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2017 Break Out Awards, Midwest: Jay Gates

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JAY GATES

Director of risk management

RMH Franchise Holdings Inc., dba Applebee’s

Lincoln, Nebraska

Age: 43

Jay Gates joined RMH Franchise Holdings Inc., which operates 175 Applebee’s franchises in 15 states, in 2014 after spending 11 years at Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. in roles of increasing responsibility. After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in criminal justice, he spent four years as an investigator for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission. At RMH, he has implemented an enterprise risk management philosophy.

Best advice you’ve been given

Do things right the first time if you don’t want to have to go back and do them again. I got that advice a long, long time ago, and it’s always proven to be good.

Top industry concern

My biggest concern right now would have to be the overall downward trend in traffic and sales in the casual dining space. There’s a trend right now where the whole restaurant space has changed, and casual dining across the board is seeing a downward trend in both traffic and sales. Fast casual places are much quicker than the whole sit-down dining concept. That market seems to be doing a little bit better, but people are eating at home, people are picking up prepared foods at the grocery store on their way home, so overall, it’s having an impact on the casual dining space.

What inspires you?

I’m a sports guy, so I get inspired by watching athletes put in the hard work it takes to become a champion. I’ve used that thought process in my career and I’d say it’s proven successful thus far.

Hobbies and interests

I don’t get to play that much, but I’m an avid golfer. I played in high school. I love to play golf, but I don’t seem to have time to play anymore.

 

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