Industry News | April 7, 2008

From the Floor: Jerry Newman Offers The Three R's

Jerry Newman addressed a full ballroom of Dine America attendees this morning, stressing what he calls The Three R’s of creating a healthy and profitable quick-service work environment.

Newman, author of My Secret Life on the McJob, is a distinguished professor at SUNY Buffalo who set out two years ago to learn first-hand what working at a fast food restaurant was like. He spent 14 months at eight quick-serves including two McDonald’s, two Wendy’s, two Burger Kings, one Krystal, and one Arby’s.

During his speech Newman emphasized reliability, responsibility, and rewards as being the three most important keys to producing a winning quick-service team. As a strong supporter of the industry, Newman congratulated the crowd on training about 10 million employees last year, with YUM! Brands alone training 1 million.

While the speech was dotted with humorous accounts of the 6’4” presenter working in the “5’8” quick-service world,” he also addressed the top challenge of the industry—-employee retention. One sobering example Newman gave was a Burger King location he worked at that had a 500 percent turnover rate, meaning the entire 40-member staff was replaced five times each year.

Newman will take part in the remainder of the two-day event and will sign copies of his book tonight at a cocktail reception sponsored by Decision Logic.

The rest of the morning attendees took part in education sessions on the following topics: governmental regulations, menu trends, and loss prevention. This afternoon Teresa Siriani, president of People Report, will speak with the entire group about upcoming human resources challenges including what the quick-service workforce will look like, what the employees will demand, and what poses the biggest competition for talent.

QSR magazine's 5th annual executive idea exchange, Dine America, began yesterday in Houston, Texas, at the Hilton Americas Hotel Downtown. There, operators and executives from across the country have gathered to be informed and inspired by some of the foodservice industry's top leaders.

QSR magazine and its Web site are the leading sources of news and information about the $180 billion-plus quick-service industry.

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