He Said, He Said

October 03, 2022 | 661 Views

He Said, He Said

Patrick Yearout, FMP, CHT

Director of Innovation, Recruiting, and Training | Ivar's & Kidd Valley Restaurants

The age-old debate has flared up again: if you can only go to one CHART conference per year, should it be winter or summer?

Recently I discussed that question with long-time member Gabe Hosler of Del Taco. I advocated for the winter conference, and Gabe thought that the summer event would prove more valuable for attendees.

Here’s what we each had to say:

Patrick: First of all, let’s talk about the setting. I don’t think it’s gets any better than the location of the 2023 winter conference: my hometown of Seattle. And CHART won’t be tucked far away in the suburbs, no – we’ll be right in the heart of the city at the Westin, a twin-tower high rise hotel that serves as the flagship for the brand. We’ll be close to Pacific Northwest highlights such as the world-famous Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Starbucks Reserve Roastery, and all the best restaurants in downtown.

Gabe: That’s nice, but Seattle can hardly compete with the site of the 2023 summer conference: Orlando! It’s home to some of the top theme parks in the world, of course, and we will certainly have much nicer weather than Seattle in the winter. Anyone coming to this conference could easily add on a few days to their trip and spend some time at Walt Disney World, Universal Resorts, or one of Florida’s many beaches.

Patrick: OK, let’s talk content. In addition to the general session speakers, the winter conference will once again allow attendees to take up to three of our training competencies sessions. I believe there’s no better learning opportunity than these “deep dives” into the core competencies of our profession, and I would add that nothing else CHART has ever offered has provided more value to Ivar’s or better prepared me for my current position.

Gabe: The competencies are indeed solid workshops, but I prefer hearing the CHART Talks that are presented from various members on the last day of the summer conference. I find that these “brief blasts of brilliance” are instantly relatable and usable for us at Del Taco and think they are the perfect way to cap off all the learning that takes place. Plus, the Training High Five also provides invaluable best practices for trainers, and you only get to experience that during the summer conference. I love the format for THF because you get the opportunity to see and hear directly from the person who implemented the idea and how it has improved their organization.

Patrick: Well, did you hear that the winter conference will have a slightly altered format this year? The competencies will be presented on the second and third days, and attendees can either depart early on day four or stick around for an optional Master Class. These capstone sessions offer an opportunity to discuss the real-world issues and work with your peers to create solutions to take back to your workplace. Those participating will actually get to put into practice the principles covered in their competency workshops!

Gabe: I’ll counter that argument with the networking opportunities at the summer conference – it traditionally has more attendees, so there’s always a stronger chance you will be able to connect with someone who can provide you with the best practices you need right now. Plus, we have the lodging reception on opening night for those in the hotel industry, and the 10+ year member reception in conjunction with the Commitment to People Awards celebration on the closing night, neither of which are available at the winter conference.

Patrick: You have some good points, Gabe. Ideally, it would be best if everyone could go to both conferences. But if I could only go to one, the winter conference in Seattle would be the one I would choose. I just think the attendees will like it more.

Gabe: You are so wrong. The summer conference in Orlando will definitely get higher evaluation scores.

Patrick: Let’s make it interesting. If the winter conference gets an overall higher score than the summer conference, you will donate $100 to CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees). And if the reverse is true, I’ll donate $100 to CORE.

Gabe: Deal!

So now it’s up to you, CHART members – which conference will get the higher overall score? Which conference would you go to if you could only attend one, and why? Join the conversation by leaving your response in the comments section below.

CHART Community Discussion

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