The Disney Corporation sets the gold standard when it comes to creating truly memorable customer experiences. From movies to theme parks to cruise ships and a thousand points of joyful light in between, each time a consumer touches a Disney product the experience they have is second to none.


Making all of this magic happen is literally a cast of thousands. See, at Disney employees are known as "cast members" because the company sees everything it does as putting on a show. At the typical Disney attraction the spotlight shines brightly on the show and its rich characters to tell the story of Snow White or Lightning McQueen, while the individual cast members remain in the background. But this month we invite Martin Cowley, a longtime and proud member of the Disney cast, to take a bow as we present him with FE&S' Hall of Fame Award.

A 40-year veteran of the foodservice industry, Cowley has spent the past 24 years playing his own not-so-small part in making Walt Disney Parks and Resorts the happiest place on earth. During that time Cowley and his fellow cast members have designed dining operations that range from small snack carts to five-star restaurants across multiple continents. In other words, if you've ever visited a Disney theme park or taken a Disney cruise and had so much as a soft drink while there, you have probably enjoyed the fruits of Martin's labor.

Based on volume alone, Cowley's accomplishments are impressive. But looking at the quantity of what he and his fellow cast members have done only scratches the surface of his accomplishments. In Cowley's case the real achievement is in the details. When developing foodservice concepts, Cowley and the rest of the cast face the monumental task of balancing customers' expectations with operational efficiency while bringing a beloved Disney story to life.

Cowley and his fellow cast members accomplish this by working collaboratively with one another and their supply chain partners, leveraging emerging technologies, exceeding standards for food safety and more. The net results are immersive customer experiences with an attention to detail that only Disney can provide.

Trying to operate with such lofty expectations would tax most anyone but for Cowley it all comes naturally. That's because Cowley's fondness for the foodservice industry is second only to his affection for Disney and his role as a cast member extraordinaire. Cowley's commitment to continuously learning about new and innovative technologies has led him to lend his expertise to many foodservice industry organizations, including FCSI, NAFEM and even serving as a judge for the National Restaurant Association's Kitchens Innovations awards.

For all of these reasons and many more that become apparent when you read the story written by Amelia Levin, Martin Cowley has had a hall of fame career in foodservice.