Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship Roundtable Highlights

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The Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship began organizing several industry roundtables each year to bring together top industry entrepreneurs, practitioners and Cornell faculty members to examine industry issues and trends through lens of research findings in 2015. Attendance at the center’s roundtables is open only to institute members and invited participants. The Roundtable and Conference Highlights provides an in-depth look at specific event discussions, findings, and suggested outcomes from the institute’s roundtables. Learn more about the center's roundtables.


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    Utility and Disruption: Technology for the Entrepreneurs in Hospitality: Highlights from the 2015 Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable
    Olsen, Mona Anita Kristiansen; McDarby, Kelly (2015-07-01)
    The inaugural Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable brought thirty leading tech professionals and entrepreneurs to the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration during the spring 2015 semester. Participants examined the growth of the cloud and the resulting opportunities for entrepreneurs to break into established markets, notably by using mobile devices in remote and shared office spaces, streamlining documents and systems to prevent redundancy, and decreasing operating and switching costs while minimizing the need for established infrastructure. Given the economic flexibility afforded by renting assets, rather than owning them, consumers and entrepreneurs have driven the expansion of the so-called sharing economy. The support of venture capital has been critical for such entrepreneurial technology in the hospitality and travel industry. Technology is also key to the growing customer desire to have a personalized travel experience, which can become a challenge to established brands. Many of these tech-supported enterprises are disruptors that respond to consumers’ desire for options as they travel. To counter the disruptions and re-emphasize their standing, brands need to use market analytics when engaging with customers and to plan for using predictive analytics.
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    Highlights from the 2016 Sustainable and Social Entrepreneurship Enterprises Roundtable
    Varney, Jeanne (2016-07-27)
    The April 2016 Sustainable and Social Entrepreneurship Enterprises roundtable brought together over 20 faculty, students, and leaders and entrepreneurs from a wide variety of mission-driven enterprises that focus on sustainability or social welfare. Jeanne Varney, lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration, opened the day by inviting attendees to speak to and even test some of their innovative ideas on fellow participants during the day. Varney noted: “One of our goals for the roundtable was to have a really diverse set of attendees and to hear a lot of different perspectives.”
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    Authenticity in Scaling the Vision: Defining Boundaries in the Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship Development Cycle
    Olsen, Mona Anita Kristiansen; Stanley, Cheryl (2016-02-17)
    The October 2015 Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship Roundtable brought together over 30 food and beverage industry leaders, entrepreneurs, faculty, and students at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. Discussion topics covered entrepreneurship in the food and beverage industry, including development, intrapreneurship, operational efficiency, beverage product development, and technology. The roundtable began with the presentation of a five-point framework on food and beverage venue development. The first three phases focused on the launch of a venue, including how to define the guest experience; the creation of operational functionality by strategically planning out the design, flow, and efficiency of a defined space; and development capacity. The remaining two points of the framework focused on post-opening considerations, including operating systems and culture development. Participants discussed the importance of culture in the growth of a business. They suggested that intrapreneurship needs to be fostered in the culture of an organization and in an educational curriculum for those who are preparing to enter the industry. Participants also discussed the fine balance between setting expectations for an experience and subsequently being able to maintain this experience in a fast changing environment. In particular they considered what it means to say no to customers. A discussion on the beverage industry focused on how to distribute products in a crowded marketplace. One method to ensure that the product gets into the hands of the consumers is face-to-face sales. Finally, in the technology session, the group discussed technology adoption, specifically focusing on the point at which technology detracts from the guest experience, how to minimize operational risk from technology, and how to maximize consumers’ adoption rates.
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    High-Tech, High-Touch: Highlights from the 2016 Entrepreneurship Roundtable
    Olsen, Mona Anita Kristiansen; Blumenfeld, Jennifer (2016-11-08)
    More than two-dozen industry leaders met in Ithaca in April 2016 for the second annual Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable hosted by the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration (SHA). Participants focused discussions on integrating the latest software and hardware with the personal touch that is integral to hospitality and identifying the different preferences among younger and older consumers, among other topics. The gathering included corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, SHA students, and Cornell University’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year, Leland Pillsbury of Thayer Lodging Group. The wide-ranging discussion kicked off with an evaluation of cloud computing, which now gives consumers a strong and influential voice, and an overview of the important role social media plays in connecting businesses with their customers. Other issues addressed included the importance of customizing technology, such as digital room keys, based on generational preferences, weighing the use of in-house staff versus outside contractors in rolling out and maintaining new operations systems, new online marketing strategies and the need to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, and using technology to enhance, rather than reduce, connections among staff and management.
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    From Concept to Impact: Beginning with the End in Mind Highlights of the 2015 Cornell Hospitality Entrepreneurship Roundtable
    Olsen, Mona Anita; McDarby, Kelly; Park, Joanne Jihwan (2015-05-01)
    Among the many topics that directly affect entrepreneurs’ success are these five: franchising, funding, technology, opportunity recognition, and legal arrangements. The inaugural roundtable convened by The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University addressed these five topics, with a goal of supporting hospitality entrepreneurs from concept to impact. The institute provides a springboard for hospitality entrepreneurs, particularly students at the School of Hotel Administration.
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    The Food-Service Industry: Best of Times, Worst of Times
    Susskind, Alex M. (2017-06-15)
    Technology has long been a factor in restaurants’ back-of-house operations, but the actual amount of automation depends on the restaurant operator’s preferences and, to some extent, the type of restaurant. Technology is now expanding in the front of the house, as part of the service interaction with guests, but again the implementation is uneven and depends in part on the restaurant’s concept. Whatever technology is introduced should at minimum not damage the guest experience and preferably should boost service levels. Participants in a recent roundtable at the School of Hotel Administration examined these and other issues in the foodservice industry, with a particular emphasis on the entrepreneurial aspects of the restaurant industry. Food service now stretches beyond the restaurant business, as grocery stores have entered the meal replacement sector, and food-kit deliveries are growing in popularity. Changes in the restaurant industry have influenced vendors, whether they offer a broad line or systems distribution. One other issue that is in flux is tipping, as some restaurateurs have eliminated tipping and raised menu prices to balance payrolls throughout the restaurant, while others retain tipping due to customers’ price sensitivity.
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    Entrepreneurship Is Global: Highlights from the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Roundtable
    Olsen, Mona Anita Kristiansen (2017-03-27)
    A group of nearly 30 industry leaders, entrepreneurs, faculty, staff, and students from around the world met in Ithaca in November 2016 for the Entrepreneurship is Global Roundtable hosted by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE) at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The event was held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Participants focused on identifying entrepreneurial talents, the benefits and challenges presented by the “Internet of Things,” entrepreneurship in China, and the growth of the craft beverage industry. Among the conclusions drawn from the wide-ranging discussion were that Gallup’s Entrepreneurial Profile 10, a psychometric assessment designed to identify the top ten talents consistently exhibited in successful entrepreneurs, can be an effective team development tool for a venture. The Internet of Things may provide valuable cost savings, decision-making capabilities, and productivity gains, participants said, but technology security remains an issue in a highly connected, sharing society. A discussion of China’s tourism and travel industry revealed that the industry could benefit from revenue management practices in addressing the lack of data and analysis in the market. The success of the craft beverage industry demonstrates the value of providing both products and experiences for consumers, participants noted, with collaboration a key element in creating popular destinations around the world.