In many ways it is ironic that in this issue we explore the future of foodservice design consultants. That's because in this issue we also remember design consultant Jim Webb who passed away far too early in late October. It was out of several conversations with Jim that we decided to make this article part of our December issue.
All segments of the foodservice industry like to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that is such a rich part of their history.
It's October and that means my three daughters are about to temporarily trade their princess videos for the Halloween classic: "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." After rewatching it, I realized that today's foodservice industry could learn a few things from this Peanuts tale.
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.