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National Restaurant Association - How chefs can be successful

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How chefs can be successful


Stay on top of trends, technology, and health and nutrition, NRA CEO Dawn Sweeney told the American Culinary Federation July 31. In addition to being creative, chefs have to share knowledge with their guests.

“It is often your work that makes or breaks an operation,” Sweeney said the ACF annual conference in Orlando. “You create ‘buzz’ on social media, bring in tourists, generate neighborhood loyalty, and express the very soul of your restaurant. Your knowledge of trends and available ingredients also can lead to a healthier population.”

Because consumers are increasingly knowledgeable about technology, restaurants must be more transparent, she said. Customers potentially know as much or more than professionals about food sourcing, genetic modification and ethnic influences.

“It’s difficult to keep up, but it’s disastrous to turn a blind eye.”

Sweeney encourage attendees to mentor the next generation of industry professionals. That will help to ensure their kitchens have most experienced crews working seamlessly as a team.

“You have the great responsibility to build those teams and educate and engage the people you employ.”

That responsibility goes well beyond the kitchen. Referencing recent NRA research, Sweeney said restaurants, which employ 14 million people, must add 2 million more jobs over the next 10 years to stay viable. Mentoring is one way to accomplish that goal.

She also encouraged community service.

“Be active in your restaurant, on your block, in your neighborhood and your city,” she said. “Serve as a role model for our entire industry. Behave with integrity, sound values and use your profile for the good of your community.”

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