Foodservice Opinions

Opinion pieces on the foodservice equipment and supplies industry from leaders and laymen from all aspects of the business, including dealers, distributors, design consultants and multi-unit operators.

This Week in Foodservice: The CIT Group Inc. Is Largely Positive on U.S. Restaurant Industry

Financial giant CIT turned its spotlight on restaurants and forecast steady improvement despite the slow recovery. The head of CIT's Restaurant Industry Practice says that lenders that had stepped away from restaurants during the downturn are returning to finance acquisitions, expansion or re-models but noted that smaller companies and franchisees of smaller chains continue to have difficulty getting financing.

This Week in Foodservice: Restaurant Performance Index Shows a Nice Improvement

While the National Restaurant Association offered some good news in the form of its monthly RPI, other foodservice-related economic indicators were not as positive.

Making Your Voice Count

Wow! We owe a huge thank you to the record number of FE&S subscribers who participated in our 2012 Best in Class study. Completing a comprehensive study of this this type is no small task. So please know that we truly appreciate all of you who took the time and made the effort to ensure your voices are heard.

Lessons from the Great Pumpkin

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.

Building a Committed Workforce

Despite the high national unemployment rate, it's still a challenge to find talented people who will mesh well with your corporate culture.

This Week in Foodservice: What Darden Restaurants Can Tell Us about the Economy

Job creation is the key to jump-starting the U.S. economy, so by closely examining the performance of one multi-concept restaurant operator we can get an idea of what's to come, writes Jerry Stiegler in his latest blog post.

Industrial Engineering Optimizes Food Safety Practices

While the goal for most foodservice design is to enhance operational efficiency and guest experience, industry engineering processes can also enhance food safety when done right.

This Week in Foodservice: Census Bureau Reports Restaurant Sales Increase Again in August

Foodservice-related economic indicators continue their roller coaster ride while a series of chains continue to navigate the choppy waters of today's business climate.

This Week in Foodservice: The Employment Picture

Amid the confusing and bleak U.S. employment figures emerges one positive note: the foodservice industry continues to add jobs.

NRA's Restaurant Performance Index Retreats

The Restaurant Performance Index managed to stay in positive territory at 100.2 even though both major components of the Index fell. The Current Situation Index dropped 1.7 in July leaving it below 100 for the first time in nine months at 99.8. While 53 percent of the operators surveyed reported their same store sales increased the biggest block of operators (46 percent) said traffic declined.

Tips for Green Products and Cleaners

Scott-AttmanScott AttmanWhen researching environmentally friendly options it is easy to become confused by greenwashing, which overpromises the impact of certain products. With this in mind, it helps to have a few tips on what to look for when navigating the forest of green options.

Understand the difference between compostable and biodegradable.

The term biodegradable commonly appears in many product descriptions but it does not necessarily mean what you think. Biodegradable implies the products will breakdown in a landfill but this does not suggest that the rate of decomposition means it is safe for a permanent stay in the environment. Compostable products represent the true standard for items that maximize sustainability.

Compostable products and materials turn into soil and organic matter, meaning they are most acceptable for re-entry to the environment. In order to earn this designation, companies must obtain the compostable label through certifications from such organizations as the Biodegradable Products Institute or the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Green Cleaning Products – Look for the Green Seal Designation

The foodservice industry requires multiple cleaners of varying strengths and uses due to the different surfaces and spills or messes that need attention. Green Seal-certified products are the best-known alternatives to chemically based items.

For bathrooms and hand-washing stations Green Seal-certified soaps and hand towels are excellent replacements to traditional options. Foam soaps require less water and hands-free systems for soaps and towel dispensing cut costs even further.

Foodservice operators most commonly use green cleaning products for glass, surface and floor cleaning. When it comes to tasks that involve de-greasing, foodservice operators can choose from plenty of Green Seal-certified products capable of replacing traditional cleaners, though they may not always be quite strong enough due to their less caustic formulations. Peroxide-based products provide comparable green alternatives but whether using them is appropriate depends on the operation because the strength of chemicals still generally reigns supreme.

To properly control costs, most of these systems include options for dilution control. The systems allow manufacturers and distributors to ship products in concentrate form via recyclable containers to reduce carbon footprints while also reducing the impact to the waste stream.

As green products and cleaners become more mainstream foodservice operators must continue to be aware of these advancements to reduce their environmental impact while also maintaining an operational bottom line. Because truly implementing green or environmentally friendly solutions without compromising an operation's bottom line or brand promise requires foodservice professionals to wipe away the green washing by making informed purchases.