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Top Takeaways from the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York

There were quite a few hot topics and important trends discussed at this year’s International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York. But don’t worry, we took copious notes so you didn’t have to. Here are our big takeaways from the event!

HotSchedules recently attended the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York, which brought together thousands of foodservice professionals in NYC on March 4 – 6.

There were quite a few hot topics and important trends discussed. Here are our top takeaways:

1. Managers Make the Difference Between Success and Failure

You can have excellent food, a unique theme, and a great location. All of these can help make a successful restaurant, but the difference between success and failure is a great manager and how they operate. When a manager brings the right mindset to your restaurant and takes the time to understand how the restaurant works, success follows.

This mindset starts with the weekly schedule. When a manager views this document as not just a schedule for employees to consult on when and where to show up, but as an invoice, it makes all the difference.

A schedule is a $7,000 invoice. It needs to be optimized to get the most value out of that cost. If you have a rough Monday, you can optimize the schedule to have a good Friday. When a manager understands the day-to-day operations and how the small and big things impact your business, they can optimize a schedule.

2. Conflict Between Employees and Management Has Led to Poor Loyalty

Rising labor costs have led to a key issue in the restaurant industry. Overtime hours are watched strictly. Management would rather have 100 employees working 20 hours than 50 employees working 40 hours. This has led to a shift where many employees are employed by multiple companies.

Employees want hours, so they can pay their bills and their debt. According to Snagajob’s session:

  • 73% of employees are open to working multiple jobs thanks to the gig economy mentality
  • ‎70% want a full-time job but only 20% have a full-time job
  • 67% have financial debt

With such high debt and the lack of available full-time jobs, workers might have 2 or 3 jobs to fill the hours they need. This leads to less loyalty to any one restaurant. It also leads to conflict, as workers need flexibility among their jobs to get the hours they need. When management is uncommunicative or makes it difficult to access scheduling, frustration can mount.

The current economy also favors employees. With a new job opening, 16% of employers fill a job in one week and 50% of job seekers say they found their job in 1 week or less.

There is an opportunity here to regain loyalty. Many employees want full-time jobs and the benefits that go with being full-time, such as vacation and bonuses.

If your restaurant can’t expand your full-time base, other perks can be offered. In Snagajob’s session, they stated 84% of respondents said schedule flexibility is important or very important when considering a job. When you offer flexibility, this makes your company stand out among their many employers. Other on-the-job perks include training and the freedom to wear what they want.

3. Hiring is Still Expensive – But Costs Can be Managed

Hiring is expensive! According to Darren Denington, President and Founder of Service with Style Hospitality Group, restaurants invest $1,600 per new employee before they are valuable to the restaurant. This includes non-payroll costs like:

  • Management meeting to decide on needs
  • ‎Pricing an ad
  • Reviewing application
  • Scheduling interviews
  • ‎Interviews
  • ‎Orientation
  • ‎Uniforms
  • ‎Evaluation

Conduct an audit of the cost of hiring. What’s the least amount you could spend to get the greatest result? What’s the most you could spend? Once you find your average cost of hiring an employee, you can find ways to stay within budget.

4. There’s A Need For Better Employee Training

If it seems like “talent is hard to find,” you’d be right in that statement. With unemployment rates at all-time lows, it’s important to hire and retain employees who are trainable and coachable. It’s why there’s an enormous focus on training in 2018. Restaurants are now realizing that it costs just as much (if not less!) to train and retain employees than it does to rehire employees who are never fully equipped to perform and leave when they don’t get the proper support and coaching to improve.

If you think you’ve been plagued with “low performing staff,” it might be that your restaurant needs to beef up its onboard training and ongoing development program. The moral of the story: investing in your people is investing in your long-term financial success.


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