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QSR’s Summer Reading List
Instead of your usual beach read, try one of our five suggestions, selected specifically for restaurant operators. By Robin Hilmantel
5 books food service professionals should read.

As the mercury rises and you begin to make trips to the pool or beach a regular event, consider adding one (or several) of the books below to your summer reading list. Written about everything from hiring practices to the history of the hamburger, each of the tomes were selected with quick-serve industry insiders in mind. They’ll make your poolside stay so productive, you might have to comp your vacation.


Hire the American Dream by Dave Melton and Tim McIntyre ($24.95, Wiley)

Less than a week after chaos hit Domino’s in the form of a YouTube video, this book from one of the company’s franchisees was released. But Melton, the owner of four successful Domino’s units in New York, wouldn’t have had employee problems at one of his stores; he has a waiting list full of people hoping for a position with him that pays minimum wage. Plus, he has maintained 0 percent turnover for years at a time. Melton’s secret to success? Enthusiasm and encouragement. At least, that’s what he credits with helping several of his employees go from newly arrived immigrants to millionaires with Domino’s stores of their own. And along the way, they ensured Melton’s stores were staffed by the best employees possible. Use his advice to help your staff achieve their full potential.

The Wild Idea Club by Lee Silber, Andrew Chapman, and Linda Krall ($14.99, Career Press, Available June 20)

Through an employee-led club, workers can create innovative answers to problems they used to just complain about, improving your operations at the same time.

In an industry where innovation is key to survival and growth, Silber, Chapman, and Krall say they know how to tap employees at every level for inspiration: a wild idea club. Through an employee-led club, workers can create innovative answers to problems they used to just complain about, improving your operations at the same time. This book gives managers a step-by-step resource for how to get a club started—and how to keep it churning out quality ideas regularly.

Help Wanted & Help Found by Shawn C. Boyer ($15.95,; 1 edition, Available June 8)

Unlike the 160,000 other hiring books on the market, this one deals specifically with the challenges of finding the best hourly workers. Boyer, founder and CEO of, the nation's No. 1 source for hourly employment, both imparts advice he has picked up from his own experiences and highlights best practices through several case studies. Put his tips to use, and Boyer promises an improved bottom line.

Customer Service

The Hungry Cowboy by Karla A. Erickson ($50, University Press of Mississippi)

At the Minnesota Tex-Mex restaurant where Erickson used to work, customers posted signs in the restaurant’s entryway and attended employee parties. “While people go out to eat more than ever, they simultaneously cast about for security, stability, and recognition,” Erickson says in the book’s first pages. Through her sociological examination of The Hungry Cowboy restaurant as a social gathering spot, Erickson reminds us what it means to truly forge a connection with customers. The book will take you back to you why you got into the hospitality business in the first place—the people.


The Hamburger by Josh Ozersky ($14, Yale University Press)

Available for the first time in paperback this May, The Hamburger explores the history of the ground beef patty between two buns and its connection to larger social issues in America. White Castle, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and other quick-serve brands all are essential players as Ozersky recounts the burger’s ascent from humble sandwich to cultural icon. The book is a must-read for any true fast-foodie—especially anyone who works for a burger chain.

Robin Hilmantel is a regular contributor to