Operator Perspectives 2019

By Kent Hamaker posted 22 days ago


Construction issues.
 Real estate challenges. Online delivery apps. Streamlining kitchens. Smarter equipment. These were just a few of the refrains we heard when talking to five operators—three commercial, Captain D’s, Nashville, Tenn., Checkers and Rally’s, Tampa, Fla., and Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, Homestead, Pa., and two noncommercial, Centra Health System, Lynchburg, Va., and Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.—about the year ahead. Most are optimistic. All are laser-focused on controlling what costs they can and mitigating those they can’t while working to expand and grow.

Almost everyone we spoke with mentioned the pain of rising construction and real estate costs. Part of the cost uptick is normal. But regionally, unpredictable weather patterns will increasingly impact expansion budgets. Last September and October, not one but two Category 5 hurricanes put much of the southeast under water. In November, unprecedented California wildfires burned out of control. Operators in expansion mode are coping with skyrocketing materials and labor costs, especially in areas that are rebuilding after disasters.

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