The New Year is upon us and for many Americans a fresh calendar translates into a fresh start, which motivates them to change their lives for the better. That’s why 40 percent to 45 percent of American adults will make some type of New Year’s resolution to improve their lives by eating better, exercising more, spending more time with family or even quitting smoking.

With that in mind, here are several New Year’s resolutions that companies in the foodservice industry might consider pursuing with the hopes of improving their businesses over the long haul.

Invest in Your Relationships: Most foodservice professionals feel the success of their business is based on relationships with both their customers and suppliers alike. Yet how often do you as a foodservice professional take the time to invest in your relationships? Given how sales driven the foodservice industry can be at times, it is often very easy to reduce the time spent with customers and suppliers trying to sell a product for a price, which does little to cultivate lasting and meaningful relationships.

Regardless of your position within the industry, take some time to develop a better understanding of your customers’ and suppliers’ businesses. Find out what’s working and what causes them heart burn and understand how that applies to your business. Doing so will allow you to work together to develop meaningful solutions that will have a positive impact on everyone’s business.

Find New Ways to Add Value: Because of the transaction-based nature of the foodservice industry value is often defined in the form of price, warranty or other financially motivated terms. But foodservice professionals can add value in other ways. If you are a supplier meeting with a customer, bring to the conversation more than just this week’s special. Share with your customers some of the trends and developments you see in the industry. You talk to a lot of people in the industry, probably many more people than your customers, so share that information and perspective in a meaningful way. From a customer perspective, if your suppliers are not offering up this type of information, it is incumbent upon you to encourage them to do so.

Tackle Technology: From Revit to social media to the onslaught of foodservice-related apps introduced to the market seemingly every day, information technology continues to play a profound role in shaping the way business gets done in the foodservice industry. Now not every technology may affect your business just yet but they eventually will. The efficiencies — both perceived and real — that these technologies can provide will be the impetus for their continued acceptance throughout the foodservice industry. As such, it is incumbent upon you as a foodservice professional to develop a better understanding of each of these tools and how they relate to your business and how they can help you better manage customer expectations.

While resolutions like these do not represent a panacea for all that ails the economy or the foodservice industry, hopefully they can help you make 2012 a happy and prosperous year.