by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search
Life may never be quite the same but clearly the restaurant industry going forward will look measurably different. Innovation, creativity, reinvention, and revised operating methodologies are the requisite actions to the COVID-19 crisis. In a consumer driven industry, it is the consumer who will drive many of these changes. Behaviors, needs, and reactions will determine what we do next. We are entering into a different operational and technological restaurant landscape and must move quickly to survive and thrive in the new world of personal safety and social behavior.
Curbside pickup will become part of virtually every full-service operation. Apps will allow for ordering, payment, communication, and pickup with the goal of minimal contact between patrons and staff. Off premise was a strong trend pre-COVID which has now moved lightyears ahead.
No-touch protocols for quick-service and fast casual drive thrus, will include ordering on an app and driving through, no-touch payment at the window, improved window-side sanitization practices, and likely the continued use of gloves.
by John Gordon, Principal & Founder, Pacific Management Consulting Group
We are 94 days in after our world changed immensely on March 12, 2020. To be sure, some good things are now going on. For one, the sequential pattern of same-store sales (SSS) improvement is apparent almost everywhere worldwide, especially in the US. For example, McDonald’s US SSS improved from minus 19% in April to minus 5% in May.
 However, many but not all fast-casual and casual dining and all fine dining brands are still materially negative SSS and are in negative cash burn territory. Darden is of course in a strong position with take out and delivery. Pizza and chicken brands are very hot; and drive-thrus and ability to leverage digital flexibility are seen as the keystones.
According to recent research presented by Lisa Miller & Associates, going out to dinner showed up very strongly in terms of aspirational “things I’d like to do” activities. The cautionary point is that the US public can be subdivided into five groups, from a group ready to and venturing out now, to a group very fearful/very cautious. The point is that it will take time to move the very cautious group to the “willing to go out group” and that in-store operations protocols and marketing messages must reinforce the journey.
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good.”
~ Elizabeth Edwards
Executive Chat with Reggie Wright, VP Development at Wray Executive Search
by Rebecca Patt, Senior Vice President of Development, Wray Executive Search
Reggie Wright joined the Wray Search team as VP Development in 2019 after 12 years in franchise recruitment with Dunkin’ Brands. Reggie is based in St Louis, MO.
What inspired you to join Wray Executive Search after 12 years as Director of Franchising with Dunkin’ Brands?
I was placed with Dunkin’ through my relationship with Bob Gershberg and Wray Executive Search. Bob and I hit it off right away, as I found him to be honest and trustworthy in the way that he conducted business. Out of respect for that experience, I let him know about my plans to retire from Dunkin’ last year. Bob continued to track my extensive career with Dunkin’, and we share a mutual respect.
One of the most gratifying aspects of franchise development and franchisee recruitment is the satisfaction realized from marrying a dream with opportunity. I have been very fortunate to meet a lot of wonderfully talented people who needed my assistance in acquiring the rights to develop a business all the way back to my shoe business licensing days. Bob and I agreed that some of the same talents that I developed in growing licensed and franchise brands would be useful for Wray Search as we work to grow our business.
Over the term of my career, I have enjoyed PEOPLE and that continues the be the case as I work to garner new business for Wray. I will also be working to develop new opportunities for the individuals that are in my network. Passion for people along with and an extensive background in business development made the opportunity to join Wray a no-brainer at this stage of my life.