Womens Foodservice Forum Executive Summit 2010

Sep 24, 2010|
Desiree Logsdon, BUNN VP of Marketing, brought back an enthusiastic report from the WFF Executive Summit last week.

Congratulations to the Womens Foodservice Forum (WFF) for a touchdown in Dallas, TX. This years Womens Foodservice Forum Executive Summit offered high level educational programming, insightful keynote speakers, beneficial networking opportunities anda behind-the-scenes tour of the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium. Want to know more? The event opened with an enlightening address from the President & CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, Sally Smith. Her inspirational journey to the C-Suite was one filled with courageous risk-taking. She passionately shared with us her experiences of joining an organization that grew from 35 locations to 350 locations in a short span of 15 years. Now, Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the top ten fastest-growing national restaurant chains.

Before experiencing a VIP tour of the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium, we were addressed by Mike Rawlings, Chairman and CEO of Legends Hospitality Management, a sports services business partnering with NY Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys. Mike intrigued us with his insights on bringing a new level of quality foodservice not previously available in sports stadiums. The organization has taken customer satisfaction in the two state-of-the-art stadiums from an industry average of 33% satisfaction to 67%. Mikes insights reminded us that the key to success in any organization is to solve problems, build passion in employees and align their drive with company goals. Above all, plan for success. If an objective is not written down, it doesnt exist.

The tour of the Dallas Stadium was over-the-top. Yes, the screen is REALLY that big. It extends between the 20 yard lines! We were able to see a sneak peak of the rehearsal of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders gearing up for Sundays game against Chicago (Being an IL girl, I must insert that the Bears won the game on Sunday!)

WFFs partnership with Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University proved to be a win-win partnership resulting in high-level educational sessions.

Robert Wolcott, Executive Director of Kellogg Innovation Network presented Leadership Teams that Drive Innovation. He emphasized that organization must never think they have THE FORMULA; it becomes a success trap. Companies must always be nimble and ready to adjust. Organizations must find a balance between protecting the core business and innovating. The skills required for fortification are different than those required for innovation. Help your team figure out what they are best at and nurture it. Balance the requirements of today with the investments imperative for the future. And, finally, a common mistake in innovation: do not manage the rate of failure, measure the cost of failure. Never focus too quickly on converging on a solution.

Those of us engaged in marketing were fascinated to hear Gregory Carpenter, Chair, Marketing Dept. Kellogg School of Management present Changing the Marketing Game. Greg challenged us by posing the question, Why do some organizations lead their market through time? He advised that successful marketing strategies must give customers a reason to rethink a buying decision even if there is no reason for them to do so. Greg challenged the stereotypes we often believe about our consumers including the following:

  • Lower price is better
  • Information improves choices
  • More choice is better
  • Buyers know what they want (Henry Ford said if he would have asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse)
  • Buyers choose rationally

By the time Greg finished his compelling arguments, I was rethinking traditional marketing strategies!

Keynote speaker Elizabeth Smith, CEO, OSI Restaurant Partners inspired us with a great message reminding us that sometimes we have to let our career unfold and be adaptable along the way. She suggested we never should settle with what is comfortable unless it is extremely fulfilling. To be a good leader, be nimble and comfortable with ambiguity. Remember you can do well, while doing well. In a new position ask yourself, Can I do this job OR should this job be done differently than in the past? If you dont like change, you will like irrelevance a lot less. Protect your heritage, but create a future; be restless. Dont ever take an extended victory lap. Keep working hard. Always make the time to mentor, teach and bring the next generation along. Demystify failure as a leader by admitting your mistakes. This will empower your teams to develop the courage to take risks. As a leader, ask for a conversation with your team, not a presentation from them.

I left the WFF Executive Summit with not only new business insights, but with new relationships with other foodservice professionals.

Want to learn more about the benefits of this professional group? Visit http://www.womensfoodserviceforum.com/


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