Portillo’s Restaurant Chain Uses UKG Pro to Advance Retention Strategy

April 26, 2022, LOWELL, Mass., and WESTON, Fla.

UKG, a leading provider of HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people, announced that Portillo’s, a fast-casual restaurant chain famous for its unrivaled Chicago street food, is using UKG Pro to address industry challenges.

Founded in 1963, Portillo’s has grown to include restaurants in more than 70 locations across nine U.S. states. A UKG customer since 2007, Portillo’s has relied on Pro recently to adapt to changing conditions in the industry, especially related to attracting and retaining talent.

“The current business environment in the hospitality space means that culture is more important than ever. Portillo’s is a values-based organization, so in addition to paying competitive wages, we must maximize the engagement of our team members, and embrace team members as part of the Portillo’s family,” said Jeanene Isaac, vice president of total rewards and HR operations at Portillo’s. “UKG Pro People Analytics makes it easy for me to quickly pull reports related to pay, demographics, turnover, and current headcount, so the company can make informed business decisions that help to staff our restaurants and retain our team members.”

Isaac reported that Pro’s functionality and usability help the company use technology to create memorable experiences for guests and to be an employer of choice, which is especially important as businesses try to meet customer demand while also navigating the ongoing Great Resignation. According to UKG data, workforce activity in the hospitality and food services industry grew by 5.1% in February 2022, even though turnover rates continue to hover near record highs, further emphasizing the need for a people-first technology experience.

“For our multigenerational workforce, our high-quality workplace technology is a competitive advantage,” said Isaac. “My team has been promoting the UKG Pro mobile app to give employees the power right in their hands to check pay statements or participate in benefits enrollment. Our team members don’t need to wait for a desktop computer to become available at the restaurant and can interact with their HR information at a time and place convenient for them.”

Isaac noted that Pro’s comprehensive solution is a key feature of its HR software that focuses on employee needs. Employees have the same user experience at Portillo’s across the human capital management (HCM) product lifecycle, including recruiting, onboarding, benefits administration, and UKG Pro Learning. Equally important, Isaac knows she can count on UKG customer support for concerns with any aspect of the solution.

“Our account team is always available to us, and we get quick responses,” said Isaac. “They have been fabulous to work with, and the feedback from Portillo’s across departments has been exceptional — HR, payroll, and IT. UKG customer service is an extension of our team.”

“The current restaurant environment requires an HCM solution that is agile, highly engaging, and easy to use for administrators and employees,” said Chris Todd, president at UKG. “We are pleased to see how Portillo’s is using Pro as critical infrastructure to gain operational visibility, build employee trust, and link higher engagement with better business outcomes.”

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About UKG

At UKG, our purpose is people. As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, we champion great workplaces and build lifelong partnerships with our customers to show what’s possible when businesses invest in their people. Born from a historic merger that created one of the world’s leading HCM cloud companies, our Life-work Technology approach to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people helps 50,000 organizations around the globe and across every industry anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs beyond just work. To learn more, visit ukg.com.

About Portillo’s

In 1963, Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a small trailer to open the first Portillo’s hot dog stand in Villa Park, Ill., which he called “The Dog House.” Years later, Portillo’s has grown to include 71 restaurants across nine states. Portillo’s is best known for its Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, fresh salads, and famous chocolate cake. Portillo’s ships food to all 50 states via Portillos.com. Portillo’s Home Kitchen is the company’s fast-growing catering business.

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