Author Blog & Press

What United Airlines Taught Us (Not To Do)

A great deal has been made in the last week out of the public relations debacle United Airlines created for itself when it literally had a passenger dragged off its plane. The man had already paid for his seat and willingly followed all security and boarding procedures. By all accounts, he was quietly minding his own business and waiting for takeoff like everyone else. … [Read more]

To Drive or Not to Drive?

The on-demand economy and its impact on existing business models, the tax and regulatory systems at all levels of governments and electoral politics fascinate me. I can’t get enough of it. Amazon, Alibaba, Uber and Airbnb are often called “disruptors” because of how rapidly - and likely permanently - they are changing the marketplaces in which they operate. Potentially, … [Read more]

How Yum! Brands is Winning the Conversation

For some time, I have argued about the definition of "winning" whenever I’m asked what success looks like for the labor and activist community. For those of you who have interacted with me at the Global Best Practices Conference and other forums, you have heard me say that for critics of our industry’s business model, winning is not just measured in successful advances in … [Read more]

Best Practices for Holistic Retention and Engagement

According to recent People Report™ data, voluntary turnover has skyrocketed to over 70 percent for both hourly and management restaurant employees. The national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December, which is almost at a nine-year low, so our candidates have a myriad of opportunities. It costs $2,004 to replace an hourly employee and $13,523 to replace a … [Read more]

Prevailing Winds or Systemic Change?

Last month at the annual Global Best Practice Conference, TDn2K™ chairman and co-founder Wally Doolin presented an insightful glimpse into the economic, technological and demographic factors that are changing the landscape of the restaurant industry. The New Reality of Brick and Mortar We have to ask ourselves: do we have too many restaurants? Is the market … [Read more]

Changers of Commerce Spotlight: Sustainable Restaurant Group’s Kristofor Lofgren

Many large restaurant groups can attribute their success to one of their greatest strengths: their supply chain. We all know that any strength can become a weakness, though. Marginal Ingredients Won’t Excite Your Staff David Lebovitz describes this well in My Paris Kitchen, when he laments that “many of the great Parisian bistros have been taken over by … [Read more]

What Happened to Unions?

If you’ve read our series about what President Trump can and can’t control, you know that we need to be front and center with local wage, paid leave and other issues. By now, you’re probably wondering what the role of unions are in this political landscape. There’s a lot of self-reflecting on how unions can be relevant to the modern worker. Unions are figuring out how … [Read more]

What Issues are Within President Trump’s Control?

During the HR Summit at this year’s Global Best Practices Conference, Joe Kefauver and Franklin Coley of Align Public Strategies shared some of their insights on what may and may not change during President Trump’s administration. Here are some things that are within the president’s control. Click here to read about local issues, including minimum wage, paid leave and … [Read more]

Reflections on My First Global Best Practices Conference

As the new Senior Director for IT at TDn2K™, I attended my first Global Best Practices Conference last month and I found it to be the most unusual conference I have ever attended for many unexpected reasons. The most obvious and bold statement about the conference was the name itself, “Global Best Practices Conference.” For something to truly be a global best practice … [Read more]

Changers of Commerce Spotlight: Ten for 10

This is a story about how one person can make a huge impact on thousands of people in another continent by sharing our most precious resource -- water. It all started on a date night in 2008. Sheryl Coyne-Batson and her husband, Bryan Batson, decided to check out the indie film "Flow: For Love of Water." The movie showcases an unsettling trend in our access to … [Read more]

A Restaurant Industry SWOT Analysis

This year at the annual TDn2K™ Global Best Practices Conference, attendees had the opportunity to attend the HR Summit, a special session of panelists dedicated to addressing the most pressing issues facing human resources professionals in 2017. Joe Kefauver and Franklin Coley with Align Public Strategies kicked off the panel with an analysis of the weaknesses and … [Read more]

What’s Outside of President Trump’s Control?

This year at the annual TDn2K™ Global Best Practices Conference in Dallas, Texas, attendees had the opportunity to attend the HR Summit, a special session dedicated to addressing the most pressing issues facing human resources professionals in 2017. One of these issues is undoubtedly the changing the political landscape and how the new White House administration will … [Read more]

An Eye on the Future of Demographics

Last Sunday, most of us eagerly watched what many are calling the greatest Super Bowl in history. Depending on which team you pulled for, either it was the greatest comeback you'd ever seen in football or one of the most painful collapses in recent memory. Aside from the usual Monday morning quarterbacking and endless analysis of the game, we also heard the annual water … [Read more]

Translation of New Executive Orders

President Donald Trump’s first several days in office resulted in a flurry of executive orders. Each day brings a new slate of executive actions to interpret, some of which are largely symbolic with accompanying photo-ops and others that will have a real and immediate impact. The actions have covered issue areas as diverse as terminating the Trans-Pacific Partnership … [Read more]

Markets May Matter More than Trump

As human resources professionals know all too well, the workforce is a marketplace as complex as any other. Like the consumer or financial marketplaces, laws and regulations play a major role in defining boundaries. Similarly, all marketplaces contend with less tangible elements, like public approval or perception, that may have as much or more impact. This is the main … [Read more]

Don’t Lose Sight of New York’s Proposed Overtime Rule

A proposed overtime rule in New York State takes effect Jan. 1, yet it’s received very little attention over the past month because it was under the salary threshold required by the Obama Administration’s overtime rule. (It would have escalated above that threshold eventually.) It was easy to lose sight of the proposal under the circumstances but now, with a court … [Read more]

Election Results: Don’t Pop the Cork Yet

In the days and weeks since the presidential election, much has been written about the potential impacts of the election results on operators. Other than some uneasiness over trade and consumer confidence, entry-level employers generally feel optimistic about what might lie ahead with policy changes to taxes, wages and healthcare. Most employers feel like they got a big … [Read more]

Election Day Recap: What Happened and What’s Next

This is a special Election Day recap and original commentary by Align Public Strategies. It provides forward-thinking analysis of the results and political realities that will shape the business environment post-election. Last night taught us a lot of things, but for entry-level employers who were still unclear of whether they had lost the Republican Party, last night … [Read more]

Are You Ready for this New Employment Regulation?

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the outcome of the Presidential Election in less than two weeks will have a significant impact on many public policy issues facing employers. We have a basic idea that when it comes to workplace and workforce issues, a Hillary Clinton Administration will look and feel a lot like a third Obama Administration. If Donald Trump wins, … [Read more]

Down Ballot Races May Be Most Important

Because of the tone and tenor of the presidential campaign, lots of folks might be surprised to learn there are significant races going on across the country. These so-called "down-ballot" elections for governors’ offices, U.S. House and Senate seats, state legislatures and other offices may hold the real clues for what the next four years entail for employers, no matter … [Read more]

DOL Updates Persuader Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently changed what it considers reportable "persuader" activity under the Labor-Management Relations Act. Any agreements entered on or after July 1, 2016 with attorneys or consultants to provide a number of common services (supervisor training, drafting of employee communications and certain policy materials, providing union … [Read more]

Don’t Freak Out: 4 Lessons to Overcome Your Recruiting and Retention Challenges

People Report™ recently published its quarterly Workforce Index™. If you work in human resources or recruiting, it's a quick read that will help you understand some of the labor pressures in the service sector. The Workforce Index highlighted a host of recruiting and retention difficulties for hourly and management positions. For example, we learned just how turnover … [Read more]

Cafe Momentum: Come for the Mission, Stay for the Food

What does it take to get recognized on the same level as Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley and Wayne Newton? In a nutshell: passion, service and a commitment to social entrepreneurship. In 2015, Café Momentum Chef and Executive Director Chad Houser was recognized as one of the 10 Most Outstanding Young Americans by the United States Junior Chamber. Here’s his story about … [Read more]

Career Tips from the Experts

Have you ever wondered how other industry leaders interview and select amazing talent? Do you wonder what it takes to get to the highest levels of your organization? During this year’s Global Best Practices Conference pre-conference Workforce Symposium, Lou Kaucic (CEO & Founder, Coaches Collective International) chaired a panel with Jennifer Hartley (VP of … [Read more]

What Keeps Restaurant Execs Up at Night?

Insights on Turnover, Employee Engagement and more from Restaurant Industry Leadership Do you wonder what the most pressing issues are on a restaurant executive’s mind? During this year’s Global Best Practices Conference pre-conference workshop, the Workforce Symposium, Lou Kaucic (CEO & Founder, Coaches Collective International) chaired a panel with Jennifer … [Read more]

Do You Still Get the Union You Deserve?

“You get the union you deserve.” For decades, labor relations experts and attorneys used these foreboding words to encourage their clients to create positive employee relations and great places to work. Traditionally, companies heeded this warning by offering competitive wages and benefits, making sure the “jerk managers” were identified and removed and conducting … [Read more]

7 Mission-Critical Issues Foodservice Operators Will Face in 2016 (and What to Do about Them)

The restaurant industry is like an escalator; you can move up or you can move down. But if you’re standing still, you’re walking backwards. Here’s my list of the seven mission-critical issues you should be focusing on now to insure a successful 2016: Rising Wages. The combination of government mandates and union protests have all but guaranteed that this issue will be … [Read more]

Don’t Tax Me, I’m an Independent (Contractor)

During the 2016 Global Best Practices Conference presented by TDn2K™, we spent a lot of time talking about the role of independent contractors in our organizations. In the past, the Department of Labor (DOL) used to rely on the IRS 20-factor test to determine if a worker was an independent contractor or employee. As Winstead, PC partner Tom Reddin explained, the DOL … [Read more]

People, Profits, Planet, Purpose – Part 2

Each year at TDn2K™’s Global Best Practices Conference, restaurant leaders gather to discuss the state of the industry, potential challenges and celebrate the brands that have raised the bar through a focus on people, profits and planet. Earlier this week I recapped some powerful themes felt throughout the 21st Global Best Practice Conference, kindness and culture. There … [Read more]

Don’t Be Foolish: Engage Your Employees

If there’s one thing the audience at the 2016 Global Best Practices Conference learned, it’s that employee engagement is absolutely critical yet largely lacking in many workplaces today. On, Tuesday, January 19th, Tom Gardner, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Motley Fool, reminded us that the average Gallup employee engagement score is 30%. Even if you’re lucky enough to … [Read more]

Pioneering a Restaurant in Cuba

Cuba is awe-inspiring and timeless. I traveled to Havana over Thanksgiving with a team of HR and recruiting executives. Our goal was to learn more about the economic climate of a country that's been closed to American citizens and businesses for over fifty years. First, a little history. When you step off the airplane in Havana, you enter a universe where time … [Read more]

Summer Brand Camp Named One of BizBash’s Most Innovative Meetings of 2015

We are so excited to share that TDn2K's Summer Brand Camp has been named as one of BizBash's most innovative meetings of 2015! Check out the feature story below and huge thanks to our campers, sponsor partners, BTC Revolutions and The Event Lounge for contributing to such an incredible event! It seems as though people are busier than ever nowadays, with infinite … [Read more]

TDn2K Press Release: October 13, 2015

6 Things You Didn’t Know About TDn2K

Ever wonder what those crazy TDn2K employees are always up to? Curious about how the whole company even started? Spending your days wondering what goes on behind those mysterious office walls? Well today is your lucky day! Here's the insider scoop (from your very own insider intern) on what TDn2K is all about! Shh, don't tell anyone I told you! Catherine Kaucic … [Read more]

Key Takeaways From #SBrandCamp In 140 Characters

The takeaways from Summer Brand Camp 2015 are best written in your words — your tweets. Whether you joined us, or not, here are the key points from each speaker. Summer Brand Camp, as well as your personal and professional life is about passion, love and purpose. The Art & Soul of Work with Doug Shaw: The soul of work is about getting to know one another better. … [Read more]

It’s not a Conference, and it’s Not Really Summer Camp, It’s a Way of Life – Part 2

That high you’re feeling from Summer Brand Camp earlier this month? That’s not going to go away. Ever. “You might get stirred up enough here that you’ll go home and do something big,” said Chris Ebbeler Those amazing people you took pictures with, added on Facebook and love to death? Don’t chalk it up to be a temporary, conference relationship, it’s real. These … [Read more]

The Hardest Journey is the One From Your Head to Your Heart

I have visible tattoos on my wrists, I’m young, and I fly a lot, and usually in yoga pants (as I am as I type this). If you’re judging me by my cover, you have no idea that I own a marketing consultancy and head digital marketing for several brands, I have a 4 year old (whose dad is in the Middle East) and 2 dogs to keep alive, as well as myself; I'm exhausted. I see … [Read more]

Netgiving is the New Networking

How many times do you get to go to a conference where you throw on a t-shirt and tie on your working boots? I’m assuming most of you have not, but that is because you haven’t been to Summer Brand Camp’s Service Nation Netgiving event. What is Netgiving you ask? It is the art of networking, but in an environment where you are giving back to the community in a multitude … [Read more]

An INTERNal Perspective

Re-imagine walking into your first Summer Brand Camp conference; seeing the set up, the people, even seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces. Now time for some magic: Take your age and subtract about 5-7 years. Take away all the knowledge that you’ve inquired from your past jobs, and throw in a dash of uneasiness. Don’t forget to put on a huge smile because voilà, you … [Read more]

Voice of the Hourly Worker

One of the toughest spaces for any social brand manager to navigate is the world of your employees on social. Whether you are in marketing, HR, recruiting, or operations, every day brings new opportunities and challenges for your brand reputation and voice. This panel, held at Summer Brand Camp, included workplace, marketing and labor relations experts who discussed the … [Read more]

Best Places to Work: How Restaurants Can Get Into the Club

It’s been projected that due to the recovering US economy that talent will become more scarce and that organizations will need to find ways to make working for them more attractive. Coupling that with some of the healthcare regulations, many organizations are moving to have more part-time work and don’t necessarily know what sets them apart or what makes them a best place … [Read more]

Why I Will Always Underestimate Wendy Clark

Don Draper has been the center of many a marketing conversation since the cliffside closure of the Mad Men epoch. But as Wendy Clark took the stage at Summer Brand Camp this year, I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude that the giants and geniuses of the marketing world have metamorphosed from the “Mad Men” of the 60s into authentic leaders and innovators like the one … [Read more]

Humanizing the Business

Every year I attend Summer Brand Camp, there are always several messages that speak straight to my mind and heart. I really like that they flip the idea of business, marketing, operations and human resources on its head. I’ve been told to always be professional and present that physically and through my communication at all times to gain credibility. Don’t display emotion … [Read more]

Can a Restaurant be a Best Place to Work? Help us find out.

At last year’s Summer Brand Camp, I had the privilege of co-presenting a session with Chris Ebbeler from Chili’s. I shared some data and insights from our Best Places to Work research at Quantum Workplace, and Chris shared some of the amazing stuff he and the Chili’s team have done to build an engaging culture for employees and customers. One of the questions that has … [Read more]

4 Lessons on the Impact of Hourly Workers

By Lauren Bifulco Economic experts state that at least 70 percent of our economy is based on hourly jobs and the restaurant industry employment is now 13.1 million employees strong and growing every year. Most of the hourly jobs within our industry interact in some way, shape or form with your customers; whether it be the first person a customer sees when they walk … [Read more]

You See, I’m Part of a Tribe; Top Moments of #SBrandCamp

You see, I’m part of a tribe. The TDn2K tribe. I didn’t know what that meant two years ago but now I love what it means. It means that even among industry competitors, there are people who look out for each other. Speakers who, while at the top of their game, are willing to be vulnerable and share with the tribe. People who are willing to share their best practices and … [Read more]

Top Takeaways from Summer Brand Camp 2014

Written by Lee Price This was my first year at Summer Brand Camp, and it was an eye-opening experience for me. I’m not an industry insider. At Rep Cap, we manage marketing for companies in all kinds of industries, so I had a lot to learn about what’s specifically going on in the restaurant industry. In a word, I was impressed. The brands (read: people) who come to … [Read more]

3.5 Reasons Marketers Can’t Miss #SBrandCamp

Written by Chelsea Hickey Summer Brand Camp is the 3 days a year marketing, human resources and operations actually look forward to coming together. Seriously. I am happy to tell you why, but first — let me take a selfie. Three reasons marketers shouldn’t miss brand camp, really there are 3 buckets, but marketers love lists, so 3.5 reasons it is: People You … [Read more]

The Purpose of Life is to Do Good and Be Happy

Marketers can market anything. Marketing a brand that cares about people, profits and planet is the most fun, and rewarding. Do you have clarity of your core business purpose? When you see the purpose, it drives results. We all have different companies, but we all share one thing in common: a founder had a dream, and built something from nothing. The amazing speakers … [Read more]

Dear First Time Brand Camper

Written by Lauren Bifulco Summer Brand Camp isn’t your typical conference, at least that’s what I learned when I attended it for the first time last year. I had just made a career change to marketing and was rockin’ a stylish boot due to my broken foot making the perfect formula for a not-so-happy camper. However, after meeting fabulous people and learning lessons I … [Read more]

What Are You Wearing

Written by Chris Reed In your lifetime, how many times have you seen yourself in a photograph? The number certainly has to be in the hundreds, right? Perhaps it tops 1,000 if you include a few dozen selfies in your count. As for the photographs in which I’ve played a part, I’m sure I could look at most of them and say to myself, “Should’ve smiled in that picture.” … [Read more]

It’s Not a Conference and It’s Not Really Summer Camp, It’s a Way of Life

Written by Chelsea Hickey It’s not a conference, and it’s not really summer camp, it’s a way of life. The most commonly used adjective when talking about Summer Brand Camp has been inspirational, though when asked on video, it was awesome. Campers left Dallas inspired to do good. They are motivated to be the change, to make their company, culture and the world a … [Read more]

Musings from a Brand Camp Virgin

Written by Kristi Hamelryck Turner Saying you’re a “Brand Camp Virgin” at a conference that brings together professionals from human resources, marketing and operations doesn’t exactly sound “PC.” But that’s exactly why my inaugural experience was nothing short of incredible. This conference was all about having fun, joking, laughing, learning and getting energized … [Read more]

The Power of Purpose: Why One Conference Changed My Life

Written by Tim McDonald In 2013, I was invited to speak at Summer Brand Camp in Dallas, an annual conference that brings together marketing, human resources and operations from the restaurant industry. If you know me, you know I am not in operations, HR or marketing and that I’m definitely not in the restaurant industry. How in the world could a conference with … [Read more]

The Employer Market is Already Over; Really

By TDn2K economist, Joel Naroff, President & Chief Economist Naroff Economic Advisors The People Report Workforce Index, published at the end of September indicated that employment pressures are already at a pre-recession high, not reported since late 2007. Yet many employers remain skeptical about any impending shortages, or the need to re-examine … [Read more]

Connect Social to Strategy, Not Just Sales

Written by Chelsea Hickey | Marketing Manager at WOMMA during Summer Brand Camp What do you get when human resources, marketing and operations don’t use data? Ads and content that are not relevant to the consumer. Does your brand portray the image customers see when they think about you, or what your exec team wants people to see? Sure, United would like us to … [Read more]

4 Lessons to Learn About Your Hourly Workers

By Lauren Bifulco, Business Development Manager at Snagajob during Summer Brand Camp Economic experts state that at least 70 percent of our economy is based on hourly jobs and the restaurant industry employment is now 13.1 million employees strong and growing every year. Most of the hourly jobs within our industry interact in some way, shape or form with your … [Read more]

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