QSR Symposium Raises the Bar on People

By Curt Archambualt - President, Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART)Just returned from People Reports second annual QSR Symposium and I have to say that is was an excellent event and one that I would highly recommend. The theme for the 2nd Annual People Report QSR Symposium held at the Las Colinas Marriott in Dallas, Texas on June 24th and 25th was “Now More Than Ever, PEOPLE MATTER”. Joni Doolin and her team at People Report did a fantastic job pulling together a conference that exceeded the participants expectations of that theme. The two day event was filled with excellent speakers that made it abundantly clear to all those in attendance that the war on talent is heating up. Only those companies that understand the root cause of success is in the people these companies hire, train, recognize, reward,and develop, will be the companies that will be able to sustain high levels of performance.The event was hosted seamlessly by Jim Lynde, SVP People for Sagittarius Brands who not only kept the conference on track but offered interesting tidbits of information throughout the conference. Teresa Siriani, President of People Report partnered with Bill Schaffler, CFO & CAO of People Report to present the latest findings from People Report. Not only was the information very insightful but the purposful collaboration between the Teresa and Bill demonstrated to the audience that CFO’s get it and need to be part of the people dialouge.The lineup of key note and break out speakers was outstanding. Steve Bigari former McDonalds franchisee and currently with America’s Family, a non-profit that focuses on helping the working poor in America, discussed how we as employers need to take responsibility to assist our employees in becoming successful. Jon Luther, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands shared his 40+ years of insights in how leadership plays a critical role in the lives of employees. Eric Chester provided his always energetic and informative presentation on the Generation Y employee and what employers can do to attract and retain this group of people.A panel that included Jose Tomas, VP of Human Resources, Burger King, Jeff Sinelli, Founder & CEO of Which Wich, and Amanda Hite, Founder and Change Agent, Talent Revolution discussed the key ways to target Generation Y people for employment in the industry. The panel was moderated by Kacy Oden and Shyam Patel from People Report and was a great follow up to Eric Chester. There were three excellent breakout sessions lead by Gerry Fernandez, MFHA, Joleen Flory, Elliott Leadership Institute, and Eric Chester, Gerneration Why.The afternoon of the second day was filled with very spirited presentations that kep the energy level high. Harsha Agadi, President & CEO, Church’s Chicken shared with the group how he and his awesome team have turned that chain around through very thoughtful tactics that are geared at helping the employees of that chain to become franchisees. Penelope Trunk, Author, The Brazen Careerist continued the energy level by discussing her 7 important things leaders in organizations can do to address the needs of the Generation Y employee. Her matter of fact and direct delivery of the content kept people engaged throughout here session. Andrea Gappmayer, Carrot Culture, wrapped up the conference with a great presentation on the value and importance of building a rewards and recognition culture in the organization.The highlight of the People Report QSR Symposium was the panel of Shift Leaders that was moderated by Kathleen Wood, Founder Kathleen Wood Partners. This group of Shift Leaders from Taco Bell, Eintein’s, Whataburger, and Checkers provided an energetic insight into the thoughts and lives of the people running the restaurant. The awesome group of Shift Leaders reinforced that there are fantastic, intelligent, inspirational people running our shifts and delivering on expectations. The main takeaway from this session is to look for what you want in people and they will return a great deal back.Again, Joni Doolin and her team did an absolutely outstanding job providing great information, excellent networking opportunities, and wonderful hospitality to all of the attendees. Next years conference is slated for early June and if you are a QSR operation, is a must attend.The thing that has stuck with me since I have returned is that all that was discussed made a heck of a lot of sense. In a nutshell, take care of your people through both good and difficult times and a business will be well rewarded. Why then is it that in our industry, when times get tough, the first thing we do is cut the training process? Is it that old habits are hard to eliminate? Bill Schaffler, CFO & CAO of People Report shared that the number one concern of CFO's in our industry is the shortage of talent. Seems to be a conflict here don't you think? If that is the number one concern then why are cuts being made to people systems. The good news is that Bill is one of those CFO's that gets it and is advocating capital investment in people in the same manner as the capital investments in menu and facility.How do I know that there are cuts being made to training in our industry, well at the CHART conference in Minneapolis this past February, we polled our attendees and over 7 out of 10 attendees said they were facing either staffing, budget, and/or program cuts as a response to the current economic conditions. When will the people who have control over the money understand that to make money, investments in people will always create a return on investment?
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