- Published: December 2, 2012
- Written by Maureen Slocum
Restaurant folk are a resilient lot.
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.
Restaurant folk are a resilient lot.
As the incomparable Yogi Berra once said, "...making predictions is hard, especially when they're about the future." Before you Google that...if he didn't say it, then he should have, because it's a pretty good line and more than a little true.
As a business leader you are undoubtedly aware that the Affordable Healthcare Act is about to take effect. But that seems to be where most people's understanding of the legislation begins and ends. That's because this legislation is highly complex and to someone outside of Washington, D.C., it seems like a maze of regulations that are indiscriminately and independently linked to each other.
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.
Despite the high national unemployment rate, it's still a challenge to find talented people who will mesh well with your corporate culture.
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.
When 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.
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.
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.
On a much more frequent basis, foodservice professionals need to justify capital projects as facilities age, equipment fails or customers demand new services. At the same time, the C-suite faces increased financial pressures, which result in the organization's most valuable capital projects requiring funding approval before moving forward. This combination becomes challenging for operators when, by nature, foodservice capital projects face tough scrutiny. Without a solid financial analysis detailing the return on investment (ROI), a project stands little chance for approval.
If there is one lesson that I have learned well through my association with FE&S over the years, it is the tremendous value of peer recognition. I have listened spellbound as award winners from DSR of the Year to Hall of Famer to Top Achievers to Dealer of the Year have graciously accepted their place among the very best in the industry at the FE&S Dealer of the Year and Industry Awards Gala.
A couple of years ago the Wounded Warrior Unit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center made headlines for all of the wrong reasons. The facility was outdated and in poor shape. Simply put, the facility was beneath the level of quality that the U.S. soldiers who had sacrificed so much for our country deserved.
Part 4 in a series of posts on how industrial engineering philosophies and techniques can be applied to foodservice operations.