Chip Kent

Today's Author is Chip Kent, MSc, SPHR, CDM, CFPP, FMP. He is the Thought Leader for our Partner Service Initiative. Prior to Clark, Chip spent over 35 years managing & leading organizations within the Hospitality Industry including Restaurants, Business, Health Care and Retirement Communities.

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The Leadership Keys to Earning Loyalty

The Leadership Keys to Earning Loyalty

 As I travel and talk to employees that work in different industries, I continue to hear people say that, "the days of a Leader/Manager, or a Company, being loyal to its Associates are Gone!"  I'm sure the economic pressures of this last decade have forced some leaders & organizations to make business decisions that might have left that negative perception no matter how hard they tried to manage difficult people situations.

 In fact, I have seen numerous examples where "Desperate People do Desperate Things!" Leaders (really bosses) will sacrifice an associate that has not been able to perform to an unreasonable expectation just to expedite a result and divert any negative attention to someone else.  Wow, is this the type of 'Leader' you would trust and respect when the 'going gets tough'?

 Leaders must have the support of their subordinates and their bosses in order to achieve optimum success.  Loyalty will gain that support but loyalty must be earned-it's about caring and protecting both subordinates and bosses not just one or the other.  Leaders who feel they have been successful just by 'getting the job done' at any cost with little concern to their human resources should ponder how much more successful their business results and customer satisfaction could have been if most of their associates were truly loyal associates-loyal associates that were enthusiastic, engaged, committed, opportunistic, trusting and willing to always go the extra mile.

 Gallup Surveys have found that only 25% to 30% of American workers are REALLY engaged in their jobs! No matter how successful you think you are, can you imagine how much more productivity, customer satisfaction or business results you could have if 90% of all your associates were really engaged in their jobs?   Could the reason be what I've been hearing in my travels?  "Bosses and Companies aren't loyal to their associates, so why should I be loyal to them?"

  Here is a short "Keys to Earning Loyalty Checklist" - How do you measure up?          

  • Hire Attitude Train Skills  (It all starts with a great attitude)
  • Make new associates feel special
  • Engage all into the Company Culture
  • Participate in personal communication periodically
  • Provide skill & professional development
  • Regularly show your associates they are valued (Not just once a year)
  • Do formal and spontaneous associate recognition
  • Empower associates to have a fun environment
  • Encourage associates to find ways to do more with less (Work Hard/Play Hard)
  • Care for associates during tough times (personally & professionally)
  • Do What's Right Do What you Say
  • Respect your Corporate Family (Goes beyond the internal organization)

 Believe that Happy Associates = Happy Customers = Improved Business Results

    How would your Associates answer these Loyalty Questions on a 1 to 5 Scale?                                                                            

                                                                                                     Low                              High                            

  • I'm Proud to work for My Organization                            1     2     3     4     5  
  • I feel like Part of the Family                                              1     2     3     4     5
  • I feel a Strong Personal Attachment                              1     2     3     4     5
  • My Willingness to do More with Less                            1     2     3     4     5
  • My Likelihood to Recommend  my Company              1     2     3     4     5
  • My Likelihood to Stay with the Company                       1     2     3     4     5


Loyalty Matters It Increases Business Results & it's Your Competitive Advantage!


Justin Sheaffer

Prior to joining Clark, he had ten years of experience in the food service industry and spent six years as a project manager in the food service packaging industry. Justin has a BS in Industrial Manufacturing Engineering from Penn State University.

Contact Justin Sheaffer

Taming the Energy Hog in your Kitchen

Little do you know, but an exhaust hood with conventional fan controls could be sucking money right out of your operational budget. A conventional hood fan system uses a switch to turn the fans on or off. The fans run at 100% speed regardless of the heat being produced from the cooking process. This method of motor control is very wasteful and is costing your food service operation money.

Every linear foot of a typical vent hood draws 250 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of exhaust air. Imagine a basketball, which is approximately 1 cubic foot in size, equaling 1 CFM. That means if you have a 10' hood you will be pulling 2,500 CFM, or 2,500 basketballs worth, of conditioned air out of your operation every single minute. You can now start to imagine how costly the exhaust hood is to operate.

Newer energy conscious systems use devices called variable speed drives (VFD's) to control the speed of the motor. These systems can be installed on existing equipment and also designed into a new system. The most common method of ventilation controls is through a temperature sensor located in the exhaust duct. When the temperature of the air entering the hood is below a pre-set temperature (typically 90° F) the fans will run at a reduced speed. As the temperature increases the fans will proportionately increase speed until they reach 100% speed. Some hood systems also use optical sensors that detect the presence of smoke and automatically adjust the fan speed regardless of the air temperature. As gas or electricity usage increases so does the speed of the fans.

The reduction in fan speed can equate to fan energy savings upwards of 48% or more. There are additional energy savings from reductions in conditioning the makeup air and ambient kitchen air. Payback periods for basic energy management systems can be under 2 years depending on the application and function of the kitchen. In addition to the energy savings, the soft starting feature of the VFD reduces the wear and tear on the motors and fans which can lead to longer service life.

There are a few possible negative aspects of these systems that should be considered before you purchase one. For systems with optical sensors, soot and grease build up can be an issue. These systems often require frequent cleaning of the sensors to prevent false readings. In the rare occurence of a component failure, it may be necessary to bring in a skilled technician to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

The recovery and heat from heated exhaust air is another area of energy conservation in a kitchen. The heated air can pass over an air-to-water heat exchanger to preheat the water entering the water heater. Air-to-air heat exchangers can also be used to preheat the makeup air in the hood system. The preheating of water and makeup air reduces the energy required to heat them to their desired temperatures.

With all of these options, the task of selecting an energy management system may seem like a daunting process. Like many things in life, simple is often best, and this also applies to energy management systems. A simple system will provide the most attractive payback period as well as simplify any technical issue that may pop up. Please contact a Clark representative for help selecting the proper system for     your needs.

Not ready to jump into an exhaust optimization project? Consider spending a few
hundred dollars to add side panels to each end of your hood to help contain the
exhaust air. This helps to reduce the amount of conditioned air that is pulled out of the
kitchen and also improves the efficiency of the exhaust hood because it increases the
exhaust draw at the leading edge of the hood.

Justin Sheaffer

Prior to joining Clark, he had ten years of experience in the food service industry and spent six years as a project manager in the food service packaging industry. Justin has a BS in Industrial Manufacturing Engineering from Penn State University.

Contact Justin Sheaffer

Designing Success into Your Dining Operations

First Impressions Count - They set the tone!  This applies to the experience that your customer will have when they first walk into a dining area. The counter top material in a front of the house setting is one of the most visible first impression components of a food service operation.  Additionally, it can be the most used component in any food service operation.  Choosing a counter top for the front of house that addresses just the aesthetics, ignoring operational functionality and durability, may be a choice that is not cost effective and one you may regret as time goes on.

Trends in the residential market have driven the commercial market but consideration is not often given for the demands of a commercial food service operation.  Below, we will explore the most common types of counter tops list their pros and cons, as well as various applications.


In addition to the options listed above, materials such as concrete and ice stone are being used as a new age alternative to more traditional options. Concrete counter tops can be died to match any space and offer a unique counter top solution but also require sealing.  Ice stone counter tops contain recycled glass and can be designed to match any décor, however they are more susceptible to breaking and have a more noticeable seam line between slabs because of the nature of the crushed glass pieces.


Now that we've covered all the basics, let's take a look at a few application examples:

  • If the counter top will have trays or anything else sliding directly on the surface you will want to avoid an acrylic surface and opt for a manufactured stone top instead.  The stone counter top will resist scratching and offer years of undamaged service.
  • If you have a beverage counter top with no cutouts that will be covered with a lot of equipment and minimally visible to the customer, then you should consider saving money by using a laminate or acrylic surface.
  • If the counter top is designed with several cutouts or has heated drop-ins you should consider a manufactured stone surface. When properly installed, it has a higher tolerance to heat and will avoid cracking as the temperatures fluctuate.




  • Laminate
  • (Formica, Wilsonart)
  • Low Cost
  • Easily Modified
  • Easy Fabrication
  • NSF Approved
  • Poor Durability
  • Easily Chips
  • Gives "Cheap" Impressions
  • its plywood substrate doesn't like
  • moisture
  •  Acrylic
  • (Corian, Meganite)
  • Good Style
  • Easily Cleaned
  • NSF Approved
  • A Truley "seamless" install 
  • Prone to Scratching
  • Prone to Cracking from Heat
  • "Dated" Counter Top Choice 
  •  Manufactured  Stone
  • (Cambria, Zodiaq, Silestone)
  •  Great Style
  • Very Durable
  • Minimal Maintenance
  • NSF Approved
  • Easily Cleaned
  •  Difficult Field Modifications
  • Requires specialized install around heat
  • More expensive than other options
  •  Natural Stone
  • (Granite, Onyx)
  •  Great Style
  • Very Durable
  • Easily Cleaned
  •  Requires Periodic Sealing
  • Difficult Field Modifications
  • Not NSF Approved
  •  Stainless Steel
  •  Very Durable
  • NSF Approved
  • Easily Cleaned
  • Great for Food Preperation
  • Can be stylish when used in moderation
  •  Institution Feel
  • Susceptible to Scratches
  • Needs regular polishing


Now that you have the knowledge and know what questions to consider you will be able to make a good, long-term decision when it comes to your next counter top choice.  If you are still unsure of the best counter top for your application, be sure to speak with an expert so you can make a wise investment. And when it comes to fabrication of your millwork and countertops, be sure your fabricator is experienced with commercial food service so they can ensure your project will live up to the rigors of your operation!

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