While the recipe for value continues to evolve, in today's foodservice industry two ingredients remain constant: being knowledgeable and flexible, writes FE&S' Editorial Director Joe Carbonara.
Nothing brings out the best in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry quite like The NAFEM Show. For three days it seems everyone is in the best possible mood while hobnobbing beneath NAFEM’s biennial big top. The burdens of business challenges seem to fade to the background as various new applications of stainless steel, melamine and even china have everyone forgetting the past, even for a moment — because, to paraphrase one-hit wonder Timbuk3: their future’s so bright they’ve gotta wear shades.
From the 2015 Performance in Tabletop Awards to the feature on cook-chill to the facility design project of the month (64 Degrees at the University of California San Diego) and countless other articles, examples of collaboration are plentiful in this issue.
Many foodservice equipment manufacturers continue to offer extended warranties to help sweeten the sales process during this slower growth period.
Many foodservice professionals often refer to the tabletop as the most important three feet in the house. That's because the tabletop represents the aspect of the foodservice operation that diners interact with most. So it would seem logical, then, that most restaurant and foodservice operators would put in plenty of thought, minding every detail, when developing their tabletops (page 18). Unfortunately, the opposite is often true.
During the depths of the recession, people would often joke that flat was the new up. In other words, if a company was not losing ground fiscally that was as good as gaining ground, given the challenging economic environment. Well, it's been a while since the recession ended and yet growth remains hard to come by for the foodservice industry.
W hen the economy tanked seven years ago, innovation became the panacea that was going to cure everyone's fiscal ills. Business leaders and politicians tripped over each other in a race to the microphone to let everyone know they were ready to lead the charge toward innovation, which ultimately would spark the economic growth the U.S. so desperately needed to break free from its economic tailspin.
If you saw the cover of this issue promoting our coverage of college and university foodservice innovators and thought the July edition of FE&S is not for you, think again. What's happening in college and university foodservice today will shape other foodservice industry segments for years to come.
In recent years, the fast-casual segment has been the darling of the foodservice industry — and with good reason. As Chicago-based market research firm Technomic continues to point out, sales and unit growth among fast-casual operators outpaces the overall restaurant industry. But quietly, almost behind the scenes, another operator segment continues to go through a significant transformation. And that segment is healthcare foodservice.
Ask most any foodservice professional about the most potent tool at their disposal and they will likely cite the tried and true response "relationships." And there's some truth in that answer. At the most basic level of any transaction, people generally do buy from people. But if I learned one thing in putting together this issue of FE&S, it's that relationships, while important, are far from the most impactful tool foodservice professionals have at their disposal.