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Learning at The National Restaurant Show

The 2018 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago kicked off today with some wonderful learning opportunities for small business owners. With over 43000 attendees and hundreds of exhibitors in virtually every realm of foodservice, there is something for everyone. Here’s todays takeaways from the McCormick Center Learning Center.

Restaurant owners oftentimes struggle with hiring and retaining staff, so we thought attending the Hire, Train, Reward, Retain session would be perfect kickoff for the weekend. T.J. Schier from smartrestaurantguides.com provided some key insight from knowing how to interview, removing C-level players, and cleaning up your company culture -  to how to hire the right person for the right position at your restaurant. T.J.’s emphasis on structure, motivation, and recognition for staff lead to his retention tips on incentivizing, on-the-spot recognition, and giving employees a “fraction of the action”.

Since The National Restaurant Association is about to roll out their own training program, our next session, ServSuccess, Stronger Workforce, Stronger Industry was a natural stop. Sara Anderson, Director of Workforce Development for the National Restaurant Association, and Ronald Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Virgil, Inc. saw the need for the industry to attract and retain more talent and created a program that restaurant owners can implement at their establishments. Key areas of this program consist of best in class learning, with industry-wide certifications. Job seeker tools including access to employment listings, an assessment and developmental roadmap with a neat tool called “what am I good at?” which may give a person outside of the restaurant industry insight into where they could flourish. What’s helpful about this learning system is that it provides credentialing and training at each career level and acts as a developmental resource, so the sky is the limit.

Wrapping up today’s excitement was The Power of Foodservice at Retail, courtesy of Amanda Topper, Associate Director of Foodservice Research at Mintel. Amanda gave some wonderful insight into how foodservice is evolving at grocery stores.  Did you know 40% of people purchase prepared foods from a grocery or discount store? Not only that, but 28% of people want even more grab-and-go options. Not surprisingly, millennials are leading the charge when it comes to convenience, freshness, and demanding customizable options. So, what’s next? Grocery stores partnering with new restaurants or creating their own. From Whole Foods “Roast” restaurant, to Hy-Vee partnering Orange Theory and Wahlburger’s – yes, you are reading that correctly. You can go to Hy-Vee, take a fitness class, and then have a juicy burger to wrap up your experience. With growing competition, grocery stores are finding creative ways of being competitive. The key takeaways from this session were: experiences are everything. Convenience remains important. Focus on freshness. And competition is growing.

Stay tuned for coverage from the National Restaurant Association Show!
 
 

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