Search past winners/finalists

Carlson Restaurants


Company: Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., Carrollton, TX
Company Description: Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, Inc., the parent company of TGI Friday's Inc. and Pick Up Stix, is a privately held company owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson Companies, a world leader in the hospitality, travel and marketing industries. As of March 2007, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide operates, franchises and licenses 996 restaurants in 58 countries.
Nomination Category: Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Human Resources Organization

Nomination Title: Carlson Restaurants Worldwide's Human Resources Team

1. Tell the story about what this nominated organization/department achieved in the past year (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

The Carlson Restaurants Worldwide® HR Team has made significant
contributions toward the Company’s strategy of creating a Great Place for
Great People to do Great Work, the effectiveness of its leadership and the
overall organization’s success. Some highlights of their contributions are as

• In 2006 the Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Recruiting Team exceeded the
goal of hiring 400 new managers, ensured the restaurants were staffed to par
and maintained a full pipeline of managers in training. More than 25 percent
of the new managers were promoted internally.
• Through efforts to maintain an engaged, motivated workforce, the HR
team produced improvements in turnover statistics at the restaurant manager
level and, at the close of the year, T.G.I. Friday's® manager turnover rate
was 20.6%, which exceeded (bettered) the industry average.
• The newly designed management training program -- "Leadership That
Rocks" -- immersed new managers in the Friday's® culture, value and traditions.
• The company’s university, Great4U, launched in 2006 and transformed
training to a proactive, strategic, blended learning solution that is a
partnership between the attendee and the facilitator. Great4U also links to
multiple Carlson Restaurants Worldwide strategic pillars.
• The company creates a culture of inclusion that actively seeks to
create a place where all people are respected and valued. As reported by the
People Report, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide led the industry in hiring
African American males while female management hires were above the industry
• To promote understanding of Friday's brand initiatives, the g2G
Network was created. It features managers and team members who exemplify
excellence and demonstrate what it takes to go from "good to Great...'08."
• Computer based training and e-learning for restaurant managers was
introduced in 2006, allowing online access to proprietary company training
expertise. E-learning improved consistency in training messages while
reducing the cost of management training by $600,000.
• Implemented "Rock Your Future," a new web-based career development
tool that profiles all roles within the organization, identifies necessary
knowledge, skills and abilities, and links these to learning and development

Major awards received in 2006:
• The HR Service Excellence Award by HR Solutions, Inc., which
recognizes the best HR departments in North America.
• The 2006 SPIRIT Award sponsored by Nation's Restaurant News, the
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and Coca-Cola, making
Carlson Restaurants Worldwide the first two-time winner of the award.
• Texas Diversity Council recognized Carlson Restaurants Worldwide
president and CEO Richard Snead for his commitment to advancing diversity
initiatives in the restaurant industry.
• Maryland Work~Life Alliance recognized Carlson Restaurants Worldwide
and T.G.I. Friday's as one of 48 Maryland employers to receive the 2005-
2006 'Workplace Excellence' Seal of Approval Award.
• T.G.I. Friday's named to Texas Monthly's "60 Best Companies to Work
for in Texas" based on its people practices and excellence in employee
• Named one of the Top 72 "Best Places to Work in Dallas-Fort Worth” by
the Dallas Business Journal (the only restaurant company to make the list).

2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:

3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated organization/department:

Recognized as an award-winning human resource leader within the industry,
Anne Varano brings a dedicated focus on organizational effectiveness,
retention and diversity to her role as senior vice president of human
resources and communication at Carlson Restaurants Worldwide. Varano, who is
committed to making Carlson Restaurants Worldwide a Great Place for Great
People to do Great Work, is equally focused on ensuring that HR has a
leadership role within the industry by virtue of her multiple organization
leadership positions.