It never ceases to make me cringe. I will be in a room with some marketing expert who starts chirping about a new branding initiative. And when I inquire about the new branding effort the conversation immediately shifts to how the company's new name, logo and color palette really capture the essence of the organization and its rich history. Completely absent from the conversation, though, are the customers and how they perceive the company.
For many in the foodservice community 2013 may arrive with a certain sense of déjà vu. That's because it seems like 2013 is poised to offer more of the same type of operating environment the industry experienced over the previous 12 months.
The good news is that the business environment is expected to improve in 2013. The bad news is that foodservice operators face no shortage of challenges heading into next year.
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.