In light of the much ballyhooed economic challenges the world faces today, many clever marketers have decided to play the panic card when trying to peddle their products and services. And why shouldn’t they? Throughout last year’s political campaigns both parties did an exemplary job of trying to scare us into not voting for the other candidate. As a result of this trend, a new phrase of sorts has taken root in the marketing lexicon of the day.

Joseph M. Carbonara, Editor in Chief
Joseph M. Carbonara, Editor in Chief

En route to justifying the need for their products or services, most marketers are quick to tug at customers’ heart strings by simply starting a pitch with the phrase, “Now more than ever…” The next time you watch television or listen to the radio, keep an ear out for this ubiquitous phrase. Once you start listening for it, you can’t stop.

In trying to drum up additional business, the marketers using these words seem to take shortcuts. They do not introduce anything new, nor do they try to really equate the benefits of their product or service offerings with the very real needs of their customer base. In other words, it seems as if this approach to pitching a product has very limited potential because it lacks relevance.

Foodservice professionals know better than most other types of businesses what it takes to remain relevant in the eyes of their customers. That’s due to the simple fact that while your products and services may have a certain broad-based appeal, to be successful day in and day out you really have to market to an audience of one. You have to translate the features and benefits of your offerings into something meaningful for your customers, be they a consumer, foodservice operator, dealer or even service agent.

When a true foodservice professional does this properly, the results can become more than meaningful. The outcome can be innovative, inspirational and build loyalty that genuinely lessens the impact of price on a purchasing decision. Simply put, these results can create value that someone cannot shop.

Such is the case with the six individuals FE&S profiles in this issue. Our Hall of Fame and Top Achiever Award winners may represent various segments of the foodservice industry, but their similarities far outnumber their differences. Each shares a passion for the foodservice industry that they wear on their sleeves. They all have an unwavering commitment to building market leading businesses that not only serve customers well, but also supports their business partners. In addition, each of these individuals continues to make meaningful contributions to their respective industries and the markets they serve. As a result, our winners have built sustainable businesses that will undoubtedly withstand the tests of time and any economic maelstroms that may come their way.

With economic pressures continuing to mount, it can become pretty easy to overlook the many positive aspects of the foodservice industry. For that reason, it’s important to take a step back to recognize the good work that’s being done despite the challenging conditions and celebrate the successes the foodservice industry continues to deliver. Doing so brings the industry together and allows us individually and collectively to feel good about ourselves. Creating this sense of community reminds us that we are not alone in overcoming a seemingly insurmountable list of challenges.

More importantly, we hope that sharing these stories and examples will provide everyone with some much needed inspiration moving forward.