Oliver & Bonacini: Creating “Buzz” with Employee Engagement

Catherine Mills    May 31, 2016

Employee engagement is a vital element of a successful and productive work environment. 1  Companies like Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants (herein referred to as “O&B”) have been empowering their employees for years, which has helped them become one of Canada’s top fine dining restaurant companies. Their employees are passionate, energetic and have a sense of pride when speaking about their employers. O&B operates a portfolio of unique and innovative restaurants across Ontario3.

The drivers of employee engagement are complex, ranging from participation in decision making, to connecting ideas through internal communication, which ultimately leads to employees feeling valued and involved2.  O&B created an internal website called “OB Buzz” that serves as an online extension of company culture. Employees are empowered with immediate access to OB Buzz upon hiring; a warm welcome that sets the tone for open communication from the start. The internal website offers information on a variety of content such as event updates, training, health & safety information, the employee referral program, the employee assistance program, industry trends and much more. This site also hosts an internal message board which provides employees the opportunity to learn from the experience and expertise of their colleagues through direct online dialogue. This helps to build a sense of community among O&B employees throughout the company.



Each of the restaurants within the O&B umbrella has individual handles for their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Each social media account is managed at the restaurant level, as each restaurant concept offers a unique experience that is best captured on the front lines; however they are all provided with support from the corporate office by a Social Media Specialist and team of mentors which help the restaurant teams to grow and learn. O&B has even come up with their own internal hashtags to unite their team of staff across every location. During the internal development programs for their chefs, staff members contribute by posting pictures and writing blogs about various events. Team members are invited to tweet and post on message boards all using the same hashtag #RealChefsWorkHere.

Lessons for Others

It is important for brand identity and corporate culture to position employees to participate and engage on social media as brand ambassadors. Having employees “like” and share content allows for maximum exposure on social media and puts businesses in a better position to have their message heard by the right people at the right time 4.

Engaged Employees:

  1. 50% post pictures, videos, and messages about employers on Social Media
  2. 33% have share unsolicited praise or positive feedback
  3. 24% are most likely to help boost sales than an unengaged employee

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Catherine Maxwell, Recruitment Assistant for O&B.  She has been with the company for many years and she spoke very highly of her time there.  One thing she said that stuck with me was “O&B is not just another job, it is a lifestyle.”

O&B really does create a buzz when it comes to employee engagement!


Organization: Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants
Industry: Restaurant
Name of Organization Contact: Catherine Maxwell, Recruitment Assistant

Authored by: Catherine Mills

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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Unknown. “Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants – Our Company.” Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants – Our Company. O&B Restaurants, 2016. Web. 30 May 2016. <https://www.oliverbonacini.com/OurCompany.aspx>3

Wasyluk, Andrew. “The Importance of Employee Engagement | Bambu by Sprout Social.” Bambu by Sprout Social. 05 Oct. 2015. Web. 30 May 2016. <https://getbambu.com/blog/importance-of-employee-engagement/>.4