Dining at Chicago's trendiest restaurants, third row seats to
the Cub's game, open bar at the city's hottest club. Sounds like
the life a rock star, but that is just what 50 Scotty's managers
and executives got to experience this past weekend as Scotty took
his team to the National Restaurant Association Trade show.
Each year managers and corporate team members visit Chicago to
attend the annual trade show held at McCormick Place. The group
spends their days talking to vendors, attending educational
sessions and testing the latest technology in the hospitality
"I really enjoyed getting to meet the vendors that we deal with
everyday," said Wendy Hantelman, Director of HR. "Much of my
area of the business is done over the phone, so getting to shake
hands and really talk to people was fantastic!"
This year's event was highlighted by a keynote address by former
President Bill Clinton. Those who attended the event waited over an
hour for President Clinton to arrive after the Chicago airport was
closed due to weather. His plane was forced to land in Gary,
Indiana and then he drove up from there, Clinton told the crowd
after apologizing for being late.
"It certainly was a long wait, but seeing Bill Clinton speak was a
once-in-a-lifetime, awesome experience," said Jason Podell, GM for
Scotty's in West Lafayette.
The days may be informative, but at night is where the real fun
begins. This year's trip included dinners at Revolution Brewery and
Rockit Burger Bar, cocktails at the Public House and Rockit Bar and
Grill, but the highlight of the event was the Cubs game where
Scotty threw out the first pitch.
"Having my wife, kids, parents, sisters, 40 top management and
50 more guests/employees get to witness a "Field of Dreams" memory
like that made it even more special," said Scotty Wise, President
& CEO of a Pots & Pans Production restaurant management
company for Scotty's concepts.
"As incredible as it was, I'm so glad it is over. I've had
so many sleepless nights and messages from friends, 'do not throw
the ball in the dirt, get it across the plate,' over the past
month, it was nice to get a full nights sleep finally."
The Chicago trip is an added benefit of working at Scotty's and
costs the company nearly $40,000. Those attending do not have to
pay for anything on the trip unless they decided to do something
outside of the agenda. Wise believes these types of team building
trips are well worth the cost.
"The most important part of that weekend was for our management
team to spend time together outside our restaurants. I know
it is cliché; but, it is 100% about the journey, not the
destination. And, the "working hard," makes the "playing hard" all
part of the journey equation that I believe in. My management team
is my family. Our blood, sweat and tears are in everything we
do for this company. And, at the end of the day, the culture
of this company is the most important part of our survival, it
cannot be trained or taught, it has to be learned, lived and
absorbed thru weekends like that."
Other employees agree.
"Being able to socialize and spend time getting to know our
teammates better during the events we have scheduled outside of
time spent in educational sessions and on the show floor is such an
incredible experience and a unique opportunity that our company
provides," reflected Rachel Redwine-Nelson, Chief Branding Officer.
"The memories that we create with each other will last a lifetime
and go a long way toward developing and maintaining the awesome
sense of camaraderie and family that Scott's company is so well
"It was a great experience! It's not often you have an
opportunity to spend time with your co-workers and really get to
know them outside of our normal working environment. We were
able to relax and enjoy ourselves and strengthen our team in the
process," said Kim Lewandowski, Welcome Team Coordinator.
To all the photos from this year's trip. Click here.