Friends in the Kitchen
When Brad Fuller took over as owner of the new Chick-Fil-A fast food restaurant in east Wichita, he had no idea how much of an impact IRC clients would have on his restaurant. After meeting with the IRC in Wichita’s employment specialist last year, he decided to try something new- he hired a refugee.
Faced with challenges such as language barriers and little work history to go by, he took a leap of faith. “What do I ask in the interview, how do I know this will work out?” says Brad, when referring to his initial skepticism. “So I started paying more attention to their body language,” he says.
Fast forward to August of 2013, and Chick-Fil-A has 18 employees working in its kitchen, 15 of them being refugees that have recently been resettled by the IRC in Wichita. “They have completely changed the atmosphere here,” states Brad. “They show up to work happy and ready to help people, and that is what we look for in an employee,” he says.
On Sundays, a day off for Chick-Fil-A employees, many of them get together for what they have coined “Sunday Funday.” Whether it’s going bowling, watching movies at a friend’s house or getting together in the park to barbeque; the IRC clients have engulfed themselves not only into the American culture, but also in their workplace culture.
Through the help of the IRC in Wichita’s employment training and ESL programs, the assimilation process has been much faster. “Because it’s such a fast paced environment and high volume store, their ability to adapt was key,” states Brad.
Through patience and perserverence, the Chick-Fil-A kitchen is a well oiled machine. “We have amazing employees here. These guys have really made an impact on my entire staff. We work as a team, hold each other accountable and they go home friends at the end of the day.”
Brad says that for the IRC clients he has hired, he sees this work as a stepping stone for many of them. “They have an amazing work ethic and attitude.” His goal is to maintain a happy work environment and ultimately develop leaders for his store and elsewhere. “The opportunity is definitely there for them,” he says. “They are hard workers.”
For more information on how you can help newly resettled refugees in Wichita, please contact the IRC in Wichita at 316-351-5495.