To Our Valued Subscribers:

I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween. My Bears are playing football like the walking dead. The Washington Nationals are the World Series Champs and my Cubs have hired Grandpa Ross as their next manager. Can it get any better? As the calendar flips to November we start gearing up for the holidays and the final end of the year push. If you are planning to make personnel changes in 2020 and you have not contacted me or my colleagues here at American Recruiters, now is the time. It takes at least a couple of weeks to find and place a new team member so if you are committed to hit the new year at full force, we are here and ready to help. Even though there is historic employment, we can still find that hidden talent that can propel your team to exceed goals.

As the year ends, another important aspect of leadership, is conducting the dreaded “Year End Employee Performance Review”. Here are a couple of tips from author and CEO of the Eblin Group, Scott Eblin. They can really assist in making this function a lot more effective.

First, make the process more prospective and less retrospective. Consider using the review to recap the year’s accomplishments and remaining opportunities and then pivot to the future. Use the one on one to talk about next year’s agenda and how the work that the reviewee has done this year aligns with and sets the foundation for what’s coming up next. And Ask yourself: What are you trying to accomplish with the review conversation? How do you want your team member to feel at the end of it? Motivated? Challenged? Excited? Appreciated? Get a clear picture in your mind about how you need to show up in the conversation to make it likely that your team member leaves the meeting feeling the way you hope they’ll feel. These two tips can really make a difference in how effective your review can be and not just a “how much am I going to receive” conversation.

Enjoy the latest edition of American Recruiters Global Foodservice News and my colleagues and I are awaiting your phone call.

Craig Wilson


IHOP Inks Biggest Franchise Deal in Brand History

IHOP just ramped up its growth plans with a new franchise deal. The pancake chain announced October 30 a new partnership with TravelCenters of America. The new IHOP restaurants in the travel centers will be operated by the TA Restaurant Group, a division of TravelCenters of America. The deal will allow the two companies to develop and open 94 IHOP restaurants over the next five years in TravelCenters and Petro locations throughout the U.S. It marks the single largest IHOP development deal in the brand’s 61-year history, the company said in a statement. “The TA brand, a trusted hospitality leader in the industry and with consumers, shares the same values as IHOP when it comes to delivering an outstanding experience to guests on the go,” Jay Johns, president of IHOP, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to serving the great-tasting, freshly made menu items we’re known for at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the millions of guests who stop at TA and Petro locations each year.” “An important part of our restaurant strategy is focusing on growing our partnerships with trusted brands like IHOP that appeal to broader audiences, and today’s agreement will enable us to accelerate that process,” Barry Richards, president and chief operating officer of TravelCenters of America, added in a statement.

With more than 1,700 locations in the U.S. and 100-plus around the world, IHOP earned the title of America’s largest casual-dining chain earlier this year. Dine Brand’s chief executive Steve Joyce attributes the brand’s new growth opportunities to the company’s business model. While other brands are scaling back growth, IHOP is focusing on expanding, along with expansion of off premises, enhanced guest experience, and menu innovation, as a key part of its strategy to stay competitive. The third quarter of 2019 marked IHOP’s seventh consecutive quarter of positive sales growth. Same-store sales slightly lifted 0.03 percent during the quarter. However, for the first nine months of 2019 that figure increased 1.1 percent. IHOP’s existing presence in TravelCenters is small, with only four restaurants open. By expanding its footprint in the travel segment, the brand will be exposed to the high foot traffic of travelers. Everyone from professional drivers to families on a road trip will be able to stop in and take a break from their travels on the interstate. Guests will be able to order from IHOP’s full menu, including made-to-order pancakes, omelettes, waffles, and steakburgers, at the new locations. “When it comes to serving our customers, IHOP and TA’s missions and cultures align,” Richards said. “Adding such a highly regarded brand like IHOP to our restaurant group shows our commitment to bringing the best possible dining options to both professional drivers while they’re away from home and to local families living in the communities we serve.” – Source: fsrmagazine.

Wendy’s is Going Through its Biggest Reinvention in 50 Years

A honey butter chicken biscuit sandwich served during breakfast hours. The return of Wendy’s to Europe within 18-months. 50-piece orders of spicy chicken nuggets being ordered through restaurants by those that saw a bullish Chance the Rapper tweet about them. The Baconator ordered on the Wendy’s app and delivered soon thereafter by Grubhub. Clearly, this is not the steady as she goes Wendy’s that Wall Street has come to know and appreciate over the past 10 years. No, this is a Wendy’s hungry for more frequent customers during the week. A Wendy’s that believes it deserves a place in breakfast besides heavyweights McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. A Wendy’s that appreciates its model of consistency honed through the years, but is locked and loaded on finally taking some well-calculated risks.

In short, the mild-mannered and all around nice guy Todd Penegor — aka Wendy’s CEO — is ready to write his own chapter in a fast-food chain founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas and known mostly for its fresh beef promise, spicy fried chicken and mostly U.S.-centric store base. “This is a different Wendy’s. You think about having the courage to play to win, we are really trying to create a compelling accelerated growth story and then carry that into our brand and our stock,” Penegor tells Yahoo Finance. Wall Street hit Wendy’s stock hard in September (-9.2%) amid the emergence of Penegor’s more aggressive growth strategies, notably the re-launch of breakfast. The stock has stabilized a bit, rising about 4% in October. The main concern among analysts — generally taken by surprise by the shift in Wendy’s growing plate of initiatives — is that the company is sacrificing near-term profits in another breakfast launch that may not work well due to serious entrenched competition. Penegor says it’s time for Wendy’s to take some well thought out risks now that a good number of restaurants have been remodeled and customers are visiting more often. I am blessed with a great team. We have been together for the most part three-plus years, have a couple new additions. We have a team that works really well together and truly takes a long-term view to this business. Sometimes you get to be at the right place at the right time on a journey in a brand, and I do feel as though we are living that right now. – Source: Yahoo Finance.

Fast Food Chains Get an ‘F’ for Antibiotics Use in Their Beef Supplies

Arby’s, Burger King, Sonic, Panda Express and Applebee’s are just some of the 15 restaurants that got a failing grade on the annual Chain Reaction Antibiotics Scorecard, which grades restaurants based on their antibiotic food policies. The report surveyed the top 25 U.S. burger chain restaurants in America, and the top 25 overall fast-food and fast-casual chains, about their meat and poultry supply chain, their antibiotic use policies for beef sourcing and transparency around their beef supply chains with customers. Chipotle scored the top spot with an A, followed by Panera Bread, which earned an A-. Meanwhile, Starbucks, Little Caesars, IHOP, Chilis, Jack In The Box, DQ, Olive Garden and Buffalo Wild Wings earned “F’s.” Other chains included on the list include Taco Bell, which earned a D, and Wendy’s which received a D+. McDonald’s went from an “F” on last year’s report to a C this year, vowing to audit suppliers and give regular reports to the public on its progress beginning in 2022. Subway also received a C grade, committing to serve beef raised without antibiotics in its U.S. restaurants by 2025.

Antibiotics — drugs used to treat bacterial infections by stopping or killing the growth of harmful bacteria — have historically been given to farm animals like cows and pigs to treat or prevent illnesses from spreading. But when antibiotics are overused on animals, they become immune, and if an animal is carrying resistant bacteria, it can be passed on through meat that is not handled or cooked properly, according to “Antibiotics are widely overused in meat production, especially in beef production. There are no antibiotics in the meat itself, the problem is when meat producers overuse the drugs when they raise the animals it can breed drug-resistant bacteria, and if we get sick from one of them we can be in trouble,” Matt Wellington, a co-author on the study and campaign director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, told FOX Business. “Bacteria can travel off the farm and get to people through water runoff and the meat itself if it’s not handled or cooked properly.” NYC MAY BAN FOIE GRAS AFTER OUTCRY FROM ANIMAL LOVERS: Shake Shack and BurgerFi were voted “Best Burger Joints” for the second year in a row on the Chain Reaction scorecard for having responsibly raised beef cooked at their restaurants. What’s more, both burger chains posted higher year-over-year sales from 2017 to 2018, showing that having better beef can boost a restaurant’s bottom line. There seems to be a major market demand for sustainably raised food products that come from animals that are raised without antibiotics. In 2012, sales of these foods increased by 25 percent in three years with major chains like Chipotle and Panera Bread setting the standard. Whole Foods Market, founded in 1980, was also an early pioneer to selling antibiotic-free meat since its inception, vowing to refuse animals that received antibiotics. – Source: Fox Business.

MOD Pizza to Open First Location in Canada

MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings announced on plans to expand its purpose-led fast casual brand into Canada. The development agreement for Canada was signed with V.I. Pizza Inc., led by Jim Hayden, Jeff Jefford, and Ken Whitaker, who have deep food industry experience and operate several successful brands across Vancouver Island. Their agreement includes development rights to bring five MOD locations to the island over the next several years. Mike Yasinski, co-founder of Hudsons Canada’s Pub and executive committee member of Restaurants Canada, is also an investor. “We are confident that MOD will translate well in the Canadian marketplace, and that the V.I. Pizza team will be great partners as we further expand our footprint. With Vancouver Island’s close proximity to our home base of Seattle, this feels like the perfect first step into Canada,” says Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of MOD. “For us, the most important factor in selecting our franchisees is finding those who not only share our business values, but are committed to cultivating the MOD culture in their stores. The V.I. Pizza team are aligned with our belief that taking care of people, and using the platform of MOD to make a positive impact, leads to a successful business. As we continue to grow MOD’s footprint, we hope to identify additional like-minded partners who are interested in helping us expand across Canada.”

Seattle-based MOD Pizza is a pioneer of the fast casual made-to-order pizza segment, founded in 2008 by entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. The company has been recognized as the fastest growing restaurant chain in the United States for the past four years, and currently has over 455 locations system-wide, with an additional 20-plus stores slated to open by the end of 2019. At its core, MOD is a purpose-led company committed to using the business to make a positive social impact in the communities it serves. “We’re absolutely thrilled to introduce MOD Pizza to Canada, and to share its compelling combination of superior food quality, value, speed and most importantly, its platform for doing good,” says Jim Hayden, COO of V.I. Pizza Inc. “MOD embodies everything we believe a brand should stand for—a people-first culture, a community driven approach, and a best-in-class business model. We can’t wait to debut the first store in our home market of Vancouver Island.” V.I. Pizza Inc. will open its first MOD location in late 2019 in Langford, British Columbia, in the newly developed Belmont Market Shopping Centre. – Source: MOD.

Ali Western Regional Sales Manager

Ali Group North America – Refrigeration Division is happy to announce the addition of Liz Genereux. Liz will serve as the Western Region Sales Manager and Director of Healthcare Services—where she’ll be tasked with developing and building both Beverage-Air and Victory brands within industry segments. Liz has been in the food service industry for over 30 years, spending the last 5 years with the Sandstone Group. While there, Liz provided leadership in order to identify, develop and effectively maintained key accounts. Her vast knowledge and relationships within the industry make her a great addition to our sales team. New territory alignments will be announced in the next few months, allowing Liz time to become familiar with both brands. – Source: Ali Group North America – Refrigeration Division Team.

How Restaurants Can Boost Efficiency without Shortchanging Guest Experience

If you walked into an Eggs Up Grill any given day, you’d likely spy a table of bankers having a business meeting, a group of first responders finishing a shift or even a table of parents eating with their kids. Or at least that’s the picture CEO Ricky Richardson paints in describing a typical scene at the Spartanburg, South Carolina–based breakfast and lunch concept that’s rapidly expanding throughout the Southeast. Whether they know it or not, the amount of time these guests spend at Eggs Up Grill is influenced by the brand’s efficient throughput strategy. On weekdays, most customers will be in and out the door in under 45 minutes. Yet they’ll never be rushed, but rather they’ll feel welcome to stay all day if they wish. Increased throughput offers obvious benefits: The faster a guest is in and out, the faster another guest can take that table and so forth. When compounded over weeks and months, those extra minutes add up, significantly boosting revenue. But efficient throughput is often considered the purview of quick-service and fast-casual concepts; counter ordering and menuboards signal a speedy experience. On the other hand, the presence of servers and hardcopy menus invites diners to sit and stay awhile, pushing full-service restaurants to explore more subtle efficiency hacks.

Eggs Up Grill has three primary techniques that turn tables faster. Last year, it introduced handheld, wireless technology that allows servers to send orders to the kitchen instantaneously. The chain also rolled out pay-at-the-table service to cut the time it takes to take credit cards to the POS, process the payment, and return it to guests. “They’ve really impacted our business,” Richardson says. “It speeds things up.” Servers also tailor the experience to the customer’s timeline, which can lead to faster throughput. They are trained to read visual cues that might suggest a customer needs to be out the door faster; first responder uniforms connote a job that doesn’t provide extended breaks and bankers’ laptops suggest that plates need to be cleared quickly. If a server is unsure of a table’s timeline, they are encouraged to ask the guests if they need to finish up quickly. Based on the response, servers can customize service and suggest dishes that are faster to make. Speed in the kitchen is key to efficient throughput, Richardson says. While there’s no official policy for how long a guest stays at Eggs Up, most dishes should be in front of a guest within 12–13 minutes of ordering. “Keep popular recipes as simple as possible,” he says “Focus on taking low-selling items off the menu. If your team doesn’t make something often they forget how to do it well and have to look at the recipe book. That slows down the process and makes them inefficient.” Dallas-based Street’s Fine Chicken offers a creative, upscale medley of chickens including fried, roasted, peri-peri, and other styles.

It began in 2016 with a full-service restaurant and opened a fast-casual store soon after. Experimenting with both models has provided valuable lessons in efficiency. The full-service location has a throughput time of about 45 minutes, except during brunch. “We’re Southern chic. We don’t take ourselves too seriously—it’s chicken after all and chicken is supposed to be fun,” says owner Marco Street. “Every customer feels like they’re getting as much time as they want even though we’re staying in control of the whole experience.” That control is largely achieved through staffing. Hosts receive extensive training in efficient, non-linear seating strategies and communication. This knowledge base helps them navigate potentially tense situations, such as explaining why a party of six may be seated before a party of four. Accordingly, host wages at Street’s Fine Chicken match the level of logistical skill required, Street says. “One thing that we’ve learned from our fast casual is that more staffing can lead to increased sales, and making sure the front of house is staffed properly can improve efficiency,” he says. Like a fast casual, Street’s full-service restaurant uses staggered schedules so there’s double or triple coverage for drink deliveries or food running during busy times. The mechanization of fast casual means that each staff position is just as important as the next; in full service much more is put on the server. At Street’s Fine, however, more people do more, Street says. It’s common for full-service restaurants to employ barbacks or have bussers fill drinks in the back, but Street’s spreads that responsibility to the front of house, too. While servers run food, one of several bartenders might run drinks. “In fast casual, we staff almost each individual task, and we’ve incorporated that into our full-service restaurant,” Street says. More staff doesn’t necessarily mean more attention; too much can cause guests to feel rushed. “Staff needs to almost be available without being there—present but not overbearing,” Street says. – Source: fsrmagazine.

A round Pizza in a Square Box no more

Pizza Hut announced plans to pilot Zume’s signature round pizza boxes. Testing for now will be extremely limited — in fact, it’s only happening at a single location in Phoenix, ArizThe boxes are one of a number of different technologies being pushed by the SF Bay startup. In fact, my recent conversation with Zune CEO Alex Garden quickly turned to the subject of pizza boxes. “We did internet searches for two weeks trying to find packaging companies that made different pizza boxes and there really wasn’t very much out there, they’re almost all made by a small select group of companies that just repeat the same ideas over and over again,” he told me back in September. “So I said, wow that’s really weird. Okay, well, let’s just, we’re a startup, no one can tell us what the rules are. Why don’t we just get a white board and draw what a cool pizza box would be.” Which is fair enough, I guess. And certainly there’s a lot to be said for a product that’s designed to be compostable, should it eventually be adopted by a massive chain with the scale of a Pizza Hut. For now, however, it seems the piloting is pretty limited in both time and scope. The same location will also be used to test a limited edition plant-based sausage topping by MorningStar. Perhaps either or both will move beyond this limited publicity push. Certainly sustainable plant products and compatible packaging are steps in the right direction. It’s also another high-profile partnership for Zume, which recently announced that it will be licensing its food truck technology to the admittedly smaller-scale & Pizza chain. – Source: Tech Crunch.

Arby’s Owner will be ‘Very Selective’ about its Next Move after Closing Jimmy John’s Deal

Arby’s parent company, Inspire Brands, has been on a deal-making spree for the last 20 months, but after closing its acquisition of Jimmy John’s, it could be slowing down. Inspire Brands CEO Paul Brown said on CNBC’s” Squawko the streetw” on Monday that the company’s deals have allowed it to achieve scale, which was one of its first objectives. “It allows us to be very selective about what we do next,” Brown said. Inspire, backed by private equity firm Roark Capital Group, announced Friday that it had completed its acquisition of sandwich chain Jimmy John’s. Roark formed Inspire when it merged Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings in 2018. It announced the $2.3 billion acquisition of Sonic in September of that year as well. The Jimmy John’s acquisition makes Inspire the fourth-largest restaurant company in the United States, with more than $14 billion in annual system sales and more than 11,200 restaurants, according to Inspire. Jimmy John’s reached $2.1 billion in sales last year. Brown said the company is now just focused on being a private company and investing in its restaurant chains. “We’re in no rush, which is the great thing about the situation,” Brown said. – Source: CNBC.

In Male-Dominated Pizza Circles, Women Are Grabbing a Bigger Slice of the Pie

When Laura Meyer won the World Pizza Championship for pan pizza in Parma, Italy, the Italian judges called her the male word for champion. Despite her first-place victory, she was the only winner who didn’t get a trophy that day. Hers was mailed a year later. “They basically refused to acknowledge that a woman had won,” she said, recently recalling the snub. She was the first woman to win — and the first American. That was in 2013. The next year, competing as the only woman, she won best nontraditional pizza at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas with a triple-infused rosemary dough (rosemary water, rosemary-infused olive oil and chopped rosemary). And last month, Meyer’s simple pepperoni pizza won the first American Pizza division of the Caputo Cup, a pizza-making contest in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of modern pizza, and placed third for traditional pizza at a September contest in Atlantic City, N.J. Meyer is a pizza powerhouse, any way you slice it. But to many in and out of her profession, she’s just a woman. “Women have always been part of pizza, but it’s very macho. It has a macho problem, like most of the job world,” she said from Tony’s, the prestigious pizza parlor in San Francisco where she is owner Tony Gemignani’s right hand and runs its International School of Pizza. “Guys stare at my chest. They think I don’t see. Guess what? I see. My very first day of work, a coworker just watched me do my job like I was a show, entertainment, an ooh-la-la toy. So many people think I could only be as high up as I am because I’m Tony’s wife. I’m not his wife. I’m his talent.” Broadly and frequently, male chauvinism is baked into pizza at every step: from the presumption that pizza deliverers are men to the dearth of female pizza-makers statues. “Pizza making is a profession where men tell you that you belong in a kitchen, but not as a career,” Meyer said. “They celebrate grandma slices but not the actual grandmas.”

BJ’s Restaurants Plans to Try Beer Subscriptions

After a challenging third quarter, BJ’s Restaurants is striving to recover its momentum through a batch of new initiatives, including a beer subscription program and technology that enables customers to order and pay via smartphone from their seats without downloading an app. The casual chain also intends to offer a two-for-one deal whereby dine-in customers can take home a second entree at a bargain price, and to develop additions to its value-oriented Brewhouse menu specifically for weekends and lunch, the brand’s most challenging meal occasions, according to CEO Greg Trojan. BJ’s will continue to push its new catering service, which has been growing at a 25% rate since being introduced earlier this year, Trojan said. But he was measured in his assessment of delivery’s potential, noting that heightened competition has tempered growth. The moves were aired to financial analysts after the company posted a 0.3% decline in same-store sales and a 56.5% freefall in net income, to $3.7 million, for the quarter ending Oct. 1. Revenues rose 3.1% to $278.7 million. Management attributed the decreases to weak conditions across all of casual dining and the impact of Hurricane Dorian. Trojan said the downturn was particularly pronounced in some markets of California, where 10% of BJ’s 207 restaurants are located. Margins, he said, were squeezed by rising wage levels and higher food costs, particularly for avocados and the chain’s new tri-tip sirloin entree. The average guest check rose 2.7% for the quarter. BJ’s intends to address escalating labor costs in part by looking at how restaurants can operate more efficiently, but it does not intend to cut staffing or otherwise cut back on service levels, CFO Greg Levin said during the conference call with analysts. “We’ve seen too many other companies that get on these calls, they talk about the fact that we’re eliminating X, Y and Z positions, and all of a sudden they’ve got a big line at the front door because there’s nobody taking care of the guests as they walk in,” Levin said. Rather, the chain will focus on dynamics such as how far servers have to travel, given the cavernous size of some units. Trojan suggested that the focus will be on building BJ’s top line. Toward that end, he announced that the chain will start testing a paid beer subscription plan next year in California, but he declined to provide details. He indicated that it would be a true subscription service, where patrons pay ahead of time for access to products, rather than a beer club that rewards patrons for a certain volume of orders. The chain is already testing a system that enables customers to order food or drink, from their tables or the lobby waiting area, and pay for it by downloading an app first. “While we continue to believe that downloading our app delivers a lot of value to our most frequent guests and builds our customer loyalty database, we know that it is a barrier to greater adoption rates for some less frequent guests,” he said. The buy one, take one entree deal will be rolled out next month, Trojan said. “Part of our thinking was also that they’ll help trial for our takeout and delivery business,” he told the analysts. “There’s a select number of entrees, namely five, that carry really well and reheat really well.” Trojan was measured in his comments about delivery. BJ’s sales through that channel are continuing to grow at a double-digit rate, but heightened competition has cooled things down, he explained. – Source: BJ’s Restaurants. “You just look at the pure numbers of folks playing in these third-party marketplaces, and the promotions they’re in,” Trojan said. “It’s just a lot more crowded.” – Source: Restaurant Business.

After Summer’s Sellout, Popeyes will Bring Back the Sandwich—on a Sunday

In August, Popeyes hailed the sandwich as its biggest launch in 30 years. That said, not even Popeyes predicted the frenzy. It ran out of the sandwich in about two weeks, roughly a month before it expected to do so. Popeyes restaurants around the country saw unheard-of crowds. Diners turned away in disappointment after learning the sandwich was nowhere to be found, even though Popeyes still had plenty of other fried chicken. Interest in the sandwich was spurred in part by social media, including when Chick-fil-A promoted its own sandwich on Twitter on Aug. 19, leading to a “… y’all good?” response from Popeyes.

Now, Popeyes is ready for a comeback. Its $3.99 sandwich will officially return on Sunday, Nov. 3, which happens to be National Sandwich Day, according to the various calendars that keep track of such made-up celebrations. An “Open Sundays” online video shows a man walking up to a roadside sign listing six restaurants: McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Popeyes and Taco Bell. The words “closed Sunday” appear on the Chick-fil-A section of the sign, highlighting the chain’s practice of closing Sundays. He then walks up and places an “open Sunday” sticker on the Popeyes portion of the sign—right next to Chick-fil-A. Print ads—slated for Oct. 29 in newspapers including the New York Times, New Orleans Advocate and Chick-fil-A’s hometown paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution—also emphasize the Sunday availability, with copy that reads: “Y’all … The Sandwich is back this Sunday. Yes. Sunday.” Popeyes is clearly trying to have fun with the effort. Its press release mimics Michael Jordan’s comeback press release from 1995 that simply stated: “I’m back.”

The latest Popeyes campaign comes from Gut, the small agency that also handled the launch back in August. An apology campaign that began running in late August, when the sandwich ran out, and a BYOB campaign that began running in September, suggesting patrons bring their own bun to Popeyes and buy tenders as a sandwich substitute, were led by GSD&M. This time around, Popeyes is confident it will have enough product to meet demand, says Bruno Cardinali, Popeyes head of North America marketing—adding that franchisees have been working on increasing staffing levels to be ready. The chicken sandwich sell-out boosted Popeyes’ results. Parent company Restaurant Brands International said Popeyes posted its best comparable sales in nearly two decades in the recent third quarter. Popeyes’ U.S. same-store sales rose 10.2 percent in the third quarter after rising 2.9 percent in the second quarter, before the sandwich’s debut. Source: Ad Age.

How Restaurants are Retaining Good Employees

In 2019, it’s all too easy for restaurant operators to find themselves in a hiring and training crisis. A strong economy has taken potential employees off the market, labor costs are on the rise, and an oft-overwhelming technological landscape is ready and waiting to be integrated into new hiring and training practices. Industry professionals are looking for new strategies to attract, train, and retain team members. Some are rethinking their incentive programs; others are providing handy written or digital post-training checklists; still others are imbuing their hiring and training methods with a laser focus on the individual employee. FSR heard from three industry experts—two restaurants and one foodservice partner—to learn what draws the best team members to a brand and what is required for cream-of-the-crop employees to stay put. Gregg Nettleton, President and COO, FAT Brands; Put yourself in the shoes of the greeter, server, kitchen manager, etc. What are their pain points? What makes them want to work inside of your four walls and not down the street? Identify those hurdles, implement real solutions, and be consistent in your approach. That won’t eliminate your hiring woes, but it will make the process that much easier. Moving forward, I expect to see a greater merger between today’s technology platforms and the changing mindset of the labor force. Think of it this way: An automobile many years ago had the fundamentals—engine, wheels, radios, body—and that was enough for the driver. Today, the selling points are all about the personalized experience like subscriptions, integrated mobile devices, Wi-Fi, internet, weather maps, and other convenience-related features.

The fundamentals are still important but are now expected and therefore make up less of the selling proposition. Our trainers share the information; they don’t lecture. Do not treat outstanding performance as normalized activity. Recognize it, reward it, and share it. Dave Delaplaine, General Manager and Beer Director, Roofers Union, Washington, D.C. Every individual is different. There are, of course, some elements of training that are important to go over with everyone, but we try to take training day by day in order to determine which areas are most important to work on during a given shift. Lead by example; if I am training someone and want them to learn the correct way, I find it most helpful that they see me help them do it. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing a superior help you do your job. It is important to focus on the individual. If you want them to become the most successful team member they can be, pay a lot of attention during their training to make sure you are giving them the tools they need to grow. Once you’ve trained somebody for a position, start to think of other positions you can train them for. It is always best when you are able to hire from within. With a strong economy and fewer applicants to certain positions, it becomes that much more beneficial when you are able to train somebody up to fill an internal position. What they may lack in managerial experience they can make up for by knowing your systems in and out and you can focus on their leadership growth. Kelley Emrey, Senior Manager, National Foodservice and On-Premise, Coca-Cola North America; Hiring managers should outline what they are looking for in potential employees with the creation of an employee profile. A few factors to consider are experience required, qualities and traits, core values, and personal and career goals. Applications remain imperative to the hiring process, as they can reveal significant information about a potential candidate such as the person’s ability to follow directions or their level of thoroughness. Once a candidate has progressed to the interview stage, getting a second opinion from another reference, such as a manager, is a step that is very helpful but rarely employed. Having an additional manager interview a candidate can yield new information about the interviewee, as diverse styles of questioning provide a more thorough picture of the candidate. Well-trained employees feel empowered, motivated, and even happy because they know exactly what their job is and how to manage through issues. These are the employees who are more likely to stay employed longer and have fewer work-related issues. Once the in-person training is complete, it is helpful to provide written or digital guides and checklists as future reference tools. Hiring and training are likely to become more digital in nature. Personal videos may replace traditional résumés, and printed manuals will give way to 30-second how-to videos. For employers to attract the best talent going forward, they must stay up to date on digital trends and technologies.

The F.D.A. Must Clear up Confusion Around C.B.D. in Food

The Food and Drug Administration’s approach to regulating food and beverages formulated with cannabidiol (C.B.D.) is creating confusion in the marketplace. The agency’s official stance is it is not permissible to formulate C.B.D. into food or dietary supplements in states where cannabis is not approved for recreational use. Yet finished products featuring the ingredient are reaching the market almost unchecked. This approach to enforcement has the potential to cause long-term harm to an ingredient category with promise and erode consumer trust in the industry and the agency. The F.D.A.’s regulatory authority is derived under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits the introduction into interstate commerce of foods to which an approved drug has been added. Epidiolex is a C.B.D.-derived drug currently on the market. Yet the F.D.A. only has taken disciplinary actions related to foods formulated with C.B.D. in the form of warning letters sent to manufacturers that have made unapproved and unsubstantiated health claims for their products, claims the F.D.A. said may discourage consumers from seeking medical assistance or treatment. Beyond issuing warning letters, the F.D.A. has taken only rudimentary steps to caution consumers about the potential risks posed by C.B.D.

Earlier this month, agency officials published an advisory telling pregnant and breastfeeding women not to use C.B.D. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (G.M.A.) applauded the move but urged the F.D.A. move with alacrity to provide clear regulatory oversight and consumer protection around C.B.D.-containing consumer products. “American consumers are confused by the thousands of C.B.D. products that have flooded the market,” said Geoff Freeman, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A. “There is likely a reasonable role for C.B.D. in the marketplace, but it demands stringent federal regulation that promotes safety and empowers consumers to make informed decisions. It’s past time for F.D.A. to move at the speed of the market.” The F.D.A. said it is studying the effects of C.B.D. use from several angles, including its consumption over the course of a person’s entire life, and the effects of using various C.B.D.-containing products in combination. Clinical studies have shown C.B.D. use may cause liver toxicity, extreme sleepiness or harmful health consequences when used with other drugs. “There are many unanswered questions about the science, safety and quality of products containing C.B.D.,” the F.D.A. said. Yet the juxtaposition of the F.D.A.’s position regarding C.B.D. and its prevalence at the SupplySide West/Food Ingredients North America trade show, held Oct. 15-19 in Las Vegas, was startling. More than 50 exhibitors showcased C.B.D. ingredients derived through a variety of extraction processes to be used in food, beverage and personal care applications. This past July, F.D.A. officials said they were working to answer questions about the science, safety and quality of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly C.B.D. At the same time the market is advancing at a breakneck pace. his situation is untenable. There are multiple blind spots regarding the safety and efficacy of C.B.D. A single negative health or safety event has the potential to set the market for C.B.D. back for years. It is incumbent on the F.D.A. to take the lead regulating C.B.D. in food to ensure its safety and clear up any confusion about its potential benefits. – Source: Food Safety Monitor.

Effective Food Safety Detection Tech

The U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.) has developed a guideline to help meat and poultry establishments develop a written program to respond to complaints about foreign matter consumers find in meat and poultry products they purchase. The guideline outlines best practices companies can use to respond to these complaints. But instead of knowing how to respond to complaints, isn’t it better for processors to take steps during processing to detect foreign material before it ever gets to consumers? There are basically two types of systems that can be used in detection technology, particularly if the hunt is on for foreign material contamination in meat and poultry products, said Glenn Holliday, product manager, inspection, for Marel North America, based in Lenexa, Kas. Marel is headquartered in Iceland. One of them is X-ray technology, which is very good at finding metal, porcelain, glass and bone in meat and poultry products, he said. Metal detectors are another highly used detection technology, though X-ray technology is becoming more prevalent. “We at Marel are always looking to improve,” Mr. Holliday said. “There is new technology that we’re looking into for future use with X-ray technology or by itself.” Mr. Holliday pointsed to problems in poultry and meat slaughtering and processing that lend themselves to soft foreign material contamination. “In processing, the processors are often buying combos of meat surrounded by plastic liners,” he said. “People are using box cutters – the cardboard and the plastic can get ripped off and end up in the meat.” He also noted limitations in what inspection technology can do. “We never say X-rays are 100% effective,” Mr. Holliday said. “We make no claims about finding plastic or cardboard.” So plastic is still found largely through visual inspection. “But what X-rays can do is find bone,” he added. Marel came out with its first X-ray machines for poultry in 2006. The machines are used largely to find bone contamination. “We’ve been the poultry standard for fresh deboning detection ever since,” he said, with 600 machines specializing in bone detection in the poultry industry in North America. While some think automation can be blamed for more foreign material contamination in the industry, Mr. Holliday said he disagrees. “There have been automated lines for the last 20 years,” he said. “When you had lines of people wearing chain link gowns and gloves, I think more came from them than automated machines.” Early detection: Jeff Ray, Marel’s marketing manager in North America, pointed out that a top priority for inspection and detection technology is to find contaminants as early in the meat or poultry process as possible. The company also offers product control software, enabling processors to tell what was tested for foreign material contaminants after the products are packed off into combos or boxes. This can limit recalls because processors know what was discovered. It creates an “electronic trail,” indicating where it came in, and where it is now. Advanced Detection Systems manufactures metal detection equipment for the food industry, including for meat and poultry, said Dave Smith, sales manager for the company. “Our products – the metal detectors – are sensitive to ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless-steel metals,” he said. Ferrous metals are magnetic and easiest to detect. Non-ferrous metals, like copper, aluminum, and brass, are highly conductive non-magnetic metals. “High quality 300 series stainless steels are the most difficult to detect, due to poor electrically conductive qualities and low magnetic permeability,” Mr. Smith said. Metal detection works because all metals are either magnetically conductive or electrically conductive or both. When they enter the metal detector, they create a detectable disturbance or signal. Modern metal detectors operate on the balanced coil, full loop system that allows detection of the signal from the metal. Data logging is a very important part of metal detector use. “Metal detector data logging is the internal constant collection of metal detector events that are downloadable from the metal detector via USB cable or thumb drive,” Mr. Smith said. “It’s important to the meat and poultry industry because logged metal detector events, such as metal detections, product settings and product setting changes are date and time-stamped. This downloadable record which is easily collected documents proper metal detector usage.” Data logging is very important because it documents proper usage adding value to the investment in metal detection when its usage comes under scrutiny by internal food safety and management systems, like HACCP as well as customer audits and regulatory audits, from the F.D.A. and U.S.D.A., Mr. Smith said. Mr. Smith also pointed to current metal detector trends in the industry. “In addition to documentation via data logging, there are recent developments in the use of multiple, simultaneous frequencies in highly conductive product applications.” Addressing challenges: “Fresh, seasoned meat is a tough application because the conductive product effect of the meat interferes with the metal detector’s ability to detect metal contaminants,” Mr. Smith said. “The use of simultaneous, multiple frequencies has resulted in improved metal detection levels in highly conductive products.” Michael Ahern, Eastern Sales Manager for Anritsu Infivis Inc., added, “The technology in finding foreign matter in food products, including meat and poultry products, certainly has advanced, far ahead of what was being done years ago.”

Anritsu Infivis is a detection technology company based in Elk Grove Village, Ill., that makes both metal detectors and X-ray equipment. “In fact, everyone is trying to eliminate the smallest pieces of foreign matter,” Mr. Ahern said. “Detectors are getting better at finding the matter and finding smaller things. That’s the major trend in detector technology.” He compared advances in inspector and detector technology to advances in iPhones over the years, where phone cameras can now take photos practically in the dark. “Of course, the technology isn’t the same, but you can see the advances being made in both types of technology,” Mr. Ahern said. “The detection of smaller matter at high resolution is a major trend with a simultaneous reduction in false rejects.” In finding metal, metal detectors can’t find matter as small as X-ray technology. Metal detectors, for example, can find ferrous material as small as 1.5 mm and non-ferrous and stainless steel as small as 2.5 mm. “Today, X-ray technology in a similar-sized product can get below 0.8 mm, find smaller matter than that,” Mr. Ahern said. “That was a huge advancement.” While traditional X-ray technology uses single energy, there is now new dual energy X-ray technology. This is very helpful in finding bone in poultry, a big target. “The high energy absorbs muscle, fat and bone,” Mr. Ahern said. “But the low energy part of the dual energy absorbs more calcium. It’s a good way to get bone out. That’s a huge advancement, to find bone in poultry. And what’s coming down in research and development will enable us to find smaller and more low-density contaminants.”

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