Fast Casual Restaurant Summit Underway

Fast Casual Restaurant Summit Underway

Food & Drink

Fast Casual Restaurant Summit Underway

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Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.

Executives representing the nation’s top fast casual restaurants are gathering this week in Dallas, Texas, for the 2nd annual Fast Casual Executive Summit. Over the next two days, The Food Channel is covering the presentations and discussions which are of interest to food enthusiasts and professionals alike.

The restaurant industry, in general, faces many challenges. The economy has everyone tightening their belts, spending less and asking themselves what they can live without. One thing we can’t live without is food. And while the past year has seen declining patron traffic in many sectors, the fast casual segment has experienced not only stability, but growth.

According to Paul Barron (pictured above), conference organizer and publisher of fastcasual.com, the summit grew from discussions of the Fast Casual Alliance board of directors. That group sought to create a forum in which members could share experiences, collectively solve problems and position this sector of the restaurant industry for future growth.

‘The interaction between these executives is key to our success as an industry,’ Barron said in his opening remarks. ‘Facilitating this interaction is what the Fast Casual Executive Summit was designed to do.’ In addition to moderated discussion groups and idea exchanges, executives also benefit from keynote speakers on a variety of topics from managing change to creating successful partnerships to building strong brands.

Progress and Change

The Summit’s first keynote was from Dean Lindsay (pictured, below left), author of ‘Working and Winning in a World of Change.’ The takeaway from his session was to get leaders thinking in terms of progress – moving things forward. If this movement is perceived as ‘change,’ people will resist. It must be positioned as progress in the minds of those we wish to propel into positive action. Lindsay likens it to building a ship. ‘If you want to build a ship, don’t send people out to gather and cut wood, sand it, shape it, nail it together. Rather, make them long for the endless immensity of the sea.’

Lindsay says motivating people to move forward, into progress, not change, takes understanding the 6 ‘P’s, or those things that truly motivate people.

Peace of mind. What do you provide that offers the promise of peace of mind to your employees, your patrons, you partners?

Pleasure. Delivering exceptional customer service, going that extra mile, offering great food. What can you do to delight your customers?

Profit. Build priceless business relationships to build profits. Become known for embodying progress.

Prestige. Think Mary Kay Cosmetics and pink Cadillacs. It doesn’t have to be to that level, however. There are many simple ways to make employees and customers feel special. Point programs, birthday clubs…how can I recognize you in a way that others will aspire to earn the same recognition?

Pain avoidance. Help others feel good about what they’re doing.

Power. How can you empower people, give them the ability to make choices, to have options, not just telling them what to do.

For more information on Dean Lindsay or his books, visit www.deanlindsay.com.

More from the Summit: (click on the link to go to additional stories)

Brand Building

Keynote Address from Au Bon Pain CEO: Using Consumer Insights

Brain Exchange: Sharing Great Ideas

Sustainability Panel Discussion

Gettin’ Casual at the Fast Casual Summit Cocktail Party

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