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OpenTable Roundtable – Recruiting during the Age of COVID

Thanks to Winston Lord, Chief Evangelist at OpenTable and the rest of OpenTable team, I was privileged to moderate another virtual roundtable last week. This one centered around recruiting and hiring as our restaurant community relaunches their businesses while COVID still dominates how we operate.

We had an all-star cast of top US based operators including several with international operations. We also had the good fortune to be joined by Alice Cheng, founder and CEO of Culinary Agents (https://culinaryagents.com), who brought great information and a broad, national perspective to the conversation. (Take a look at the post on my Sternberg Hospitality page regarding the Culinary Agent survey results https://www.facebook.com/SternbergHospitality/posts/4297985426880084.)  

Our goal was to share and identify the best practices that are enabling a positive outlook on coming back to work as well as discuss some of the issues that have come up so that we might offer some ideas on how to solve the problems that the COVID pandemic has created.

Key takeaways –                               

In the Culinary Agents survey, the indication was that 92% of the workforce intended to stay in the industry, citing passion as the single most important reason for staying. Interestingly, 21% said that career growth was their compelling reason for staying in the restaurant business.

I need to also stress how much all these operators continue to do to for their communities. A couple were working with World Central Kitchen in preparing and providing meals, some were making box meals for their employees and families, and several were offering food for a variety of community efforts. As always, my fellow restaurateurs amaze me with their “give first” mentality. In the midst of a huge downturn in the own financial prospects, they never stop thinking about the needs of others.

Another great session and some terrific learning.

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