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3 Things We Learned at FRLA 2016

Sean Perkins, Business Consultant
by Sean Perkins, Business Consultant on October 27, 2016

food-restaurant-lodging-show.jpgDid you miss the Food Restaurant and Lodging Association show last month in Orlando? Well over 8,000 industry pros swarmed the Orange County Convention Center in search of what’s new and solutions to business challenges, and to celebrate some successes.

Here are some top highlights that I think restaurant and hotel businesses owners need to know.

1. How to resonate with millennials was a hot topic.

There were numerous breakout sessions at the convention dealing with the topic of millennials. Challenges range from how to attract them to your establishments and how to hire and retain them in your workforce.

From the perspective of a professional employer organization (PEO), we support the industry primarily in the workforce part of this equation. Our role is to assume many of the responsibilities of “employer” so that owners can focus on the business. The restaurant industry depends on a millennial workforce — the largest generation in the country. Here are two top things many millennials expect from their employer, which are provided by PEOs:

  • Tech savviness. They want to be able to access payroll info, direct deposits, pay stubs and W-2 forms on the fly from a cell phone. They want apps for requesting days off, and they want easy ways to track their time.
  • Top pay. Millennials don’t want to wait for seniority to earn top wages. Having an affordable way to put HR best practices in place for fair wages, compensation strategies, wage increases, retirement savings and performance appraisals will go a long way to support competitive pay for millennials.

2. Many owners are still grappling with Obamacare.

The rising cost of health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act is a significant industry challenge. This takes the large-business owner’s concerns well beyond food costs and margins, and into the area of new health plan selection and labor strategies in order to comply yet drive bottom line results.

PEOs help restaurant and hotel businesses craft strategies for ACA compliance, secure affordable health insurance and provide the human resources to administer the plans.

As an example of the industry challenge, at the onset of the new ACA legislation, Richard Gonzmart, president of Columbia Restaurant Group, was quoted in the Tampa Bay Business Journal as saying, “What might have to happen is that people want to put their staff on part time, under 30 hours. Darden Restaurants was going to do that. That’s a catastrophe because you can’t get enough people. You are training those people who represent you. I am committed to my people and am staying there and absorbing those costs. One company was telling me, maybe we could switch our people with your people so we can be under the 30 hours. That’s a disaster. Your people don’t know my product.”

3. CPAs and accountants are less interested in payroll work.

Many owners in the industry rely on accountants and CPAs to do the lion share of back-office work. During the recession, many accounting professionals took on the task of processing payrolls for restaurant and hotel clients as a value-added service and additional revenue, but now that tide seems to be turning.

Many accountants I spoke with at the FLRA show said payroll work simply doesn’t make sense for them any longer. Relying on a PEO for payroll processing introduces a much higher level of efficiency in back office processing — not only for payroll, but for overall accounting work as well. By outsourcing payroll to a PEO, accountants can easily gain support for all the administrative work, plus obtain reports for virtually any factor of payroll.

All this puts accountants in a position to focus on the core value proposition for restaurant and hotel clients — leveraging their unique expertise in accounting best practices, auditing, tax code knowledge/application and high-level accounting strategies.

The FRLA convention was a good way to tap into the challenges restaurants, hotels and the accountants/CPAs who serve them face today, and it showed there are countless ways PEOs can help.


Sean Perkins, Business Consultant
Sean Perkins, Business Consultant

Sean Perkins, is a Business Consultant for FrankCrum. For over 10 years, Sean has been consulting businesses with workers’ compensation insurance, ACA, health insurance and much more. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.