Analytics firms People Report and Black Box Intelligence honored Boston Market, The Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse and White Castle Thursday for their restaurant workplace and human resources excellence.

The 2013 People Report Best Practices Awards were given at the 19th annual Global Best Practices Conference in Richardson, Texas. Honorees included White Castle in quick service, Boston Market in fast casual/family dining, The Capital Grille in fine dining, and LongHorn Steakhouse in casual dining.

Finalists included BJ’s Restaurants, California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Denny’s, Eat ‘n Park, Krispy Kreme and Monical’s Pizza.

Companies were evaluated on their results in hourly and management retention, compensation and diversity, as well as other workforce practices, including community involvement and green initiatives.

After receiving the fast-casual/family-dining award, Randy Miller, chief administrative officer at Boston Market, said the company has recovered from the choppy seas of four years ago and has produced 37 consecutive months of sales growth.

“Three and half years ago,” he said, “our sales were down, the ropes were tangled, and we were pulling on them, trying to get readjusted and set a new course and get the sails back up. We have our sails back up.”



He credited human resources with putting the wind to the company’s back.

“It wasn’t about product; it was about people,” Miller said. “What we did three years ago and what we continue to do today is to continue to implement our values, our vision and our mission. … We love to serve.”

In the quick-service category, White Castle garnered the honor for the fifth time in 19 years.

In accepting the award, John Kelley, chief people officer, said success and information were important in the company benchmarking its human resources management. “It is for us about a team, and getting that team focused,” Kelley said.

He credited White Castle’s corporate team, as well as “our operations group and general managers every day who make this come alive.”

People Report and Black Box intelligence also presented this year the first Diamond Catalyst Award to The Cheesecake Factory to honor “extraordinary performance in both human resource practices and operational results.”

Michael Harms, executive director of operations for People Report/Black Box, said in prepared remarks that Cheesecake’s “practices have created a diverse workforce with turnover rates that are among the lowest in the industry and have yielded a track record of sustained sales superiority worthy of recognition.”

The Heart of the Workplace award, which goes to a company that demonstrates top results in their human capital metrics, as well as a commitment to communities, went to Chili’s.

People Report and Black Box Intelligence also announced the creation of a social analytics division called White Box Intelligence. The three companies are under the umbrella of parent company TDn2K, which stands for Transforming Data Into Knowledge.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless