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National Restaurant Association - CEOs address state of restaurant industry

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CEOs address state of restaurant industry

National Restaurant Association CEO Dawn Sweeney and Wendy’s International CEO Emil Brolick shared the stage for a leadership panel, at this year’s Restaurant Leadership conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

During the March 25 panel, called “A Passion for the Industry,” Sweeney addressed the state of the $709 billion a year industry, saying legislative, financial and operational challenges like proposed wage hikes, ambush election tactics and abusive patent litigation negatively impact business. She also urged restaurateurs to join forces and exert their influence in the marketplace and legislative chamber.

“We must stay vigilant to the forces that are trying to control our future,” she said. “As an industry, we must come together, achieve alignment and face the challenges of increased government regulation and legislation. That’s why the National Restaurant Association exists – to help this huge, vibrant industry leverage its size, combine forces across brands and keep our businesses growing.”

Sweeney also told attendees there is a lot of good news to report, including:

  • Restaurants are creating more jobs and opportunities than ever before – keeping the American dream within the reach of millions
  • Pent-up consumer demand for dining out is on the rise
  • More new and innovative concepts are being developed, launched and marketed
  • The industry’s members have a deeper level of engagement with their employees, customers and each other
  • The NRA is committed to working with lawmakers to ensure they understand and respond to the industry’s concerns

Brolick talked about his leadership path and plans for the future of Wendy’s, how the company responds to the needs of today’s consumers, and what some of the most important issues surrounding the franchise model are right now.

He also talked about the challenges of nurturing and revitalizing a brand, dealing with new concept competition, and building a strong leadership team.

Sweeney will host another leadership panel May 17, during NRA Show 2015.

Pictured top right, from left: Dawn Sweeney and Emil Brolick

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