Raizelle always knew that she wanted to work in the hospitality industry. During her first internship in Human Resources in high school, she fell in love with the field and decided to dedicate her career to supporting teams and creating positive company cultures. After working at various top international hospitality companies, Raizelle began at Eataly Toronto in 2019 as the HR Business Partner. She was the first team member to join us in Canada, and she led the recruiting efforts to build a team of close to 500 people.
After the successful launch of Eataly in Canada, Raizelle’s responsibilities expanded to overseeing Human Resources at Eataly Chicago. Raizelle is particularly committed to employee engagement. She makes it her priority to ensure Eataly is a place where everyone feels included, can learn and grow, and has fun every day.
How did you get started at Eataly?
“When I visited my first Eataly in Chicago, I was so impressed with the different products and offerings, restaurants, and all the food. At first when you walk into an Eataly, it’s a little bit overwhelming because you don’t know where to go because you’re so excited. I actually said ‘Oh, I wish we had this in Toronto. I would definitely enjoy working here.’ And then it happened in 2019! Now, I’m also overseeing HR in Chicago. So it’s a cool, full-circle moment.”
What was it like to open Eataly Toronto – the first Eataly in Canada?
“I was the first employee here. It was amazing to structure the HR team, the restaurant team, the retail team, all of the store’s recruiting and training for around 500 team members. When we opened, it was so fulfilling to see it all come together. And then the pandemic happened right after opening. The challenge then became – how do we engage and take care of our team even though half of our store is closed? Our management team had to think differently and creatively. We did things like offer online classes, free groceries, and free parking. We managed to build and maintain a company culture even through this period so we could pick back up when circumstances allowed.”
In your own words, what is the role of an HR Business Partner at Eataly?
“I work alongside the management and operations team to create good morale and a positive culture in our stores. As HR, we provide the tools and resources for our team to be successful. From servers, to cashiers, all the way up to the General Manager of Restaurants, we discuss stories and career planning. We love to promote internally and give opportunities to grow within the company. Overall, my job is to support our team. Sometimes this also means jumping behind the register if we are short on cashiers and the store is busy. I’m here to help, and I love it!”
What makes Eataly unique as an employer?
“First and foremost, the opportunity for growth – whether it’s lateral, upward, or between stores. I also think the level of passion here is one of a kind. You can see the managers really love and care about what they do. Finally, even though there are so many different departments at Eataly, it doesn’t feel like we are separated. We are one team. It’s often hard to create this feeling in big companies where there are lots of moving parts. The togetherness aspect is something very unique and special. At Eataly, regardless of position, we help each other out. We all want to be successful, and it’s really nice.”
Outside of Eataly, what do you like to do?
“I love snowboarding. It keeps me outside and having fun during cold Toronto winters. I also am on a dragon boat team. And I love to travel. Some of my favorite places I’ve traveled to are Italy, Morocco, and hiking on Machu Picchu.”