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2015 RLPSA Conference: Day One

Collaborate. Network. Train. Learn. Engage. Each of these can be considered worthwhile objectives for a great industry conference. At day one of the Restaurant Loss Prevention and Security Association these were the objectives, and the advice, to utilize directives within your own loss prevention departments to develop successful leadership teams as part of a judicious business strategy.
The day began with a presentation by Dolf Berle, President and COO of Dave and Buster’s, with a focus on the importance of engaging, collaborating and networking with your management team to drive success. Berle recommends an approach that involves really getting to know the members of your organization to better understand what drives them. His personal preference is to ask people what they wanted to be when they were 9 years old. While the answers are typically far-removed from where their life journey took them as adults, the underlying drivers and passions behind that early life choice are still, more often than not, the same primary motivators that drive them today. Berle suggests that each of us should discover these motivators and find a way to leverage this information to support the company mission and create success. He also encourages everyone to be a renaissance learner — dedicating the time to continuous education and development; reflecting on courage and the kind of leadership that you need to bring to your company to support the good and deter the bad; and finally, to consider loss prevention as a part of the entire enterprise that is interwoven across all departments and a common thread of the business.
Rob Holm of McDonald’s echoed and encouraged a similar message during a panel discussion on “The Evolution of the Restaurant LP/Security Professional,” promoting the need for loss prevention to relate to all levels of the company. He stressed that we should not just manage down, but up and even sideways in order to be the best possible partner in the business. Van Carney of Domino’s added that this should not simply apply to our internal teams, but include our external partnerships as well. He suggests the importance of knowing who our customers are—understanding their needs to best share knowledge and best practices. In the restaurant world which is heavily influenced by the franchisee / franchisor relationship, this also requires getting to know your franchisor, since they are your customer. All of the panelists, including Mike Keller of Panera Bread supported implementing technology to track, monitor, analyze, report and share crucial business information across the enterprise to ensure a current and timely communications strategy that educates, informs and performs.
Grace Burley of Strategic Crisis Advisors, also a proponent of engaging and collaborating, presented a general session focused on an inclusive approach that ensures senior management buy-in and a collaborative partnership with crisis management. Effective communication with senior management must be direct, concise and in language that is easy to understand. Burley suggests that rather than using the technical and business continuity language it is better to focus on a clean message that is easy to understand. She also suggests that we speak to senior leaders using examples that have impact on them—such as understanding the impact on shareholder value, protecting operations and reputation, meeting regulatory requirements and personal risk to the CEO or senior leaders —concepts that they can relate to and can be leveraged to drive support for your objectives. She further discussed the importance of making partners with your Communications, Finance, Legal and Human Resource departments by getting to know their key drivers as well as what keeps them up at night.

The Exhibit Hall provided a terrific lunchtime menu and even better venue for networking and interaction of practitioners with vendors. With more than 80 solution providers represented in this year’s hall, the RLPSA again demonstrated a strong and growing support of the vendor community as well as the influence that this conference has in delivering value to its membership through both established solutions and emerging technologies.
Afternoon breakout sessions focused on the importance of learning and staying current in an ever-changing business environment. In a session centered on the importance of learning how the latest changes in labor affect the restaurant industry, Jim Karger of Karger & Associates re-affirmed the importance of learning the new rules and determining how to best make them work in your favor.
A presentation by David Johnston of Dunkin’ Brands and Michael Loox from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf focused on new trends in a world of mobile and virtual payment initiatives. As services like Apple Pay and mobile ordering become more prevalent, they impressed upon the group how these changes will require organizations to change their processes in order to help prevent the new types of fraud that are surfacing as a result.
In the last breakout session of the day, Kathy Cassell of the Las Vegas Police Department discussed how to effectively prevent crime by understanding the varying nuances of each location, and steps that can be taken to ensure your organization continues to create a safe environment for both customers and associates. As a Crime Prevention Specialist with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, she offered a new perspective on developing a framework for managing the physical environment as well as maintaining safe business practices.
The sun was still high and the heat running hot as the day wrapped up and attendees headed to a reception in the Exhibit Hall with members on their own for a night on the town. What happens from there? Well, this is Las Vegas after all, so what happens here, stays here!
Tune in tomorrow to hear more details and learn who will be the winner of the first ever RLPSA Excellence Awards.

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