by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search
The challenges of finding job candidates over the past decade are well-known — the War for Talent has lasted so long it’s become a platitude. But what are the reasons behind this immense and seemingly intractable issue? What’s causing the incredible shrinking labor pool? And more importantly, how can employers create an effective, cost-efficient and sustainable talent acquisition strategy that overcomes their labor hurdles and keeps them operating at full capacity?
The US has added jobs for 104 consecutive months — the longest streak on record — according to the Department of Labor. With the U.S. economy continuing to outperform expectations, employers are still adding jobs at a steady clip.
For white-collar jobs, the hiring outlook for 2019 is even hotter.Employers surveyed in a recent study by Michigan State’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute, expect to recruit 13 percent more bachelor’s degree graduates during the upcoming school year compared with last year, creating the ninth consecutive year of steady hiring expansion. “It’s the longest sustained period of growth for the college labor market since 1970, since we’ve been tracking it,” says Phil Gardner, the study’s author and director.
It’s clear that the volume of new job openings and record low unemployment rates have made hiring an issue for many employers. However, there are ways to address the trend. Here are a few strategic ways employers can make sure they have enough workers to sustain their business:
Ensure market-rate wages – After a long period of generally tepid growth in wages, notes Staffing Industry Analysts, “there is a palpable anticipation that continued robust growth in employment will eventually drive wages, as remaining slack in the labor market is removed.”
by John Gordon, Principal & Founder of Pacific Management Consulting Group
In our industry we hear the phrase over and over: “it is incremental”. This spurns questions, debates, tests and more analysis on the part of some restaurant operators, while others see incremental as a signal to do something quickly before their brand is left behind.
One recent example of this is the debate underway within the restaurant space is whether delivery is contributing new customers. Some restaurant operators and 3rd party delivery providers passionately claim that delivery is incremental (e.g., see Restaurant Business piece by Peter Romeo  but yet others claim that it can’t be (e.g., Dominos (DPZ) CEO Rich Allison noting the industry is still producing negative traffic despite all the delivery business claimed) Another most recent incrementality question involves meat alternatives (e.g., meatless); hit rates have jumped up to the mid-single digits in many operators and one study reported a 18% April traffic bump at Burger King in its St. Louis meatless trial, but is it incremental?
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
~ Steve Jobs
Industry Outlook for 2019 Second Half
By Kevin Stockslager, Senior Vice President, Wray Executive Search
After a strong second half of 2018 and solid start to 2019, as same store sales increased 2.1% in January, the restaurant industry stumbled a bit in recent months. Same store sales declined in February (-0.6%) and April (-0,4%), combined with more months of declining traffic. However, industry same store sales grew 1.1% in May, leading to some optimism heading into the summer months. Another month of declining traffic (down 2.1% in May) continues to concern operators, as relying on increasing guest check to drive same store sales does not look to be sustainable.
Restaurant operations continue to battle many of the same issues that concerned the industry much of 2018. In a recent survey, operators cited labor issues as the most critical concerns. In particular, recruiting & retaining quality employees and keeping restaurants fully staffed were mentioned. Additionally, continued declines in traffic, increases in expenses & costs, and implementing relevant technology were cited as top concerns among operators.
by Rebecca Patt, Senior Vice President of Development, Wray Executive Search
Former TGI Fridays president and COO Ricky Richardson became CEO of breakfast and lunch concept Eggs Up Grill in 2018. The 34-unit chain is growing throughout the Southeast. Eggs Up Grill, founded in 1986, was acquired in March 2018 by private-investment firm WJ Partners.
What inspired you to join Eggs Up Grill?
After spending a number of years in C-suite roles at TGI Fridays, which is the global casual dining leader, I wanted to pursue an opportunity that allowed me to more closely experience what I’ve always enjoyed about the restaurant industry – seeing smiles on guests’ faces when we provide them with great-tasting food in the best environment.
Personally, I have always been energized in my career when I’m part of high-growth environments. There’s a unique energy created during this phase. Joining a small but successful concept like Eggs Up Grill was highly attractive to me. I immediately recognized the growth opportunity, and we are already seeing it come to fruition across the Southeast. My expectations have been more than exceeded by the quality of our franchise partners, the team I work with, our accelerated growth… and most importantly (honestly), the smiles we’re putting on the faces of our guests. That’s how I measure success.