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3 trendlettes we’re watching

The beginning of the year brings an outpouring of predictions from industry watchers (including us; we did a whole series, including this one). Here are three that made few if any of those lists, yet are already looking like possible trends for 2015. 

1. New chain positions straight off the gridiron

Chipotle credits its “linebackers”—staffers who stock the line during peak hours—for upping throughput and sales this year. Burger King attributes its operational gains, in part, to dispatching multiunit coaches into the field. Panera Bread calls its new position “the expo,” but describes the holder of that job as the quarterback who coordinates the fulfillment of takeout orders placed through the chain’s new mobile-ordering capabilities. Potbelly hopes to boost its delivery and catering sales with a national leader of the backline.

2. More labor woes

Wage hikes and mandatory sick leave are so last year. San Francisco passed a bill that will require restaurants to map out employees’ hours monthly and stick to that commitment, rather than staffing up and down based on demand. California also could force restaurants to pay workers double on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

3. No-tipping policy tipping point?

Daniel Patterson will do away with tipping at his newest restaurant in San Francisco, Aster, instead marking up dishes about 15 percent, he told Eater. When Dirt Candy reopens in Manhattan later this month, it’ll also forgo tips, adding an admin fee of about 20 percent to all checks.

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