by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search
Evaluating candidates for senior-level leadership roles can be a daunting task. The attributes we tend to be attracted to are not necessarily those that make for a great leader. Charisma, magnetism and “rock star” qualities are important but often far from enough. Leadership is a complex, multi-faceted and nuanced capability and therefor it is imperative that we do not overvalue certain characteristics and skills. The checklist of competencies and performance of tasks may pale in importance to an individual’s behavioral characteristics. One thing is for certain, it takes exceptional leadership to survive and thrive in challenging environments.
Focusing on key required attributes with an effective evaluation process is paramount. Essential criteria for picking a successful leader:
Integrity – Perhaps the most fundamental attribute of leadership. It fosters trust which drives productivity.
Emotional Intelligence – The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional intelligence is the ability to improve the connection between how we feel and how we act.
By Joe Radice, Vice President, Wray Executive Search
A survey in August 2020 found that 87% of New York City restaurants were not able to pay their next month’s rent. In June, the Independent Restaurant Coalition, a newly formed lobby group representing restaurants not affiliated with chains, argued in a desperate letter to Congress, that “this country risks losing as many as 85% of independent restaurants by the end of the year”. Big cities and their downtowns rely on a high density of restaurants as fundamental social glue. Restaurants have been a key to urban transformation, attracting the young and educated, and converting industrial and warehouse districts into new neighborhoods. Restaurants and bars provide critical social space for the exchange of ideas.
In the Spring of 2020 New York City officials offered restaurants a lifeline by encouraging outdoor dining. Streets were closed allowing space for outside tables, requiring social distancing and mask wearing for all service personnel.
by John A. Gordon, Principal and Founder, Pacific Management Consulting Group
In trying to peer our way forward coming out of the COVID fog and the impact upon our industry, some findings now can be seen. It is like walking through a dark tunnel, with patches of ground and daylight, that each is longer in turn, but then patches of darkness again. You know slowly you are getting to the other side.
The great news is that in the last two days we have news of a 90% successful Pfizer test and 95% successful Moderna test vaccine. We always knew it was coming. The unknown is now the final testing and the distribution, and the later improvement of the drug. For example, Dr. Fauci noted that we do not know yet for how long these vaccines will protect before a booster is needed. This does not solve all of our problems; the devil is always in the details. It does not prevent the need for corrective store CAPEX for better HVAC systems and pickup windows or more drive-thrus for example. It does not decrease government regulation.
More news is the stable recovery pattern seen to date in the US fast food and sit down restaurants to date. The data analysis firm Facteus reported last week that fast food consumer spending was up 16% in the week ending November 8, while sit down restaurant consumer spending was up 6% year over year.  Note that this is tracking consumers and does not relate directly to same store sales. This is factoring in cooler weather in many markets and some COVID surge, but both factors going forward are of great concern. The global QSR brands have generally recovered, with the US now showing more stores open and with higher drive thru store mix, a center of strength. This is a reversal from prior years where supra levels of the competition held down US progress and where international trends were stronger.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, newly appointed to President-Elect Biden’s Coronavirus task force and one of the world’s leading epidemiologists, spoke about COVID-19 Business Intelligence with Restaurant Finance Monitor’s Mary Jo Larson during Restaurant Finance Week last week. Here are five top takeaways:
COVID-19 cases have risen five-fold in the last eight weeks to 134,000 per day. Dr. Osterholm believes we are on track to reach 200k cases per day in the coming weeks. He cites the reason for the increase as people spending more time inside with the cooling weather, plus pandemic fatigue and “pandemic anger” causing less adherence to public health messaging. “These cases are not only numbers: they are our family members, colleagues, and friends,” he said. Intensive care and hospitals overwhelmed. Health care workers are completely overwhelmed and exhausted. The pandemic response has largely been left in the hands of state governors.