September 14 – 16, 2022

What are the Best Practices Awards?

Each year, Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K)™ (Transforming Data into Knowledge) hosts the Global Best Practices Conference, an event designed to bring together the best and brightest restaurant leaders to share insights as well as honor those in the industry who have truly gone above and beyond in creating superior workplaces. During the conference, Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) presents several awards to celebrate such workplaces, including the Best Practices Awards, the Diamond Catalyst Award, the Workplace Legacy Award and the Heart of the Workplace Award.

The Best Practices Awards

The Best Practices Awards are awarded to a restaurant in each dining segment for outstanding performance in categories such as workforce diversity, community involvement and sustainable practices. Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence™ and place in the top 10% of their segment in these categories.

The 2020 finalists included: Eat n’ Park Restaurants, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, El Pollo Loco, First Watch, LongHorn Steakhouse, Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, NORMS Restaurants, Olive Garden, Panda Express, Panera Bread, Portillo’s, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Wendy’s, Whataburger, Doherty Enterprises, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Fleming’s Prime, Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Jason’s Deli, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Silver Diner and The Cheesecake Factory Inc.

The 2020 winners in each segment were:

  • Quick Service: The Wendy’s Company
  • Fast Casual: Panda Restaurant Group
  • Family Dining: Silver Diner
  • Casual Dining: Ninety Nine Restaurants
  • Upscale Casual: BJ’s Restaurants
  • Fine Dining: The Capital Grille

The Diamond Catalyst Award

The Diamond Catalyst Award is a tribute to superior operational and workplace results. Eligible companies are members of both Workforce Intelligence™ and Financial Intelligence™ and are evaluated based on sales and traffic performance as well as employment and people practices. The recipient of this award sets the standard for overall best in class business performance. The Diamond Catalyst was given for the first time in 2013 to The Cheesecake Factory, and presented to Panera Bread in 2018.

The 2020 Diamond Catalyst Award winner was upscale casual chain LongHorn Steakhouse.

The Workplace Legacy Award

The Workplace Legacy Award recognizes a leader in the restaurant industry who has clearly demonstrated success in balancing superior people practices and best in class operational results. In addition, their employees, organizations and communities have benefited from their leadership. The Workplace Legacy Award was given for the first time in 2005 and has honored incredible industry leaders such as Steve King, CEO of Dave & Buster’s, Gene Lee, President and CEO of Darden Restaurants, Steven Carley, CEO of Red Robin, John Miller, President and CEO of Denny’s Restaurants, Sally Smith, President & CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings and Danny Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group.

The 2020 recipients are David Gordon, president and Dina Barmasse, SVP of Human Resources from The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated. “David and Dina have fostered a culture that has resulted in The Cheesecake Factory being a Best Place to Work – for almost two decades,” said Kelli Valade, president and CEO of Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K), “It is a unique and remarkable example of leadership that we are delighted to honor.”

“We are honored to receive this special award,” said Dina Barmasse. “The Cheesecake Factory has been recognized as a great place to work in large part because of our more than 40,000 staff members and managers who have helped create our special culture. It is a true honor to accept this award which recognizes our shared purpose of nurturing bodies, minds, hearts and spirits.”

Heart of the Workplace Award

The Heart of the Workplace Award is presented to the company that demonstrates significant commitment to and investment in their employees and communities. Winners from previous years include Red Lobster, Panera Bread, Chili’s, BJ’s Restaurants and Red Robin. In 2020, it was awarded to Whataburger.