Opinion pieces from our editorial director and editor in chief.
As internationally renowned restaurateur and occasional country singer Kenny Rogers once told us: "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run." Unfortunately with the mixed signals the economy continues to send us it's getting harder and harder to know when to do what.
Nobody likes it when someone moves our cheese but everyone loves it when a change really enhances our experience. And that's the catch that most businesses — including those in the foodservice industry — face today. How can a company evolve to remain relevant and efficient without alienating its current customer base? It's as tricky as it sounds but when done thoughtfully and with vision, the results can be spectacular.
When the foodservice industry looks for inspiration to spur innovation, it often turns to the restaurant chains. At first, it was the quick-serve restaurants to capture everyone's attention but in recent years fast-casual operators are the ones really blazing the trail for others to follow. For a long time, this practice made lots of sense because it was the chains that lived on the industry's leading edge, having invested lots in time and money to research and cultivate new concepts, menus and more.
In taking a look at today's healthcare foodservice operators, it would seem to me that this segment of the industry features plenty of challenges and opportunities.
A cross the top of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's website are three phrases that seem to describe the organization's objectives: "Preserving History. Honoring Excellence. Connecting Generations." And I can't think of a better way to describe why we at FE&S are recognizing David Stafford Sr. of Stafford-Smith with the magazine's 2012 Hall of Fame Award.
When business leaders talk about the success of their organizations, they often cite their people and corporate culture as the company's two most important differentiating factors.
In this issue FE&S presents the results from its 2012 Distribution Giants Study, which ranks the top 100 dealers by sales volume. This is the industry's oldest and most comprehensive study that covers the world of foodservice equipment and supplies distribution. While incredibly time consuming, this study is a wonderful exercise for me and our team here at FE&S because it allows us to interact with a large portion of our readers and hear first-hand how things are playing out in the field each day.
"Instant is the new fast," speaker Ross Shafer told the attendees at NAFEM's Annual Meeting and Management Conference just last month. "And fast is the new slow."
When it comes to foodservice fashion, I always think about the front of the house, specifically the tabletop. Proper tabletops help foodservice operators convey a certain fashion sense about their business, showcasing their style and helping shape the way they would like customers to perceive their restaurants.
It's the beginning of the year and it is a time when many columnists, bloggers and the like share a few trends they will monitor in the coming months. So, with that in mind, I would like to share a dozen thoughts and ideas about the foodservice industry as it enters 2012.