This marks the 11th year that Zoomba Group will hold FE&S’ Dealer of the Year and All Industry Awards Gala on the Saturday night of the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. As in years past, this highly sought-after ticket opens the door to a carefully curated night that includes a ton of fun packed into a quick-paced event. Also on the menu that night: plenty of laughs, smiles and maybe even a few tears.

While serving as publisher of FE&S when Reed Business Information owned the magazine, I actually moved the event to the NRA Show weekend and changed the format to include pre- and post-party events. Over that time, the event has steadily grown in stature and industry significance, largely, I think, because of the growing roster of past winners. As you look through the list of FE&S’ DOY honorees over the years, it reads like a who’s who of the foodservice community. The event provides a template for telling the story of how the industry has grown to what it is today and shines the spotlight on the exceptional people who made it happen.

Once Zoomba Group took the reins in 2010, the magazine was no longer encumbered by the constraints put on FE&S by Reed Business, where it was part of a group of magazines with sometimes conflicting audience goals. In this new operating environment, we were able to widen our scope to embrace even more of the foodservice equipment and supplies channel. So, as our audience breadth has grown to include many more operators, for instance, so too has the focus of the awards.

The fact that the industry has coalesced around these awards and this special night make it possible for the people who so richly deserve recognition to shine. In an industry devoid of much fanfare — beyond the celebrated chef phenomenon — this is a night to put on your best suit or dress and celebrate the achievements of the peers who have helped shape this great industry.

P.S. I’m looking forward to seeing many of our dealer friends at the 2020 FEDA Annual Conference this month in beautiful San Diego.