Session Details

    CRTRA Annual Conference Agenda
    July 23-25,2018
    Warwick Allerton Hotel, Chicago

    HR Certification Credits:

    This activity, ID #357574, has been approved for 14 Recertification Credit Hours. Please make note of the activity ID number on your recertification application form. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at

    Conference Tracks: Benefits & Compensation

    Sunday, July 22, 2018

    5:00pm – 6:30pm: Meet & Greet Happy Hour
    All attendees and guests are invited to join CRTRA for an informal gathering at the M Avenue Lounge on the second floor of the Warwick Allerton Hotel. Catch-up with your peers and make new connections. We hope to see you there!

    Monday, July 23, 2018

    8:00am – 9:00am: Registration Opens: Breakfast & Networking with Sponsors

    9:00am – 10:15am: Restaurant Executive Panel Presentation
    These restaurant executives will answer questions related to their labor, people and operations challenges and successes. Hear how HR teams can best position themselves to support, enlighten, and educate executive leadership teams across the industry. Learn how their past experience enabled them to become leaders in our industry.

    Moderator: Trey Darby, Sr. Vice President, Lockton Companies

    Paul Damico, CEO, Naf Naf Grill
    Keith Kinsey, CEO, Portillo's
    RJ Melman, President, Lettuce Entertain You
    Tim McEnery, CEO, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants

    10:15am – 10:45am: Networking & Refreshment Break

    10:45am – 11:45am: Breakout Sessions

    B01: Past, Present and Future of Benefits (Benefits)
    Aon will facilitate a discussion of trends in both traditional and nontraditional benefit areas using data collected from CRTRA members in the surveys as well as Aon’s insights into general restaurant benefit trends. We will encourage attendees to discuss the benefit areas in which they are hearing requests for changes from employees, management or feel they need to respond to changes made by other restaurants in order to keep their benefits packages current and competitive.

    Cheryle Kaiser, Aon
    Grace Lattyak, Aon

    B02: How Increasing Pay Frequency Will Dramatically Affect Employee Recruitment, Retention & Engagement (Compensation)
    Higher pay is typically the initial tactic most employers consider to improve employee retention and engagement. However, pay frequency has a much more significant impact on these key business issues. This session will dive into how pay frequency can have a significant impact for businesses.

    Max Jodry, Vice President of Corporate Finance, The Saxton Group
    Kevin Froese, SVP of Sales & Marketing, Instant Financial

    11:45am – 1:00pm: Networking Lunch

    1:00pm – 1:45pm: Breakout Sessions

    B03: The Powerful Duo of HR and CFO/Finance (Benefits)
    What happens when HR and Finance travel the same path? The merge of visions, expectations, numbers, and mutual conversations is a powerful duo. Join Trey, a CFO, and a couple of HR restaurant folks for this session. Your CFO and finance leader are becoming more involved in the decisions and strategies for HR teams. Find out conversations and reports that are successful and those that throw a roadblock.

    Trey Darby, Sr. Vice President, Lockton Companies

    B04: The Impact of Minimum Wage on Labor Markets (Compensation)
    This session analyzes the impact of the minimum wage on low wage employment by leveraging information from TheWorkNumber® database. The session will begin with a basic summary on the prominence of minimum wage workers in the chain restaurant industry. Speakers will then demonstrate how the impact of the minimum wage on low wage employment is highly nuanced. Not only does the effect differ across existing and future employees, but across industries as well. The key learning points from our session are as follows:

    1. A 10% increase in the minimum wage reduces low wage employment by 4%, on average. The reduction in employment is entirely driven by reductions in hiring. We find no evidence that the average business increases lay-offs or closes locations.

    2. There is significant heterogeneity in the impact of the minimum wage across industries. Firms in the tradable goods industry (e.g., manufacturing) aggressively reduce low wage employment in response to an increase in the minimum wage. However, firms in the non-tradable goods industry (e.g., restaurants and retailers) do not reduce low wage employment.

    Naser Hamdi, SVP Data & Analytics - Workforce Solutions, Equifax
    David Sovich, Workforce Solutions Data and Analytics Team, Equifax

    2:00pm – 2:45pm: Breakout Sessions

    B05: Education & Career Development Benefits Panel (Benefits)
    Join Cengage’s Career Online High School for a panel discussion on the corporate benefits of re-engaging front-line workers back into the educational system! Chain restaurant industry leaders at McDonald’s and Chipotle will discuss the positive results they have experienced in their people, their educational investments, and their local communities – while educators will share their research on educational trauma and effective educational programs that facilitate re-engaging front-line workers back into the educational system. All human resources and training personnel are encouraged to participate in the panel session to learn more about employee engagement, benefits, retention, and career advancement for front-line employees.

    Kelly Loobey, Corporate Development Manager, COHS/ed2go

    Howard Liebman, COHS/ed2go
    Marianne Merola, McDonald's
    Sarah Lamb, Chipotle

    B06: Equity Program Best Practices (Compensation)
    This session will focus on best practices for equity programs. Topics to be discussed include: When to offer RSU vs. Options; timing of new hire/promotion grants; timing of annual grants; when dividends are appropriate; and what should target values be by level. The speakers will also cover the pros/cons of going deeper into the organization and best approach.

    Erin Leymann, VP, Pearl Meyer
    Greg Stoeckel, Managing Director, Pearl Meyer

    2:45pm – 3:15pm: Networking & Refreshment Break

    3:15pm – 4:00pm: Breakout Sessions

    B07: The National Restaurant Association & The ACA (Benefits)
    This session will discuss changes that have been implemented because of the NRA's lobbying efforts, current ACA lobbying priorities and positions on Association Health Plans. In addition we will discuss the IRS penalty letters that are being issued and will have real examples.

    Clinton Wolf, Senior VP – Health and Insurance Services, National Restaurant Association

    B08: Simplifying the Reporting of Quarterly Performance Reports for Cracker Barrel Employees (Compensation)
    This session will provide an overview of the journey Cracker Barrel Restaurants took to automate the delivery of quarterly performance results that reduced time from 4 days to one hour. The session will discuss how Cracker Barrel overcame a challenge through an innovative partnership while taking an agile approach to a new solution. James Dalluge from Cracker Barrel and Perry Doody from CompTrak will discuss the journey and provide a demo of the solution they embarked on as well as discussing lessons learned. If you are considering automating your bonus processing and reporting, this session is for you.

    James Dalluge, Cracker Barrel
    Perry Doody, 2by2 Strategies

    4:00pm – 5:00pm: General Session: Total Rewards Survey Insights
    To optimize the attraction, motivation, and retention of key talent in today’s challenging labor market organizations must have a well-conceived approach to total rewards. This session will help CRTRA members to understand the parameters of total rewards, identify trends that can be observed as organizations establish their total rewards strategies, and highlight some of the emerging practices and changes to executive compensation, broad based compensation, benefits, and the overall employment relationship.

    Ken Abosch, Partner, Aon
    Amy Jennings, Partner, Aon
    Grace Lattyak, Associate Partner, Aon

    6:00pm – 9:00pm: Cubs Game at Wrigley Rooftops
    Take in a ball game in style and gain a new perspective on historic Wrigley Field with the best views in Wrigleyville. CRTRA conference attendees will enjoy watching the Chicago Cubs take on the Arizona Diamondbacks with a birds eye view from the Wrigley Rooftop Deck at 3609 Sheffield. The Rooftop Deck offers the best of both worlds – you can sit and watch the game or you can socialize with fellow members while enjoying a traditional ballpark menu that includes burgers, bratwurst, grilled chicken, steak, beer, wine and more! The game starts at 7:05 and the deck opens one hour prior.

    Special thank you to Trey Darby of Lockton Companies for sponsoring this event!

    Tuesday, July 24, 2018

    8:00am – 8:30am: Breakfast & Networking with Sponsors

    8:30am – 10:30am: Give Back Event
    Join your CRTRA colleagues as we give back to the local Chicago Community. On Tuesday, July 24th we will be working with the Outreach Program to package meals from 8:30am – 10:30am at the hotel. These meals will be donated to a local food bank and will help feed those in need. All conference attendees are encouraged to participate.

    Thank you to the Outreach Program for sponsoring this event.

    10:45am – 11:45am: General Session: The Legislative, Regulatory and Moral Influence of the Trump Administration on Employment Practices: Year Two
    During this presentation, David Jordan will discuss the legislative, regulatory and moral impact of the Trump Administration and the 2018 Congress on key employment-related legal issues. Included in the discussion will be the amendments to the FLSA regarding tip pooling, regulatory efforts affecting hospitality, overtime rule changes, enforcement initiatives in independent contractor classifications, the impact of “me too” on the work force, and immigration initiatives.

    David Jordan, Littler Mendelson

    11:45am – 1:00pm: CRTRA Business Update & Lunch

    1:00pm – 1:45pm: Breakout Sessions

    B09: Are Your Employees Getting Enough Sleep, and Why Should You Care (Benefits)
    Most large employers provide wellness programs to their employees and families with the goal of improving health, performance and productivity. Successful programs must go beyond physical health to focus on every dimension of well-being and the corporate culture that supports each individual’s unique journey. This session will discuss an increasingly important topic that can impact each dimension of well-being - healthy sleep. Lack of sleep is a major health problem. According to a 2015 Gallup poll 42% of Americans don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep impacts physical and mental health and decreases productivity. Insufficient sleep may also contribute to many chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to report symptoms of psychological distress.

    In this session we will briefly review the benefits of healthy sleep and examine how our daily habits interfere with sleep. With audience participation we will discuss what employers can do to support and promote better sleep in their populations.

    Patricia Simmons, National Health Solutions Leader, Aetna National Accounts

    B10: Hot Topics in Restaurant Industry Compensation Practices (Compensation)
    Attendees will hear a client case study that connects the impact of changes in the minimum wages on store metrics like revenue, customer satisfaction, turnover to ensure optimal ROI on their compensation spend. The speakers will also show with surgical precision what should be the extent of wage increase across multiple locations to stay competitive in the local market, but also drive the right business outcomes.

    The speakers will provide highlights and tips on the following hot topics:
    -Cost of labor vs. cost of living
    -Compression due to minimum wage
    -Frequency of Salary increases
    -Turnover stats

    Christine Gnutek, Director Compensation, Aon
    Rajiv Ramanathan, Associate Partner—People Analytics, Aon

    2:00pm – 2:45pm: Breakout Sessions

    B11: Amazon to Zenefits - The Emerging Healthcare Disruption Eruption (Benefits)
    During this session, attendees will hear from Den Bishop, President of Holmes Murphy / Chairman of the Board, ACAP Health Consulting, as he discusses how Amazon entering the marketplace will change the landscape.

    Den Bishop, President, Holmes Murphy

    B12: Executive Compensation 101 (Compensation)
    If you are a pro or new to the ideas of executive compensation, this session will cover reward ideas for your C-Suite and provide an opportunity to network with peers facing the same issues.

    Learning Points:
    -Build an understanding of the policy of good governance
    -Assess your current structure
    -Create a customized plan of action

    Liz Mayo, Director, Longnecker & Associates

    2:45pm – 3:15pm: Networking & Refreshment Break

    3:15pm – 4:00pm: Breakout Sessions

    B13: The Exploding Opioid Epidemic and Strategies for Employers (Benefits)
    Millions of Americans have routine access to highly-addictive prescription opioid medications. In fact, the US population consumes more than 80% of the world’s supply of prescription opioids. Every day, there are over 100 deaths in the US from opioid overdoses. This crisis continues to gain momentum. Analysts estimate that there will be nearly 300,000 opioid overdose deaths over the next few years if the current trends continue. During this session, you will learn more about our nation’s opioid epidemic, as well as some innovative benefit strategies being implemented by self-funded employer groups which are demonstrating successful results.

    Tracy Spencer, Senior VP of Employer Groups for Pharmaceutical Strategies Group

    B14: Transitioning to Better Wages and Better Tips in the Restaurant Industry (Compensation)
    With over 13 million workers, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and absolute fastest growing sectors of the United States economy, it is also the lowest-paying. The industry is also facing a massive moment of change due to several factors, including a massive labor shortage, the #MeToo movement, industry leadership making changes, and new Congressional authority to restructure tip distribution. Come learn from nearly two decades of innovation, led by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, to support the growth of sustainable high road businesses that transition to better wages and better tips. This session will highlight current efforts and practices focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the restaurant industry that have resulted from partnerships with industry leaders like Danny Meyer, Daniel Patterson, Andrew Tarlow, Zingerman’s, Alice Waters, and many others.

    Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

    4:15pm – 5:00pm: Breakout Sessions

    B15: Administering Benefits in a Restaurant Environment (Benefits)
    The struggle is real! Restaurants are unique when it comes to tracking and managing benefits eligibility and enrollment for it’s employees. Come join The Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse as they discuss their benefit challenges and the resources and tools they use to get through these tough challenges. Attendees in this session will:

    1. Learn about how others (Texas Roadhouse and Cheesecake Factory) are tracking eligibility and enrollment in a complex restaurant environment
    2. Review some of the different tools and resources used to communicate with employees about benefits
    3. Hear about different approaches in helping employees understand their benefits and know which options are right for them.

    Amanda Kreutzer, Texas Roadhouse
    Sandy Sakaida, The Cheesecake Factory
    Andy Crowley, Midwest Sales Vice President, bswift

    B16: Strategies to Retain Non-Management Crew Members (Compensation)
    Given current industry turnover trends, a tightening talent market, and a reduced unskilled labor supply, restaurants are under intense pressure to explore new approaches to retaining crew-level talent. This interactive session will highlight some of the compensation and non-compensation tactics that organizations have introduced to better retain their non-management crew members.  Come prepared to share ideas that your organization has tried, approaches that you have heard about others using, and to learn from the experiences of fellow CRTRA members!

    Ken Abosch, Partner, Aon

    6:00pm – 8:00pm: Architectural Boat Tour
    Join CRTRA for a 2-hour guided tour aboard Chicago's First Lady to discover the stories behind world renowned Chicago buildings. Chicago has long been a laboratory for architectural innovation and experimentations and this custom-designed luxury cruise vessel delivers amazing skyline views with a detailed narrative of Chicago’s various architectural styles and the stories of the people who designed and built the city. Attendees will enjoy wine and beer while dining on world-famous Gino's East Chicago-style deep dish pizza along the Chicago River.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2018

    7:30am – 8:15am: Breakfast & Networking with Sponsors

    8:15am – 9:15am: General Session: Realities in the Restaurant Workforce
    Unemployment is the lowest it has been in the last 50 years! New challenges like the gig economy are upon us. Having trouble finding enough qualified employees to staff your restaurants? It’s not news that the battle for top talent is at an all-time high. The size of the prize has never been bigger and the risks have never been greater. This session will provide insights into what is the current state of the restaurant industry from all perspectives of the TDn2K data: operational, financial, guest sentiment and workforce. However, the primary focus will be on the people side of our industry, connecting the dots on how we outsmart and outhustle full employment. This session will current trends and best practices in turnover, recruiting, compensation, benefits and more.

    Victor Fernandez, Executive Director of Insights and Knowledge, TDn2K

    9:30am – 10:15am: Breakout Sessions

    B17: Escape DOL Investigations and Audits – The Common Pitfalls of Benefit and Retirement Plan Errors (Benefits)
    Join us for this informative session where Trey identifies the significant errors seen most often in health plan and retirement plan administration and governance, why the errors happen, how to avoid them and what to do if you inadvertently make those errors. Avoiding these mistakes may help you escape the potential of fines and DOL investigations.

    Trey Darby, Sr. Vice President, Lockton Companies

    B18: The Compensation Revolution: Technology's Transformative Effect on the Industry (Compensation)
    In the past two decades, we've seen technology innovate nearly every aspect of our lives, revolutionizing dozens of industries and transforming how we get our jobs done, except in compensation. Yes, technology has helped, but nothing revolutionary has happened. Join Jeff Laliberte, Co-Founder and CEO of Payfactors, to hear him discuss where the industry is heading, why compensation is becoming more visible and accountable, and what it all means for your organization's business strategy.

    Jeff Laliberte, Co-Founder & CEO, PayFactors

    10:30am – 11:15am: Breakout Sessions

    B19: Opportunities for the Changing Restaurant Environment (Benefits)
    During this session attendees will hear from two organizations, USI and Fazoli's, and how they work together to manage changes in the restaurant environment.

    Discussion topics include:
    1. Change in franchise and branding
         -Culture, morale and total rewards
    2. Risk assessment and evaluating funding options
         -Association Health Plans
         -Shifting strategies in a changing environment
         -Short-term targets and long-term vision
    3. Using change to drive enthusiasm and engagement
         -Turning a negative into a positive

    Carlton Williams, USI
    Tish Chism, Fazoli's

    B20: How to Conduct a Thorough Gender Pay Equity Analysis (Compensation)
    Attendees will hear from the team at Towers Watson as they discuss:
    1. Why companies should care about ensuring fair pay
    2. How they are assessing their current state to take meaningful steps to ensuring their pay programs are designed and delivered to meet their Inclusion and Diversity objectives
    3. How they are being responsive to emerging legislative changes and increasing transparency when it comes to pay practices

    Mariann Madden, Willis Towers Watson

    11:30am – 12:15am: Breakout Sessions

    B20: Benefits Roundtable Member Discussion (Benefits)
    This session will provide the opportunity for members to share questions, best practices, concerns, and hot topics related to all things benefits.  Perfectly situated at the end of the conference, continue conversations and ideas sparked from prior sessions, or bring new ones to the table.  Come prepared to share, learn and network with other members!  

    Amy Cohen, Noodles & Company

    B21: Compensation Roundtable Member Discussion (Compensation)
    This session will provide the opportunity for members to share questions, best practices, concerns, and hot topics related to all things compensation. Perfectly situated at the end of the conference, continue conversations and ideas sparked from prior sessions, or bring new ones to the table. Come prepared to share, learn and network from other members!

    Susan Douglas, Top Golf

    12:30pm – 1:00pm: Closing Remarks & Board Election Results

    1:00pm - 1:45pm: New Board Member Orientation

    1:45pm – 3:00pm: Board Meeting