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In case you missed it: Are your managers really ready to lead? Early this week, Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) (Transforming Data into Knowledge) partnered with Assess Systems to explore this question in a special webinar session focused on management and leadership in the restaurant industry. The webinar featured guest speaker Bill Streitberger, Chief People Officer at American Blue Ribbon Holdings; Lori Bierman, Senior Account Executive at Assess Systems; and Victor Fernandez, Executive Director of Insights and Knowledge at Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K).

The current state of restaurant management affairs: The webinar kicked off with Fernandez briefly discussing the current demographic profiles of general managers and multi-unit managers according to research from Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report), a Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) company. Here are the most recent trends:

  • Average age for general managers and multi-unit managers ranges from 36 to 46 years, with some notable changes between 2012 and 2015.
  • The most significant change in this time frame is that the average age of both general managers and multi-unit managers in the fast casual/family dining segment has decreased two to three years.
  • The number of females holding restaurant management positions is vastly different among segments. In the quick service segment, over 50 percent of its general managers are currently female.
  • In contrast, about one in four general managers are female in both the casual dining and fine dining segments. Those percentages are even lower for multi-unit managers.

This is an important trend to keep an eye on, Fernandez noted, because Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) research has found a positive correlation between the number of female employees and comp sales.

Why do I need to know this?: The economy has accelerated, unemployment is down, and one of the biggest challenges we are starting to see now is that comp sales are slowing and turnover is still climbing. The turnover rate for general managers in 2015 for both the fast casual/family dining and quick service segments was close to 30 percent. Additionally, “The effect [of turnover] goes way beyond just that person,” Fernandez explained. Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) has identified a clear correlation between management and hourly turnover, both of which are very costly in more ways than one. Not only does it cost the restaurant money to replace and train new managers to keep up with the turnover, it also correlates to lower restaurant comp sales and traffic growth as evident by Financial Intelligence (formerly Black Box Intelligence) numbers.

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Is there a solution?: There are many! One solution is utilizing competencies, as discussed by Lori Bierman of Assess Systems in the webinar session. Bierman discussed how identifying key competencies in management roles and employees is the recipe for success. “By using competencies as a basis for talent management, you effectively align attitudes and behaviors with what is needed to be competitive and successful.” She did note the importance of acknowledging the different competencies for general managers and multi-unit managers. For example, general managers must be detail-oriented, multi-taskers, highly sociable and focused on working the plan step-by-step. On the other hand, multi-unit managers should be independent decision makers, more serious and deliberate and inclined towards big picture thinking and setting the plan for others. What made a manager successful at one level may not be enough to make them successful at the next.

Bill Streitberger of American Blue Ribbon Holdings presented his own real-life example of how understanding and using competencies has proved invaluable to him and his team. “We had to really work on developing a management pipeline. To grow the business and keep the development of the organization, it was critical.” By partnering with Assess in highlighting key competencies through “talent assessments” for each management role and determining how that plays out in the industry, the company has been able to build strong management teams that translate into successful and thriving workplaces.

What it all boils down to: Establishing an effective management strategy is absolutely vital to a restaurant’s overall success, but this doesn’t happen overnight. Operators must be willing to take the time to determine exactly what qualities they are looking for at each management level and, through personality and behavioral assessments, which candidates can truly rise to the challenge.

If you’d like to listen to this webinar in full, please contact sarah.atkinson-higgins@tdn2k.com.

Assess Systems help you screen, select, on board and develop top tier talent using a data driven talent management platform.

Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) (Transforming Data into Knowledge) is the parent company of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report), Financial Intelligence (formerly Black Box Intelligence) and Guest Intelligence (formerly Guest Intelligence (formerly White Box Social Intelligence))™. Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) provides service-sector human capital and workforce analytics for its members on a monthly basis. Financial Intelligence (formerly Black Box Intelligence) provides weekly financial and market level data for the restaurant industry. Guest Intelligence (formerly Guest Intelligence (formerly White Box Social Intelligence)) delivers unparalleled consumer insights and reveals online brand health. Together they report on over 32,000 restaurant units, over one million employees and $55 billion in sales. They are also the producers of two leading restaurant industry conferences: Summer Brand Camp and the Global Best Practices Conference, each held annually in Dallas, Texas.