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Brasa Peruvian Kitchen: where delivery drivers are treated like family

If a delivery driver in the Greater Toronto Area has visited a Brasa Peruvian Kitchen location, they’re probably familiar with more than just the standout food.

Before securing a customer’s order, they were likely offered 3 things:

  • A bottle of water or a warm drink
  • A bathroom visit
  • A 50% discount on an order of their own that they can redeem at their convenience

This gesture goes far beyond a random act of kindness. In fact, it’s a critical component of Brasa’s company culture that employees are trained to uphold. Read on to learn how investing in people, from delivery drivers to employees, is encouraging long-term growth at Brasa.

It’s all about the people

The architect behind the delivery driver engagement strategy is none other than Brasa Founder and CEO Michel Falcon, who started to conceptualize the restaurant idea back in 2019—2 years before officially opening the first location.

Michel’s dedication to delivery drivers didn’t evolve overnight: more than 15 years of experience observing, shaping, and advocating for company cultures that prioritize people informed his commitment. His career has taken many turns—from customer service at a junk-lugging company to management consulting and entrepreneurship in the hospitality space. Across each role, Michel has learned that companies shouldn’t have to choose between people and profit, because investing in one powers the other. Pick up a copy of Michel’s book, People-First Culture, or listen to an episode of his podcast, and you’ll quickly learn that he means business.

All his experiences led Michel to see that he had an opportunity to build something unique with Brasa. For one thing, he believed that it was time for Peruvian food and culture to shine in the fast-casual space. Beyond the product itself, he also wanted to cultivate an environment where every person felt valued and cared for.

“The common themes in my expertise are company culture, guest experience, and employee experience. These topics have always been my go-to strategies for growth.”

Michel Falcon, Founder and CEO, Brasa Peruvian Kitchen

Building a partner-centric company

As Michel was defining the environment he wanted people to associate with Brasa, he kept returning to the idea of customer experience. This is the gold standard across industries, and understandably so. But to Michel, the emphasis on customer experience alone felt incomplete. What about the employee experience? The supplier experience? The delivery driver experience? Focusing on just one part of the equation overlooks the number of people who contribute to a successful business.

Empowering delivery drivers

Michel feels that the delivery driver experience is a no-brainer priority. Brasa has 3 store locations listed on Uber Eats, so delivery drivers are more than just occasional visitors—they’re essential extensions of the business.

A beverage, a bathroom visit, and a discounted meal are by no means extraordinary. But they’re low-cost initiatives that are easily repeatable. This level of consistency is a brand differentiator, and it sends a clear message to delivery drivers that they’ll always be treated with kindness when they visit a Brasa store.

In addition to being the right thing to do, this is also just smart business. Michel believes one of the most powerful ways to promote loyalty is by fostering an environment that people are genuinely excited to return to.

“Most companies spend a lot of time focusing on their customer experience, which I wouldn't argue is a bad thing. Some companies spend a good amount of time focusing on their employee experience, which I would also never argue against. But very few companies reserve attention for the other individuals who run the business, like delivery drivers.”

Michel Falcon, Founder and CEO, Brasa Peruvian Kitchen

Attracting and retaining top talent

Sustaining a truly people-first culture requires employees who take it seriously, which is why Michel also invests a significant amount of time in Brasa’s hiring and retention.

Before even having an opportunity to submit an application, Brasa candidates are required to answer a series of questions about character traits and company cultures they admire. Then they’re prompted to watch almost an hour’s worth of videos in which Michel outlines expectations for bringing Brasa’s mission to life. If a candidate makes it through the vetting process and submits an application, Michel knows they’re on board.

But attracting top talent is only half the battle. Michel knows it’s equally important to give your best people a reason to stay, especially in an industry suffering from labor shortages. That’s why he has worked hard to provide competitive pay and benefits packages, along with ongoing professional development opportunities—all with the goal of promoting longevity.

“What we’ve instilled is a culture where, whether we pay you or you pay us, you’re going to leave with an element of hospitality. Extending this to everyone sends a loud message to our team that we all own this.”

Michel Falcon, Founder and CEO, Brasa Peruvian Kitchen

Identify what matters to your business

For any operator looking to put greater definition around their company culture or the strategies they use to engage and uplift the people who keep the business running, Michel offers 3 actionable pieces of advice:

1. Start big

On any given day, an operator will wake up with an endless list of new ideas. Write down every single one. All of them are worth your consideration.

2. Narrow in

Evaluate your list at a bird’s-eye view and ask yourself: What can I implement and measure in the next 30 days? Bookmark the ideas that are more time- and resource-intensive.

3. Look outside

Never ideate in your place of work. You can’t solve problems where they originate. Try looking outside the restaurant industry for sources of inspiration—it worked for Michel.

At the end of the day, Michel’s advice is simple: have faith in humanity. Because if you do right by people, people will want to do right by you. And at Brasa, all signs suggest that this outlook is paying off.

For additional tips and tricks on creating a smooth, positive experience with delivery people, take this self-guided lesson.

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