Looking Forward and Staying Nimble

Entrepreneurs and small businesses are often the ones to lead the charge during times of change. One way to be part of the solution is to help start-ups.

Just a few days ago, in the middle of July, I walked into a store to find it filled with seasonal decor — all of it fall themed. And it reminded me that, for so many businesses, it’s well past time to start planning for 2018 and to start thinking about the future.

At Zoomba Group, we’re already plotting out our 2018 editorial calendar, and we’re continuing to track the ways foodservice is changing in response to consumer demand. With the endless push to meet the needs of a more demanding consumer, companies that don’t pay attention will feel the earth shift underfoot and eventually give way.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses are often the ones to lead the charge during times of change. One way to be part of the solution is to help start-ups. A food incubator called The Hatchery is expected to break ground in Chicago’s Near Northwest side this fall. The $30 million facility will spur much-needed jobs in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. The 67,000-square-foot incubator is a joint venture between Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago and Accion Chicago and is financed with a mix of public and private funds. It will offer shared kitchen spaces to support food start-ups, but it will also provide access to resources and expertise as well as relationship building opportunities with other food companies. As these start-ups grow, they will have access to one of 56 on-site private food production areas.

Though consumer demands are changing, some long-established elements remain. The demand for great food and great service isn’t going anywhere, but it is evolving. Great food and good service now needs to be available on-demand at the consumer’s convenience, from front doors via at-home meal kits to c-stores’ ever-increasing selections.

We get a press release a day about chains of every type partnering with third-party delivery services to make their food available by any means necessary. And this attitude is one that we’ve long embraced at Zoomba Group. I’ve always said that we are an original content creation company, and while we continue to deliver magazines to subscribers, we are platform agnostic about where and how readers digest the content we provide.

I hope you enjoy this issue of THE Quarterly Product Knowledge Guide, and, if you are so inclined, check out fesmag.com/thequarterly to browse all our issues and to stay up to date on product knowledge.