Julie Knudson

Cleared for Launch

Starting any business can be a difficult prospect, but in an industry where men have historically outnumbered women, the roadblocks to doing so can be even more challenging when you’re female.

For many female foodservice entrepreneurs, being taken seriously as a business owner is often the biggest challenge, says Arzu Esendemir, CEO and cofounder of Mediterranean fast casual Flatbread Grill in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.

Tap Into the Network

More women enter the foodservice industry every year, and they’re being met with a growing wealth of experience and support from which they can draw. A number of networking and leadership development groups have taken on the task of providing stronger gender diversity at all levels of the industry, and are ensuring that more growth opportunities exist for women.

Mother Knows Best

No longer do women have to choose between a career and motherhood. But finding time to work and have a successful foodservice career—while also raising kids and staying in tune with a busy family—can be a daunting challenge.

“The restaurants are very important to us, but my family is very important to me, as well,” says America Corrales Bortin, cofounder of America’s Taco Shop in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Power of Mom

In the spirit of QSR’s Year of Women in Foodservice initiative, we’re dedicating a monthly section to recognizing the issues that affect women in foodservice and the contributions they make in our industry. If you know a woman with an inspiring story to share or an issue you think needs to be addressed, send your ideas to YearofWomen@qsrmagazine.com.

The number of U.S. households with kids under 18 is about 39 million—33 percent of the country—and moms run more than twice as many single-parent households as dads.

Cause and Effect

Everyone in a company has a cause that’s close to his or her heart, but it’s the CEO’s job to select a charitable partner that connects with those who matter most—the customers—while balancing employees’ interests.

Selecting a cause that connects not only with consumers, but also with people within the company, is a critical element of the corporate giving strategy at Arby’s. This led the roast beef chain to develop a relationship with Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” program, which works to end childhood hunger in America, as part of its Arby’s Foundation.

Beware the C-Suite Silo

When things get busy in the C-suite, people can become so focused on their own areas of responsibility that communication streams slow to a trickle and walls form around one or more departments. These silos—where individuals or even entire functional groups turn inward—can be dangerous to an organization’s overall health.

But CEOs are in a prime position to break down barriers and encourage collaboration.

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