group of clients qualified to apply.
  • Provide it directly to clients with the appropriate English language skills for Chipotle interview preparation or to see useful resume and job description examples.
  • If you don’t already have a connection at Chipotle, use this information to plan your initial pitch to establish a relationship with a hiring decision maker.

Thanks to Stephen Allen, Refugee Employment Team Supervisor with IRC in Phoenix, AZ, who posted this via LinkedIn.



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A Training Tool for Stronger Job Retention

Asking Questions

Being comfortable asking questions is a critical skill for our clients to develop for lots of reasons.  Job retention is one of the most important.

Consider using this quote to frame a discussion about several US cultural assumptions and workplace values that most clients won’t understand if we don’t explain.

In the US, typical new hire training is less formal and more learner-centered than many clients expect.  In our culture, new employees are expected to ask questions that guide their own learning, especially during the first few months on the job.   Some of the related workplace concepts you could explain include SELF MOTIVATED, LEARNER-CENTERED and INITIATIVE.

Our clients are bombarded with so much information as they begin their lives in the US.  The best way to help them learn and internalize the most important concepts is by giving them the information more than once and in more than one setting.

Think about how you can build their ability to ask questions in intake, job readiness class and one-on-one coaching sessions.  Model behaviors yourself.  Help them relate new information to what they already know.  Provide opportunities to practice.  Describe in detail what clients can expect when they start a new job.


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Job Leads to Explore Now

Wheres Spring snowmanOn the East Coast we’re still waiting for spring, but it’s not too early to think about summer from a job development perspective. 

Many businesses have different work volumes during the summer.   This can mean an increase in job openings or dramatically reduced work hours for clients. 

Think about the following possibilities as you build employer relationships in advance of a hiring season or help clients identify strategies to deal with reduced work hours and family income. 

Summer vacations can mean openings at holiday destination hotels and in tourism-related businesses.  If the heat discourages summer visitors, it can have the opposite affect. 

The end of the school year will create turnover in student jobs like fast food or other parttime opportunities.    

University service jobs (like cafeteria or dormitory workers) can shut down all together for the summer.  Hiring managers also plan and schedule now for fall start-ups, so this can also be the best time to get a jump on fall opportunties. 

Growing and harvest seasons differ with climate, but summer can be a great time to find opportunities for clients to work outdoors in an agricultural environment that will be comfortingly familiar to many.


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E-Verify and Work Authorization Checks: Deepen Employer Relationships and Advocate for Clients


Images of valid EADs which you can also find through the links included in this article

Even though our clients are work authorized, they often get tangled in E-Verify details.  Lack of familiarity with this system and our client’s legal status on the part of employers can delay or even deny them jobs we work hard to help them secure.

Providing timely assistance is a much-appreciated service to employers.  The problem is most often a lack of knowledge.  In the less common case of intentional discrimination, advocating for client rights is an important and satisfying part of our jobs.

A recent email from the Department of Justice listserv offers so many great resources for clients, employers and you that we’re included it here.


Beginning February 27, 2014, the E-Verify webinar on Employee Rights will now be offered in Spanish! This webinar will help Spanish speakers understand and teach others about employee rights during the employment eligibility verification process.

USCIS and the DOJ Civil Rights Division, Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices are co-presenters of this free live webinar, which has been offered to the public in English since November 2012. USCIS and OSC subject matter experts will discuss what workers need to know about:

  • Employee rights in the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes
  • Employer responsibilities
  • How to resolve and understand the Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) Further Action Notice
  • Self Check, a tool for job seekers

Spanish speaking worker advocates, workers, and job seekers are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is not required. Just add the date and time to your calendar. Click here to join one of the following dates:

  • Thursday,      February 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM EST.
  • Tuesday,      March 25, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST.

See our flyer for more information. Please share this announcement with everyone who may be interested! Click here to see the schedule of other E-Verify and Form I-9 webinars. More information and resources are available on and


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Deepen Employer Relationships Around Daylight Savings Time

Alarm ClockProviding translated signage about Daylight Savings Time is a great excuse to communicate with lots of employers and provides a valuable customer service they’ll remember and appreciate.

Read more for the steps to take and access free, translated signage when you sign up for Higher’s blog feed at

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, 03/09.  You have 3 weeks to implement a strategy that will deepen employer relationships and help clients.  Go for it!

WHY:  Maintaining contact with employers gets harder to do when the new hires are settled and there are no immediate job openings to fill. You need to keep limited resources focused on finding jobs for clients who need them now.  You want to keep in touch so employers don’t forget to contact you when they need to hire again.


  1. Compile a list of employers to include. Consider adding a few prospects, as well as all of the companies who already employ clients.
  2. Draft correspondence.  Say thank you.  Keep it brief.  Think about adding no more than 2 additional points.  Maybe provide a save the date for World Refugee Day celebrations.
  3. Sign up for Higher’s Blog and we’ll send you the signage. We’ve translated it into Arabic, Burmese, French, Spanish and Swahili.  We’ll also include the English language template in case you want to add other languages.  The signs are provided as word documents so you can add your agency logo if you want.
  4. Provide the signs early in the week of March 3:  If you send an email, don’t forget your email signature with contact information.  If you deliver hard copies, consider tapping into volunteer resources or visiting yourself, especially for the most important employers on your list.




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Tis the Season: Three Easy Ideas to Show Employer Appreciation

photo 6Job developers dream about employer appreciation events or award ceremonies.  Those approaches take significant resources and lots of advance planning.

Take advantage of holiday traditions and consider one of these three easy ways to thank employers and deepen their connection to your mission.  At the same time, you can begin gaining experience to help you build up to a larger event in the future.

  1.  Send a holiday email.  Keep it simple and just say thanks and happy holidays.  If you want to get more creative, imbed a picture of your team, agency holiday decorations or clients celebrating the season.  (I still remember an email I received a couple of years ago with a photo of a group of clients and teachers at an ESL class wearing Santa hats and their own traditional clothing.)
  2. Mail cards signed by everyone on your team.  If your agency sends cards, you could link with that process.  You can buy your own holiday cards or use plain paper and sign with holiday colored markers.  It’s likely that your card will be displayed for others to see, so include a visible logo.
  3. For a few of your best employers, consider a personal delivery of holiday treats.  You can bake them yourselves or consider asking volunteers to contribute them.  This requires more resources, so you might want to consider it only for a handful of employers.  Everyone on your team could help with deliveries to make it even easier.
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Tis the Season: The Employer Perspective on Seasonal Hiring

After our recent post about seasonal job development strategies , I saw a post from that outlines the challenges employers face around seasonal hiring.  It provides great selling points for us when talking to employers about how we can help them access a broad talent pool ready to move quickly as they have seasonal openings to fill.  If anyone has special success with seasonal hiring opportunities, please let Higher know!


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