What are the keys to employee retention? At White Castle’s bakery in Cincinnati, many employees have worked for the company for 25 to 30 years, noted Cierra Fraser, plant manager. Companywide, one in four employees has been with the chain for at least 10 years.

“When you talk about the tenure that we have here, that comes from genuine good relationships between sanitation, maintenance, production,” Ms. Fraser said. “We have a really good, strong team all the way from the top.”

The company is a big proponent of AIB International’s online programs as well as RedVector for training maintenance personnel. However, a lot of the learning came in a very public way when Dave Rife, chief manufacturing officer, participated in Undercover Boss in 2010 when he really developed a respect for what his employees did every day.

Bakers may enjoy how he struggled with the old bagger and ruined about 4,800 buns in short order. Afterward, the production supervisor pointed out that the buns wouldn’t go to waste because a local hog farmer would use them.

“You fed the pigs really well this week,” the supervisor deadpanned.

During Baking & Snack’s tour, Mr. Rife stood in the upgraded bakery watching the robotics dance in the seamless operation for about a minute in silence. Asked what he was reminiscing about, Mr. Rife replied, “I was just thinking about how much easier it is today.”

Check out Undercover Boss on the web to learn more about what Mr. Rife learned about his company and editor Charlotte Atchley’s video interview with him on www.bakingbusiness.com about how White Castle invested in its Cincinnati bakery to make the workplace better for everyone. (The story and video may be found at https://www.bakingbusiness.com/articles/54187-white-castles-bakery-conquers-the-crave).