McGee’s Scot-Irish Pub dishes out free on-site childcare as service to staff

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ANDERSON, SC (WSPA)–As employers are struggling to find workers, McGee’s Scot-Irish Pub and Restaurant, is getting innovative and dishing out childcare as a free service to its staff.

The owners of the downtown Anderson establishment said, the pandemic forced them to make adjustments to bring on more employees and retain the ones they have.

“In that 25 years, we’ve probably seen four or five recessions and figured we probably seen the best and the worst that life could dish out to a restaurant business until last year happened,” said John Benca, Owner of McGee’s Scot-Irish Pub & Restaurant. “That presented a whole series of new challenges not just for us, and our family and our business, and our downtown community, as well.”

Within the last three weeks, the owners hired two full-time “pub-sitters” for their service staff. Benca said a big challenge for many employees, was the lack of childcare while they worked.

“Over the last six to nine months, it has been a challenge to find help to replace people that come and go,” John said.

One server said she experienced this firsthand at other jobs as a single mom of three.

“I was actually in the middle of changing jobs and looking for other jobs and had literally just done an interview. Had two job offers, and one of my friends showed the post of Mcgee’s and they told the hours, that they had daycare stuff set-up to run,” said Loren Lenz, server at McGee’s Scot-Irish Pub. “That was the whole point that I took the job, because I am a single mom and it is extremely expensive for daycare. I have three kids. Yes, that was my main driving force to even switch from manufacturing back to the food industry,” Lenz said.  

“We had interviewed several people and even hired some, and I’ve had people with babies that worked for me in the past and women who are pregnant, and they made it clear to us the cost associated with being able to have their children safely taken care of,” John said. “And this one particular issue just kept resonating with us, especially after we had our son Sam, to help find a good solution for.”

Now in an old banquet room, just feet away from the pub’s kitchen, children are provided food, fun, and learning–as if they’re in their own homes.

“It relieves a lot of anxiety and pressure off of a parent, that in the past, would have to leave and go handle a situation at home or relieve a babysitter,” John said.

The owners said so far, their innovative idea has worked.

“We just hired a part-time server who applied to us specifically, because we were offering this service and she’s getting started this week,” said Dixie Benca, Owner of McGee’s Scot-Irish Pub & Restaurant.

“So our initial thought was, if we could help them solve that problem and take that issue off the table, maybe subsidize part of that, then the wages that they’re actually earning and the tips, can actually make a difference in their lives. And now they’re working for something, instead of working to just pay a bill,” John said.

The owners hope other employers will start a program for their employees.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for our people. We think it’s a great model that maybe if other restaurants with the same situation, they should probably take a look at it and see if it’s something that could work for them too,” John said. “It’s working for us right now and we’re looking forward to keeping it for many many years to come,” John said. “I can see a vision of public and private partnership, maybe some opportunity space. Maybe even in our downtown area where all of the competitive restaurants can go ahead and access the same situation, and we all pay into it,” John explained.

Lenz said she is grateful to have this service, as she continues to make money.

“I am very grateful and very appreciative of them because there are nights, just like at any restaurants where you might have a slow night, or something happens or whatever,” Lenz said. “And they essentially let me work and that money that would go towards the babysitter and their food and stuff for that night, I don’t have to worry about paying because it’s handled by them. So, I’m able to come in and have my kids near me and still be able to make money to give them a life that is stable and secure,” Lenz said.

To see how you can join the McGee’s Scot-Irish Pub and Restaurant team, click here.

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