Top Leaders in Hospitality Urge Trainers to Continue Raising the Bar of Hospitality Business

Veteran CEOs & Presidents Address Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers 88th Hospitality Training Conference

Creating a culture of learning is as important as the training itself–that was the key message delivered by three of the top leaders in the restaurant and lodging industries as they addressed a standing room-only crowd at the Presidents Panel of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) 88th Hospitality Training conference. The conference, attended by more than 250 top hospitality trainers, was held July 26-29, 2014 at the InterContinental Buckhead.

Anthony Wedo, CEO, Ovation Brands, Kirk Kinsell, President, The Americas, Intercontinental Hotel Group, and Michael Cascone, President & COO, Forbes Travel Guide, joined moderator Ron Ruggless, Southwest Bureau Chief at Nation’s Restaurant News, in a candid discussion about how trainers can and need to be key change agents in the hospitality space.

“The why is more important than the how,” said Anthony Wedo. “We need you as our training leadership to help us create a culture where everyone has ‘trainer’ in their job description. Help create the environment where employees not only demand training but also demand that everyone around look for ways to build training and performance metrics into every aspect of the guest experience.”

Kinsell echoed the need for training to be just-in-time, at the right place, and at the right cost. “As trainers, you play an ever increasing role in building not only the expert knowledge within our organizations but you also help set the tone for cultural inspiration,” he said. “Demand a seat at the executive table as well as the break room. Be everywhere.”

Cascone stressed that guests are more empowered with data and information than ever before, creating higher expectations for service standards. “The cadence and consistency of training creates guest service that transcends,” he stated.”The correlation with guest engagement and increased spending is a direct result of great training.”

Wedo went on to encourage each team member to take charge of their training, and to ask managers and teammates for insight on how they can make a difference in their day-to-day functions and then set out to perfect those skills. “Training is the magic around the reinvention of Ovation Brands,” he declared.

Also part of the conference was a newly-released Trends in Hospitality Training Study by CHART in partnership with TDn2K, which found that the training department is more likely than ever before to report directly to the President/CEO. This shift helps ensure training is at the forefront is creating an environment where people learn from others. The full report will be released in August.

CHART (, a non-profit professional association founded in 1970, is the leading resource for the development and advancement of hospitality training professional and their organizations. With more than 450 members from more than 300 multi-unit restaurant and hotel companies, CHART represents a workforce of almost three million. CHART includes all facets of hospitality training, learning and performance professionals; from entry level to senior executive. CHART’s mission is to develop hospitality training professionals to advance industry training practices and improve operational results by providing access to education, tools and resources.   To learn more, visit