• A Journey Into Contemporary Food and Education at The Field Museum

  • Blue Heron Café, Storage, Dining Rooms & Central Kitchen at Vicar’s Landing Continuing Care Retirement Community in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

  • The Fresh Face of Corporate Dining

  • DSR of the Month, September 2014: Troy Little, Contract and Design Specialist Rapids Wholesale Equipment Co., Marion, Iowa

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jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

Meaningful Value: Innovation and Information Sharing

W hen the economy tanked seven years ago, innovation became the panacea that was going to cure everyone's fiscal ills. Business leaders and politicians tripped over each other in a race to the microphone to let everyone know they were ready to lead the charge toward innovation, which ultimately would spark the economic growth the U.S. so desperately needed to break free from its economic tailspin.

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jMartinez
Juan Martinez

Designing for Flexibility: How Much Can You Afford Not to Do?

Many factors come into play when designing a restaurant. The décor and ambience represent obvious considerations but one design element many concepts fail to consider is building flexibility into the front-of-house, middle-of-house and back-of-house designs.

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jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Burger King Gets Heat for Proposed Move while McDonald’s Feels the Crunch Despite Positive Advance Sales Reports for August

This Week In Foodservice looks at good sales numbers in August from both the government and Knapp Track, provides a look at a Federal Reserve study on why the economy is so soft, and covers a bunch of news on both McDonald’s and Burger King as well as a whole lot more.

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Greg Christian
Greg Christian

Outcomes for Year One of a New, Self-Op School Lunch Program

As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close, I'd like to share the final outcomes of Nardin Academy's new self-operated foodservice program.

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Highlights

Dine America 2011: A Great Industry Gathering

Industry pros came together to inspire and enlighten

 

Dine America 2011 has concluded! Kudos to the organizing team for putting on such a great show.

We had the opportunity to be one of the sponsors for this conference for restaurant leaders that took place Oct. 9-11 in Atlanta. It was an action-packed couple of days, with learning and networking opportunities at every turn. I was able to walk away with a few key lessons from a number of speakers and want to share them with you in this post.

The tone for the session was upbeat, with all attendees — restaurant operators and suppliers alike — feeling good about how their businesses are progressing and optimistic that the business climate will get even better.

Keynote speaker Kat Cole, president and CEO of Cinnabon, a Roark Capital Brand, kicked things off on an inspirational note by discussing the career path she's traveled and sharing some great insights to her success. Two of Cole's many wonderful points that resonated with me were, "don't just show up, but step up and speak up" and "no borders, no boundaries."

Also on the agenda was Stew Leonard, CEO and president of Stew Leonard's Farm Fresh Foods. Leonard discussed his company's strategic approach of "fresh today , do it again tomorrow" and encouraged us to speak of a quality mindset.

Leonard also discussed his company's two legendary rules for customer service: First rule being the customer is always right and the second rule being that when the customer is wrong, refer to the first rule. While being customer-centric is important, Leonard cautioned us that "you cannot have a great place to shop, until you have a great place to work." Indeed, designing a team-member focused culture requires both intangible and tangible or ergonomic principles. 

A presentation done by a speaker from Google provided us with an interesting view on what is coming in the future. If you have not heard about Google Wallet, I encourage you to take time to look into this. Wow! One of their messages was "Be found, be local, be creative, be integrated and be social."

Gregg Lederman from Brand Integrity suggested that when examining customer service, a concern to every business today, start by assessing how behaviors are being executed on both sides of the transaction. Make sure the employees know what to do, how to do it and why they are doing it. This is the best way to drive employee engagement. Just telling foodservice staff that the customers are "guests" is not sufficient to make sure that they are treated as such. In sharing his success stories, David Davoudpour, Shoney's chairman and CEO, focused on three key principles: simplicity, innovation and giving back to the community.

In between each speaker there was plenty of time to interface with the attendees and share with them new concepts from the sponsors. Here is one example that generated some interesting conversations: a computer simulation of a restaurant with a drive-thru.

Congratulations to the Dine America team, for setting up such a dynamic session, with many great messages from the speakers and panelists as well as innovative products from several vendors.

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