How Restaurant Catering is Changing the Balance Sheet of America – RLC Presentation 2013

As many of you know, I’m passionate about catering in multi-unit restaurant ecosystems.  As part of my duties at MonkeyMedia Software, I recently had a wonderful opportunity to speak at the Restaurant Leadership Conference in Scottsdale last month.  My team captured the whole presentation on video, and I thought I’d post it here for anyone who is interested in seeing it.

I hope you enjoy it.  Send me your thoughts!

 

 

 

Great advice from some great leaders

I am really lucky!  I mean, really lucky!  I get to work with the best in the business.  This summer, at MonkeyMedia Software we have set up our Industry Advisory Council to help guide us responsibly as our restaurant industry legitimizes the catering revenue channel, especially for multi-unit restaurant operators.  We need a lot of advice as we navigate the complex landscape of growing a world-class company.

We will be making a more formal announcement later in the year.  So watch the press for that news!

The following leaders in our community have accepted roles on our IAC and we will be adding more quality people as it makes sense for us to do so.

I am so excited to have this kind of mentorship and experience.  Talk about adding depth to the bench!  I am looking forward to serving these force-multipliers in my career.

So, these developments got me thinking.  Again.  Not about anything in particular really.  Just thinking.  How can I do my best to really tap into the experience of the people around me? These wonderful, experienced, smart and generous people? I mean, if I don’t ask the right questions, how am I going to learn from them?  Sure, they have offered to help.  But, to what end?

Then I realized, quite suddenly really, that I continue to hold the responsibility.  The responsibility of continuing to “sell and market” my vision.  Then I started reconsidering my methodology.  After all, I have been “selling” for years.  Trying to stand on a soap box bringing prospects to my side of the playground.  Always trying to make noise about new features or point out the obvious benefits.  Why is “my” product or service better than someone else’s?  There are so many great companies with great products and truth is we all have to dig down deep to differentiate.  Well, I am tired of that.  As one of the key sales resources in my organization, I cannot sell unless I believe.  That means that I have to be able to present the proper value proposition to all my stakeholders.  I could not sleep at night if I had to sell vapour.  No way.  Not a chance.

As I struggled with this concept of “selling”, it dawned on me that in today’s world, we have to do it differently.  Find better ways.  So as I asked my Industry Advisory Council for advice, lucky for me, Tom Feltenstein had these powerful words to share.  Very powerful indeed.  He sent it to me in the context of my question to him of how do we get better at sales?  Here is his response:

“….. instead, here is the much smarter, more sophisticated question:  How can I set up a system of attraction that brings a steady, reliable stream of ideal potential customers to me, asking for my advice or assistance as a trusted authority or provider in their category of interest, or even better, who are predetermined to be my customers if accepted?”

Well.  Tom got me thinking about this.  I don’t have a clear response for him yet but I am working on one.  I’ll continue to work on it.  What I can say is that as a person who believes deeply that the catering revenue channel will change the landscape of the future for the US restaurant industry, I owe all of you a “system of attraction”. I think I have started down that path.  If I hadn’t would I be where I am? Unlikely.  Saying that, how do you put it in a bottle?  One that you can carry with you all the time.

I will work on just doing a good job today and serve my stakeholders well.  I hope you do too!

Enjoy your day!

Blown away by the quality of leadership in our multi-unit restaurant community

Last week in Scottsdale, Arizona I had the good fortune of attending the Restaurant Leadership Conference for 2012. I had so much fun, especially with sharing my dream about Ray Kroc in this Video!  For those of you that missed it, just before the Bill Strickland presentation, I’ll share it here just for fun.  I’ll come back to Bill Strickland in a bit.

So, I have to say, that I am blown away by our community!  Really blown away! I think many of the attendees were.  And so, as I returned to Vancouver, It really got me thinking.  I mean, REALLY got me thinking.

Here’s the thing.  Of the 30% of attendees that I was lucky enough to meet, to greet and to make some acquaintance,  I felt that the quality of the our conversations were insightful, optimistic, kind and generous.   Those conversations were a gift for me on a personal level.  These gatherings are so important for all of us, because the food business is about people.  Making connections.  Intellectual, spiritual and emotional.  It’s just about the people.

So I started thinking more about that.  I really started to zero in on the quality of the  Keynote Speakers this year. Not that previous years have been anything to sneeze at; but this year, it was different.

Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo 

Joshua Olshansky Managing Director and Head of Consumer Retail Practice, Golden Gate Capital

Herman Cain Former President/CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Former Chairman, NRA

Howard Stoeckel CEO, Wawa Inc.

Ronald M. Shaich Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board Panera Bread

Edward H. Rensi Former President & CEO, McDonald’s USA; Co-operator, Tom & Eddie’s.  

Seeing that this was a Leadership conference, I studied these leaders.  I observed, I listened and I learned.  I saw how each of them really connects with their audience when they are speaking.  They spoke with high energy, intense belief and a passion towards a higher purpose in their work.  It was fascinating for me to watch.  I was mesmerized.  Impressed.  And most of all, I was learning.  

“That’s it!”, I thought to myself.  “It’s the learning!  The intellectual connections!  The idea of advancement!  Of making our industry better, so we, as people can be better!”.  Well, at least that was part of it for me.

So I started thinking more about that. 

Then I thought about the followers under these great leaders and within that following is yet even more leadership.  As a matter of fact, each facet of our business operations needs to have solid leadership.  And so, I started to wonder where exactly that begins and ends, from an organizational perspective.

Then I thought to myself that not all people can be or even want to be leaders.  Or do they?  I mean, if leadership remains a key theme throughout the entire culture of our organizations, then clearly if we can be leaders in our markets, then all of the people who work for us will feel like leaders.  So, it’s not necessarily about individuals as much as it is about whole organizations, industry’s and communities.

I want to call out two particular things I learned from the conference.

1.  Ron Shaich spoke on the topic of Conscious Capitalism.  Ron’s message struck me hard.  It’s brilliant and he has taken this perspective and applied it to the Panera Cares concept.  Here is a video that I found on Ron’s fantastic and creative effort towards making a difference in the communities he serves.

When I heard this perspective, I felt like I was watching a master, an artist.  I was watching a man that had so much trust in the human spirit, that he risked his neck on a new idea.  One that everyone called crazy.  And guess what?  It’s working.  The communities are embracing this new economic model and while that is happening, less privileged people are eating great food at Panera.  Getting respect and the end result is that these communities are healthier and those that are suffering from hunger, are getting food.  This approach to our community issues is not only brilliant, it serves shareholders as well.  This presentation really blew me away at the conference.

2.  The second most important presentation for me was from Bill Strickland.  Bill was so effective in his presentation, that he had most of the room shedding tears.  Why?  Because of his authenticity in his mission and his ability to connect with the human emotion.  For those of you that missed Bill’s presentation, I am including a clip that I found.  

I was so moved by Bill Strickland’s work, that I decided to learn more about his education perspectives.  He is building a facility in Vancouver and my plan is to get involved, from the beginning.  To bring purpose to others, to wake with intention and to be involved in impacting the human emotion in a positive and purposeful way.  

I took away a feeling of hope from these speakers.  That in fact, we can do more in our professional careers to make a difference.  To really make the world a better place instead of just living to increase shareholder value.  I love that idea.  Build it and they will come.  If you look after your customers, and you create the right environment, behaviour will change.  Profits?  Well, according to Ron and Bill, if you don’t focus on them, and you just focus on your “higher purpose” as an organization, the money will come.

I woke up very grateful to these two leaders today.  I want to thank them both for the gift they gave me in Scottsdale last week.  I encourage each of you to learn more from these great human beings.