The HotSchedules team joined thousands of exhibitors and attendees in Chicago to gauge the temperature of the restaurant industry — the latest trends, the newest products, and the most pressing restaurant management concerns. Now that we’re back and have had some time to digest all of the information (not to mention all the free food), here are our big NRA takeaways.
Restaurant owners are tired of paper schedules.
That’s right. Many restaurant operators we spoke with at the show agree that paper scheduling is a timesuck, and if they haven’t made the switch to electronic scheduling yet, they’re looking to soon. But think about it; you didn’t hire your managers to manage a spreadsheet. You hired them to manage a restaurant — to make sure your customers have great experiences and keep coming back. Electronic scheduling will help your managers get out of “spreadsheet hell” and get back on the floor, leading your teams! Speaking of which…
It’s time to make you managers leaders.
During our discussion with Donald Burns, The Restaurant Coach, we explored the importance of capitalizing on managers’ potential. “A manager manages a shift,” Burns says. “We need a mindset shift to leadership.”
And leadership is more than a beefier paycheck. Good leadership — leading by example — requires growth and opportunities. Be more thoughtful with your employees, and provide paths for growth within your business. Your managers want to expand their skillsets, so you need to give them authentic, constructive feedback. If you engage your employees, they’re more likely to invest in their jobs.
During a session May 20, HotSchedules Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer David Cantu took a deep dive into how operators can better engage employees. Employees respond to a company with core values they can get behind! It’s important to provide mentorship and tools intended to keep team members connected and engaged in their jobs. That engagement translates into increased productivity and profitability, and decreases in turnover.
Finally… don’t go to NRA on a diet.
And if you do, expect the entire weekend to be one giant cheat day. From All-American classics like hot dogs and cheesesteaks to trendier fare (sushi burritos, anyone?), the industry’s top brands cook up free samples all weekend, giving attendees a big taste of what makes this business so great.