What to Look for in a Restaurant Leadership Conference

A restaurant leadership conference gives restaurant executives the insights to operate a successful establishment, even in the face of economic uncertainty. These conferences help restauranteurs learn more about what makes a restaurant successful. With experts forecasting that there will be 15.5 million employees in the restaurant industry in the U.S. by Q4 2023, managing these employees will require sound leadership skills. Even the best and brightest in the food and beverage industry can benefit from learning new skills and better ways to run their establishments.

Key Takeaways:

  • Restaurant leadership conferences offer solutions to supply chain issues by connecting owners with suppliers with more favorable terms and prices.
  • As labor shortages continue to plague restaurant executives worldwide, you can discover how other establishments are managing these issues at the conference.
  • Learn more about opportunities to increase take-out order sales and hear perspectives on the pros and cons of utilizing (or investing in) ghost kitchens.

5 Things to Look for in a Restaurant Leadership Conference    

The restaurant industry faces a unique yet precarious position in a post-COVID era, with the potential for a recession in 2023. Profits are low despite strong sales. When your establishment does well in sales, it can also encounter labor issues. Employees can be challenging to find and expensive to retain. Supply chain issues are also a significant concern. 

Yet, the valuation of the industry and its activity have rarely – if ever – been more substantial, with projected annual sales of $997 billion in the U.S. in 2023. Restaurant leadership conferences can highlight the challenges restaurant executives face and offer insights from innovations and growth-oriented perspectives. 

Here are some of our takeaways to discover at the next restaurant leadership conference you attend.

1. Solutions for Consumers’ Recessionary Mindset   

Consumers are experiencing inflation that hovers at about 6.4%. As a result, many patrons can’t afford to dine out, causing them to reconsider their spending habits and eat at home more often. 

Restaurant leadership conference will offer insights into overcoming these consumer mindsets with solutions for frugal customers. As an attendee, you can discuss with industry experts and connect with suppliers offering competitive prices, helping to lower your operating costs and pass savings on to your patrons. 

At a restaurant leadership conference, you can network with other restaurant executives and industry professionals and learn how they are adapting to the changing consumer behaviors seen in recent years. These conferences provide a platform to learn from the experiences of others and enhance your leadership skills. 

Infographic on the mindset shifts of consumers.

Image Courtesy of Bandt

2. Answers to Supply Chain Issues 

Suppliers and their customers agree that some supply chain issues are easing due to improved labor conditions and the availability to keep more stock on hand. Yet, the need for a more sustainable food supply chain is apparent and critical for restaurants worldwide to remain profitable as they continue to face shortages of the products they need to run their establishment. Yet, costs continue to increase, and suppliers struggle to get the items necessary to make their goods from their providers. Restaurant leadership conferences offer sessions that provide strategies to manage short-term supply chain issues and long-term sustainable food supply solutions.  

3. Labor Shortage Solutions

Labor challenges remain an ever-present theme at all industry conferences as it’s a concern all industries share. While several factors influence labor issues, increased cost of living is another reason restaurant executives experience these shortages. 

Workers demanding a livable wage and the impact of the Great Resignation will continue to create labor problems. To address these issues, restaurant leadership conferences offer sessions designed to equip you with the skills to lead teams and balance the needs of employees with the financial objectives of your restaurant. 

Line graph of the US labor shortage from 2009 to 2021.

Image Courtesy of Market Oracle

4. Opportunities to Increase Takeout Orders    

One growth opportunity restaurants have had during the pandemic (and even in the post-pandemic era) is the rise of take-out orders. Restaurant leadership conferences today focus on helping owners and operators find ways to maintain and grow sales. One such solution has been the rise of ghost kitchens – virtual kitchens that offer off-premises food preparation and delivery. 

For example, chains like IHOP have partnered with Ghost Kitchen Brands to offer delivery services, allowing their brick-and-mortar locations to focus on dine-in patrons. P.F. Changs is another example, having added self-delivery – not outsourcing delivery services to third parties like Grub Hub or Uber Eats – to 90 of its locations. Forward-thinking concepts like these were first conceived and discussed at a restaurant leadership conference.

5. Responses to the Ghost Kitchen Debates 

The increasing popularity of take-out orders has also led to the ghost kitchen trend, which has sparked a lot of debate among restauranteurs. Outsourcing food delivery can be a scary prospect for some establishments as it involves entrusting their brand reputation to a third-party provider. 

With so many variables regarding the success of ghost kitchens, it’s good to speak to experts from multiple markets to gather insights and perspectives. Likewise, investors can learn more about whether investing in a ghost kitchen is wise when they attend a restaurant leadership conference. Get expert insights on how to move forward with these investments at the next conference session you attend.

Making Connection for the Entire Food Community at SIAL America

At SIAL America, we unite the entire food community, from food service companies, to retailers, distributors, and wholesalers. Our food events provide valuable business connections among those shaping the food and beverage industry worldwide. Join us for our next show at the end of March at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s not too late to register. 

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