Of the many features of foodservice lost in the pandemic, from salad bars to packed indoor seating, the loss of service with a smile has to be one of the most heartbreaking. Halal Shack founder and CEO Jamal Rasoully, an alum of SUNY Albany, has found a way to use badges as a surprisingly workable smile substitute.
“We started the Smile Behind the Mask campaign as a part of our continued effort to be more than amazing food,” Rasoully says. “When employees are in uniform and wearing all this protective gear, the simple human expressions that can change your day can be forgotten, so I personally wanted them to still have that ability.”
Photo: A Halal Shack employee—face obscured by a mask for safety—uses an instant photo badge to show his smile.
“We strive to connect with our customers, as they’re our extended family in many ways on college campuses across the country (Halal Shack is operating on nine college campuses with plans for more growth).”
Halal Shack’s brightly branded and in-the-know look lends itself well to graphic representations of the menu, and now the employees are able to virtually show their smiles through mini Polaroid pictures incorporated into their name tags.
The new name tags “really support our culture and values—at their core, which is to simply spread love and smile,” Rasoully says. “In our new normal, our team is trying its best to provide the best experience for our patrons that helps make the dining experience more familiar and comfortable at school, where there are so many restrictions.”
From the employee standpoint, the campaign also serves to highlight team members, Rasoully adds. “Our teams across the country have come a long way and are doing a rock star job helping execute—through safety and caution—our most challenging semester to date.”
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