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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Help Employees Accumulate Wealth

Employees at Mo's have excellent medical benefits and a 401(k) plan.

Key Question:


Cindy uses fixed and variable compensation plans to maintain a strong team of valued employees. Fixed compensation, fair salaries and benefit plans, are something each employee can count on. Cindy makes her employees feel safe and secure. This keeps morale high and turnover, always costly to any business, low. But what’s really special about Cindy’s compensation plan is her variable compensation. The trip to Hawaii doesn’t happen every year. But in a year when breakage was low and there were no accidents, Cindy demonstrated the direct connection between these events and profits by spending the money for the special trip. By doing this, she acknowledged the fact that both the low breakage and excellent safety record were a result of her employees efforts.

Think about it

Do you have both a fixed and a variable compensation plan for your employees? Do they know how their actions affect the company's profits?

Clip from: Mos Chowder

Newport, Oregon: Cindy McEntee came to our attention because she was the state of Oregon's Small Business Person of the Year. Then, when we looked further, we found many more awards and citations. To be selected as the study for a show, a business must come up on everyone's list as being " ... loved by their community and respected within their industry."

In this episode of the show, we continue our walk down the Main Streets of America to see how one person with a vision has transformed the town where she was born and where she has chosen to stay. Life here is so rich with the intangibles that even her children have returned to this little seaport town and are helping to build the business and family legacy.

From a little joint on a narrow little street to the big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, we discover how a fisherman's hangout becomes a national treasure.

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Mo's Chowder

Mo's Chowder, A family

622 SW Bay Blvd.
Newport, OR 97365

Visit our web site:

Office: 541-265-2979

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1951

Help Employees Accumulate Wealth

CINDY: We have monthly meetings where the whole staff comes. I want them all to say something. Often we have 15 minute little training sessions. I'll often have a person there that may have a technique on customer service. We have customer comment cards and I bring the comment cards, good and bad, to the meeting. We make sure that the people know all of the good things that were said about them -- if it's personal. Then there might be a comment like, "the food was cold, or my fish was undercooked or my fish was overcooked or the chowder wasn't hot" -- which is like a cardinal sin.

Those things, we bring them up. It's like, "Hello, the chowder wasn't hot? Can anybody explain this incident?" We have the day and the time that it all happened. So, we know exactly when and where. So, it's discussed as a group, and if there is a decision to make, I ask them, "What should we do about this?"

There are like maybe 15 key people. Those are the people that have worked here 10 or more years. I let them look at what I have to deal with. And, ask, "Okay guys, it's a group decision here – it affects everyone of us – so?"

HATTIE: Do you think it's critical and it helps you to share numbers? I mean, so that when you share numbers people here understand you are doing this FICA match and you are putting dollars in their 401K Plan – and that helps.

CINDY: It does help. Because they become aware of how much the dishes cost. When you drop that tray of dishes, they know how much it costs!

Now, I took them all to Hawaii a couple of years ago and --

HATTIE: Wait a minute – everybody?

CINDY: Everybody.

HATTIE: How many people?

CINDY: I think there were 47 of us.

HATTIE: Everybody went to Hawaii?

CINDY: Everybody. And we had a really great time. But, one of the reasons they got to go is that we had the least amount of breakage in dishes. We had no accident reports. I mean, it was one of these incredible years. It wasn't necessarily a good business year, but it was a really good year all the way around otherwise.

Employee: It's a personal relationship. It's, you know, a boss and employee but it's also a friend and a personal concern with your life, your family.

CINDY: We do a lot of stuff like that. We'll do like – kind of like working weekends. Make arrangements for maybe 12 or 14 of them with their spouses and we'll go to like a restaurant show. They see the new products and the new things available that might make their jobs easier. Like pan liners for chowder pots. Now there is not someone scrubbing pots at 11 o'clock at night anymore. They pull those out – each pot – and throw it in the garbage. And they can basically run those pots right through the dishwasher now.

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