If you Always do What you Always did, you Will Always get What you Always got
by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search
The challenges we currently face in running and growing our companies are largely different in scope and nature than the many we have had to overcome in the past. We are always well advised to focus on best practices to get us through the tough times while remaining mindful of being well positioned to thrive during the subsequent upswing, even if it seems dreadfully slow getting here. We have spent much of the last eighteen months cutting costs and often cutting people. “Lean and mean” is always the preferred method to get through the turbulence. So now that your team is lean ask yourself these arduous questions:
Is it the best most effective team in your segment?
Do they know how to solve difficult problems?
Do they know how to gain competitive advantage?
Can they leverage your assets, time, resources and energy to achieve the goals?
Can they be true to your brand?
Can they lead with absolute integrity and uphold the company’s core values?
Do they encourage unique ideas and creative thought?
Can they build bonds of trust?
Can they drive execution?
Are they the absolute best suited to compete over the next 3 years?
by Kevin Stockslager, EVP & Partner, Wray Executive Search
Without a doubt, the past 18 months has been a challenge for most industries, but the restaurant and hospitality industries have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first few months of the pandemic brought unprecedented shutdowns imposed across the country, drastic cuts to restaurant industry jobs, and substantial revenue loss throughout the industry. The restaurant industry lost 2.5 million jobs, industry sales dropped by $240 billion, and an estimated 100,000+ establishments were forced into temporary or permanent closures during 2020. Much of those same trends continued into the early part of 2021, as many states and municipalities continued to impose capacity restrictions and consumers remained wary about large scale events and gathering indoors in close quarters. While the availability of vaccines has helped to drive an increase in activity, recent surges in COVID variants have given many pause. The National Restaurant Association recently released their 2021 Mid-Year State of the Restaurant Industry Update, highlighting the industry jobs, sales, reopening, rising food costs, and a look ahead.
by John A. Gordon, Principal and Founder, Pacific Management Consulting Group
For those of us restaurant industry lifers who are hooked on the excitement, complexity, moving pieces, and unpredictability of this business, the last 60 days have given us the reward we crave. More is coming. By the middle of July, we thought we were on a glide path to the magical “other side” of the Pandemic. Unfortunately not so fast. The other side is not here yet.
“The Wait for the Re-Opening Goes On”
This was the headline from the WSJ’s always well-written Heard on the Street financial analysis and commentary column on September 10. It noted the Delta variant surge and “while this hasn’t knocked the economy back on its heels, it slowed it down”. Later, it noted, Brinker’s (EAT) stock was down 33% from its highs. As I noted last month, evidence of casual dining softness was apparent from several trackers, and EAT confirmed it in both brands in August.
Darden’s (DRI) earnings are coming up on September 23 (Q1, 2022) and as always they are a critical benchmark. Darden, no doubt will discuss what they are doing to maximize their brand’s operations and fiscal posture, as well as employees and guests, a sound position no matter what problems are underway. In short, they demonstrate there is plenty to do. More on this in a bit.
Featuring Meredith Sandland, co-author of Delivering the Digital Restaurant
by Rebecca Patt, SVP Development at Wray Executive Search
Meredith Sandland is the co-author of the new book, Delivering the Digital Restaurant: Your Roadmap to the Future of Food. Meredith is a consultant, corporate strategist, and restaurant development executive who has become an expert on the digital restaurant revolution. After building over 1000 restaurants as the Chief Development Officer at Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell, she became interested in how the on-demand economy was impacting restaurants. She joined ghost kitchen start-up Kitchen United as COO in 2018 to develop their business model, raise capital, and serve as the public face of the company. For the book, she interviewed dozens of leading entrepreneurs in the space and delivers cutting-edge research and insights on how restaurants can survive and thrive in this disruptive economy.