For the 10th anniversary of the opening of The Majestic Grille, owners Patrick and Deni Reilly needed a gift that showed not only how much they appreciated the staff for helping make the restaurant successful, but more importantly, how much they loved their employees.
A free steak dinner wouldn't cut it. An employee of the month program wouldn't do.
So when the couple gathered their employees at an anniversary party earlier this year they rewarded their 75 hourly workers with something uncommon for the Memphis area's 42,000 restaurant workers: 40 hours of paid time off.
"I couldn't believe my ears," said Michael Palmer who's worked at the Downtown restaurant for eight years. "It was too good to be true. We were floored."
McEwen's also offers a 401(k) plan with a match for all of its employees.
So does Huey's, said Lauren Dean Robinson, president of the Memphis chain.
She said benefits at Huey's have increased as the business grew from the original restaurant at 192 Madison, opened in 1970 by Robinson's late father Thomas Boggs, to a company with eight locations and 425 employees.
"It's really hard for a "mom and pop with just one location to offer those kinds of benefits," Robinson said.