Legendary Food and Legendary Service

With thousands of employees, and over 600 locations managed by local managing partners, Texas Roadhouse needed a unifying solution to recognize employees and give them more options to redeem their rewards and increase compliance with budgets and taxes. They found all that and more with Awardco.

Play Video

At A Glance

96,000 recognitions since program start
209.2% average increase in annual recognitions
5,500+ work anniversaries celebrated


How do you unify employee recognition across multiple locations?

When Texas Roadhouse began, there was one location in Clarksville, Indiana. As the concept grew and began to open more restaurants across the United States the employee base grew quickly as well, with each store employing approximately 200 people. As the growth continued through the 1990’s and 2000’s, Texas Roadhouse soon came to a crossroads with their employee recognition programs: there was no unifying strategy to help recognize and reward employees.

The hospitality and food service industry faces a recurring problem: the average annual turnover rate is 73.8%, and over 6% of staff leave every month. With an industry average of nearly 2/3 of staff leaving every year, and the average cost of turnover per employee in hospitality amounting to $5,864, Texas Roadhouse has always focused on celebrating their people, so they believed in focusing on even better ways to recognize their employees.

In the beginning, each Texas Roadhouse location was managed by a managing partner who took it upon themselves to ensure their employees were recognized regularly. This often resulted in each store having a different program, and different employee rewards, and it was incredibly difficult for Texas Roadhouse to track as a whole. Tax compliance, tracking spend, and making sure employees were all receiving recognition for exemplary work became unmanageable over time. 

“Managing partners are the ones that run the stores, and we call them the center of our universe,” says Storey O’Barr at Texas Roadhouse. “We saw a need for a solution to recognize employees, give more redemption options than gift cards, and to streamline it under one umbrella all while keeping it transparent and tax compliant. All of this made it difficult for our Support Center Team to track recognition budgets at our stores.” 

Multiple locations? No problem.

Multiple locations? No problem.

Prior to working with Awardco, Texas Roadhouse partnered with a recognition company for service awards for their corporate office, but this solution wasn’t scalable to each of the individual stores, and expanding it to spot recognition programs would have taken months. After conducting an RFP and connecting with Awardco founder and CEO Steve Sonnenberg, Texas Roadhouse decided to switch to Awardco because it was simple, user-friendly, and had all the capabilities they needed. 

Originally starting with service awards, Texas Roadhouse soon found that Awardco’s employee recognition platform could do much more than that. Spot recognition programs that allowed managers to recognize employees on the spot, as well as programs for employees to recognize each other, had been a part of the company’s culture since the beginning, but Awardco made recognition more streamlined across the organization. 

Organizing, tracking, and facilitating these kinds of recognition across so many locations was exactly what Texas Roadhouse was looking for, and exactly what they found with Awardco. By continuing to build a strong company culture through recognition with Awardco, Texas Roadhouse has seen extremely positive feedback from employees and managers of the program. Typically a strong engagement strategy helps reduce turnover by 31% and generates 2.5x higher revenue growth than companies without a strong engagement strategy—and Texas Roadhouse can attest to each of these things. 

One employee's story.

“One of our employees needed their virtual gift card ASAP, but it had somehow gotten lost when it was sent,” says Storey. “I worked with Awardco and they immediately resolved the issue and I contacted the employee with their gift card. I didn’t know this at the time, but later found out that this employee needed that gift card to purchase something important: 

‘I needed this gift card to get an urn for my Mom who had recently passed away. Thank you so much for getting this to me so quickly!’

“Without Awardco’s exemplary service, we may not have been able to help this employee in time,” relates Storey. “And that’s typical of the service we enjoy with Awardco, whether that’s surrounding gift cards or the awards we offer through the platform.”

Texas Roadhouse’s implementation of Awardco has been so well received across the board that additional recognition programs are being considered for the future—namely onboarding and birthday celebrations—and they’re excited by how that can continue to help them make Texas Roadhouse a great place to work for their employees, and by extension provide the best service for their guests.

One employee's story.

One employee's story.

Managing multiple recognition programs for multiple locations has never been easier.

"We needed something to unify our recognition programs for all our different locations, and we found that and more with Awardco."
Storey O'Barr
Recognition and Communications Specialist

Texas Roadhouse

Since its beginnings in 1993, Texas Roadhouse has been a family-friendly restaurant that is known for their hand-cut steaks and made-from-scratch food. Texas Roadhouse has expanded internationally into 10 other countries—with over 600 locations—and continues to grow as they remain the hometown favorite with their Legendary Food and Legendary Service. Texas Roadhouse now employs over 78,000 people.
Visit Website
We use cookies to enhance your experience, read more.