E&S Extra

Editorial Director Joe Carbonara provides insights and commentary on the state of the foodservice equipment and supplies marketplace.

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The idea of automating foodservice operations by using robots is nothing new. Most everyone in the foodservice industry likes to reminisce about seeing burger or pancake flipping robots at various times at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. Yet outside of a salad-making robot that came of age at the NRA Show a few years ago, the fact remains widespread automation has been slow to catch on in the foodservice industry.

During the past year, there has been plenty of time to prognosticate about the restaurant industry’s recovery from the damage caused by COVID-19. While some predict the road to recovery will be short and fast, others predict a longer, more winding road. Either way, it would be wise to plan on a few potholes along the way.

A certain entrepreneurial spirit has long shaped the food and foodservice industries. But it’s one thing to have a vision for a restaurant or a food-related business and another to have the infrastructure to make one’s hopes and dreams a reality.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

As the year drags on two main issues continue to dominate the conversation throughout the foodservice industry: supply chain and labor.

Add transparency to the list of foodservice trends already in motion but gained new momentum and meaning due to COVID-19. And, much like the need to social distance and wear a mask to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the concept of transparency isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Over the past year or so, two terms have dominated the foodservice industry’s lexicon: pivot and flexibility. Unless you’ve been living on a desert island, I don’t think this requires any further explanation.

As foodservice operators from all segments prepare to mount a comeback from the trials and tribulations of COVID-19, expect beverages to be a key element in any successful campaign.

In the movie “The Godfather III,” there’s an iconic scene where Michael Corleone, after years of trying to make his family business legitimate, bellows in exasperation, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” I am sure that sentiment was shared by many throughout the foodservice industry in early August when, after months of progress, a surge in COVID-19 cases courtesy of the delta variant threatened to set back the industry.

Seems there are more questions than answers in today’s foodservice industry. But today we try to knock four questions off that list.

In mid-July #CovidIsNotOver was regularly trending across social media platforms. It referred to an uptick in cases across various parts of the country as mostly nonvaccinated folks danced with this disease. But this could have just as easily applied to the foodservice industry, which continues to grapple with the fallout from the pandemic.

This past weekend marked birthday number 99 for American pop culture icon Betty White. To help mark such an auspicious occasion, preparing a list of 99-foodservice-related items to ponder seemed like the appropriate tribute. After careful consideration, though, that approach seemed plainly punitive. You’ve done nothing to deserve that. Instead, let’s go with four points – one for each of the Golden Girls – Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia – a seven-season sitcom starring, among others, White. Last week’s post was filled with lots of sobering news about the industry and when it comes to Betty White that’s just off brand. With that in mind, this week’s blog post will focus on some more upbeat information.

Just about every operator segment had to abruptly change direction due to the pandemic. Take for example, college foodservice.

Unfortunately, 2021 began in much in the same way 2020 ended, with continued consumer concern about the coronavirus and the tumultuous nature of American politics dominating the conversation. Given that cancelling our collective subscription to 2021 is not an option, it is time to try to cut through the chaos to get a better idea of what the year ahead might look like for the restaurant and foodservice industry. With that in mind, here are five points to ponder as we start 2021.

Just last month, many businesses started calling their teams back to the office.

Much has been made about the many new developments that have come about during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Few would disagree that the current business environment is better than it was a year ago at this time.

Editorial director Joe Carbonara offers five factors facing the foodservice industry.

As the pandemic plays out, lots of conversations continue to take place trying to dissect the long-term impact this public health crisis will have on the industry.

Here’s a look at five COVID-19-related factors facing the foodservice industry.