Each year, TDn2K™ (Transforming Data into Knowledge) hosts the Global Best Practices Conference, an event designed to bring together the best and brightest restaurant leaders to share insights as well as honor those in the industry who have truly gone above and beyond in creating superior workplaces. During the conference, TDn2K presents several awards to celebrate such workplaces, including the Best Practices Awards, the Diamond Catalyst Award, the Workplace Legacy Award and the Heart of the Workplace Award.

The Best Practices Awards

The Best Practices Awards are awarded to a restaurant in each dining segment for outstanding performance in categories such as workforce diversity, community involvement and sustainable practices. Nominees must be members of People Report™ and place in the top 10% of their segment in these categories.

The 2018 finalists areBig Boy Restaurants, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, City Barbecue, Dave & Buster’s, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Del Taco, Denny’s, Donatos Pizza, Eat’n Park, Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse, Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ, Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken, Ninety Nine Restaurants, Olive Garden, Panda Express, Panera Bread, Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery, Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse, The Capital Grille, The Cheesecake Factory, The Wendy’s Company and Whataburger.

“We are truly honored to be included as one of the top-performing companies. People Report members are regarded as some of the most innovative and forward-thinking in the industry and each accomplishes so much by valuing their people and the communities they serve. We have the People Report leadership to thank for bringing together the like-minded organizations that are proving you can do good and be successful,” said Tom Pendrey, COO of Donatos.

The 2017 winners in each segment were:

  • Quick Service: Raising Cane’s
  • Fast Casual: Panera Bread
  • Family Dining: Eat’n Park
  • Casual Dining: 99 Restaurants
  • Upscale Casual: The Cheesecake Factory
  • Fine Dining: The Capital Grille

The Diamond Catalyst Award

The Diamond Catalyst Award is a tribute to superior operational and workplace results. Eligible companies are members of both People Report and Black Box Intelligence™ and are evaluated based on sales and traffic performance as well as employment and people practices. The recipient of this award sets the standard for overall best in class business performance. The Diamond Catalyst was given for the first time in 2013 to The Cheesecake Factory, and presented to Dave & Buster’s in 2016.

The 2017 Diamond Catalyst Award winner was casual dining restaurant chain Olive Garden.

The Workplace Legacy Award

The Workplace Legacy Award recognizes a leader in the restaurant industry who has clearly demonstrated success in balancing superior people practices and best in class operational results. In addition, their employees, organizations and communities have benefited from their leadership. The Workplace Legacy Award was given for the first time in 2005 and has honored incredible industry leaders such as Doug Brooks, Chairman and CEO of Brinker International, Gene Lee, President and CEO of Darden Restaurants, John Miller, President and CEO of Denny’s Restaurants and Sally Smith, President & CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings.

The 2017 recipient was Steve Carley, Immediate Past CEO of Red Robin. “Steve Carley is an exceptional leader who always made it about his people and never sought the limelight. His vision and discipline as an operator was remarkable, and his team was always the cornerstone. It is a privilege to be able to honor him with the Workplace Legacy Award.” said Joni Thomas Doolin, CEO and Founder of TDn2K.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Workplace Legacy Award. What has always driven my enthusiasm for this business is the people. Playing a role in making others successful in their career journeys, one person at a time, is my definition of making a positive difference in the world,” said Carley.


The Heart of the Workplace Award

The Heart of the Workplace Award is presented to the company that demonstrates significant commitment to and investment in their employees and communities. Winners from previous years include Panera Bread, Chili’s, Red Robin and Darden Restaurants. Last year, it was awarded to Red Lobster.“Red Lobster was founded on the belief that our people are our greatest competitive advantage. Our more than 57,000 team members are the true ‘Heart of our Workplace,’ and we are very proud of the difference they make within our restaurants and our communities. We are truly grateful to TDn2K for this recognition.” said Tom Gathers, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Red Lobster.