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Juan Martinez

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Private equity’s interest in restaurants as of late got me thinking … Read more...

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Jerry Stiegler

This Week in Foodservice: January Retail Sales Rise, RBI to Buy Popeyes, Food Away From Home Leads Consumer Price Index Increase and Whole Foods Intros Fast-Casual

Retail sales in the U.S. rose in January with restaurants outperforming most retail sectors. Popeyes Lousiana Kitchen will be purchased by Restaurant Brands International. The consumer price index for food was up in January with food away from home leading the way. Wendy’s investment in Arby’s pays off big. The Whole Foods grocery chain introduces a fast-casual restaurant concept. Starbucks tests ice cream. These stories and a whole lot more This Week In Foodservice.

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Highlights

Says Who? - Santa Claus

A lifelong resident of the North Pole, Santa Claus oversees an expansive distribution and fabrication business run by a group of very busy and loyal elves. Known by some as Father Christmas, Claus’ straightforward distribution model includes using flying reindeer to pull his sleigh around the world on the evening of Dec. 24 making toy deliveries to children. Known for his flamboyant style of dress — he wears only a bright red suit trimmed in white fur — some of Claus’ closest associates include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. FE&S’ editors paid a visit to Father Christmas a few weeks ago as he was preparing to embark on another one of his global rooftop tours.

sayswho_background Santa Claus

FE&S: What keeps you working in the foodservice industry?

Santa Claus: I never thought of myself as working in the foodservice industry. But when you consider how many truckloads of cookies and tons of fudge are made, and the gallons of milk that are poured on my behalf each year, I am probably one of the foodservice industry’s biggest consumers, both literally and figuratively.

FE&S: Would you encourage your children to work in this business?

Santa Claus: Due to deep discounting by other gift givers such as the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, the margins on Easy Bake Ovens and toy kitchen sets have eroded considerably in recent years. And when you factor in the rising food costs associated with keeping so many reindeer in the air, well, our profits are under considerable pressure compared to others in our competitive set. If it were not for the back end rebates I would think twice about having them enter this business.

FE&S: What foodservice equipment would make for a perfect Christmas list?

Santa Claus: A convection oven for cookies, beverage system for hot chocolate and a 50 gallon gravity fed cereal dispenser for my reindeer’s feed.

FE&S: Who was the person that influenced your career most?

Santa Claus: Really?

FE&S: Who in the foodservice industry do you admire most?

Santa Claus: It’s a tie between Betty Crocker and Milton Bradley. They rolled the dice by getting into this business with their half-baked ideas and have wound up touching so many people’s lives. And I have to say that Clement Moore, in his own special way, has had a profound impact on my life.

FE&S: What type of charitable activities are you involved in?

Santa Claus: I deliver toys to all the good little girls and boys (and even the naughty ones, too) worldwide in one night making many of their wishes come true. I think that’s enough charity for one person, don’t you?

FE&S: What do you look for in a business partner?

Santa Claus: Hold on, let me ask Mrs. Claus.

FE&S: What aspect of your career gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

Santa Claus: Negotiating the new labor agreement with the Elf’s Union on December 26, 1989. That has paved the way for labor peace here on the North Pole ever since.

FE&S: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Santa Claus: Back in 1824, the elves and reindeer held their first annual chili cook off on December 23. In 1825, Mrs. Clause and my dry cleaner strongly advised me to move the competition to July.

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