- The KFC Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that provides charitable support to KFC U.S. restaurant employees, has partnered with nonprofit fintech company SaverLife to launch a new program designed to help KFC employees build emergency funds and savings, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- The "MyChange with SaverLife" program was piloted last year and offers employees access to the SaverLife platform, including forums, financial education articles and resources. It also allows participants to earn points toward cash prizes for improving their financial health.
- This program launch comes two months after KFC went on a major hiring spree, looking to fill 20,000 permanent positions nationwide to keep up with its strong sales. Its employee benefits and career opportunities could be a differentiator in a tight market, and the company has noted that more than 75% of general managers started as team members or shift leaders, suggesting strong retention at the chain.
Programming like MyChange with SaverLife isn't entirely new to KFC's system. The KFC Foundation introduced a MyChange program in 2018 through mobile financial wellness service Sum180, which also provided personal finance education, budgeting tools, access to financial advisers and an online support community.
The difference this time around is a savings challenge incentive, which could boost employees' savings accounts by up to $500. Eligible employees of KFC corporate- and franchisee-owned restaurants who participate in these challenges, funded by the KFC Foundation, can receive a $20 sign-up bonus and a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $40 per month over a six-month period if they save at least $10 a month.
These programs aren't new to the industry, either. In 2019, Noodles & Company introduced financial wellness resources for its employees. Tapcheck, which offers financial education for employees through its app, works with chains like McDonald’s and Dunkin', Burger King and Little Caesars, as well.
Restaurant chains have been adding more employee benefits to contend with a historic labor shortage. The quit rate for restaurant workers reached an all-time high of 5.6% in April, the highest of any industry, and employee shortages are the second top concern for restaurant operators after rising food costs, per Quadrant Strategies research.
For restaurant workers, however, building emergency savings funds or establishing long-term savings habits may not be a top priority at present, or an enticing reason to stay at their jobs. A report from One Fair Wage finds that the top three reasons restaurant workers are leaving their jobs are low wages (76%), COVID-19 safety concerns (55%) and concerns over harassment from customers (39%).
That's not to say this recruitment and retention effort from KFC couldn't be successful, however. About one-third of respondents in a 2019 National Business Group on Health poll said they want help with financial health and planning from their employers. Further, a 2019 study from Commonwealth finds that providing simple savings options can help reduce financial stress and bolster productivity for lower-wage workers.