While at Romdeng, the upscale Khmer restaurant of the Friends International, I talked with one of the local managers about their success in outplacement for the staff there. What I learned was right in line with what I’ve been blogging about with respect to market power.
The Friends International hospitality program has 3 levels. In the first, students learn to cook Khmer food for the 300 kids in the children’s program. Then in the second level, they move onto Romndeng, where they learn gourmet Khmer cooking as well as how to be a waiter at a nice restaurant. And for the third level, they move to Friend the Restaurant, where they also learn to cook western food. And that’s where the market power came in.
I learned that although some students wish to leave the program after the second level to find work, they strongly encourage them finish the third level. Why? Because they know that there is unmet demand for cooks that can both local AND Western cooking.
Thus by staying for the third level, students are building important market power that will give them higher wages and better job stability. They’ll be in demand. This is precisely the type of strategic thinking that brings a social enterprise’s impact from good to great.