Thursday, September 13, 2012

LRA shares industry trends at America's Small Business Development Conference

Steve Pettus,
Managing Partner of
Dickie Brennan & Co.
will discuss trends
in the restaurant
industry affecting his
three French Quarter
This week, more than 1,000 consultants from America's Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are convening in New Orleans to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing business. As a partner with the Louisiana SBDC, the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) regularly relies on the knowledge base of these state-funded offices to provide further support to its members. 

The Gotta Come Back Restaurant Experience: Trends and Tools Used by Successful Restaurateurs panel, led by LSBDC Restaurant Specialist Dianne Sclafani, will also feature speakers such as Wendy Waren, LRA VP of Communications, Steve Pettus, Managing Partner for Dickie Brennan and Co. and Jay Nix, owner of Parkway Tavern and Bakery in New Orleans. 
“It was extremely important to me that the restaurant industry be part of the conference program,” said Sclafani. “I’ve been working with restaurants for years on developing business plans, identifying funding sources for opening or expansion and assisting them in addressing trends in the industry head on to help them become more profitable.”  
Wendy Waren, LRA VP of
Communications will
discuss three trends and
the impact on restaurants.
The discussion will focus on trends that are challenging restaurants including meeting the customer expectations, expansion into multiple products and services, and how technology will continue to shape the way restaurants operate both internally and externally. To meet these new demands, restaurateurs will need to change some of their operational activities in the areas of marketing, operations, finance and human resources. 

“Meeting these demands takes time, which is limited for the restaurateur,” said Waren. “Often times, it may result in the need to hire an interactive service business, but in independent restaurateurs may mean using family and existing staff to meet this demands or having the owner maintain these aspects in addition to other tasks.”

Waren said that the three biggest trends impacting the restaurant industry today and in the future are rising food costs, attracting millennial diners and the increase in the use of technology by consumers.

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