E&S Extra

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


The term sustainability is far from new. All the way back in 1987, a United Nations commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” That’s heady stuff, and yet most of us would agree that it’s pretty important, too.

If we learned anything the past few years, it’s that seminal events like a global pandemic will not uniformly impact a business segment. Instead, the results will often be uneven and vary by geography, business type and various other factors. And nowhere is this more evident than within the foodservice industry.

When I was in high school a McDonald’s Big Mac was among my favorite fast-food meals.

It was early fall in 2002 and a friend had taken a job in Singapore.

Regardless of whether you find it shocking, the concept of the all-electric commercial kitchen continues to gain amperage in all corners of the foodservice industry. And this topic will only increase its voltage in the coming months and years. 

While driving my daughter to one of her early-morning swim practices we went past a fast-casual restaurant chain our family used to regularly visit. When I mentioned to Annie that it had been a while since we had been there, she laughed and said, “That was the only place we could go where we all could find something we liked.”

Here are three random thoughts and observations.

After more than two years where chaos was the norm, everyone in the foodservice industry seems ready to go back to a more stable approach to serving consumers, concept development and yes, even the terms and timing that pertain to the buying and selling of equipment and supply items.

In business it’s pretty common to toss around buzzwords when trying to make a point. Yet sometimes we hear the words so often it becomes easy to forget what they actually mean.

Here is some simple advice for complicated times.

Most companies have a vision, but executing to meet that vision is often easier said than done. For a good example of how to develop a corporate vision and execute to it, look no further than Singer Equipment Company. It’s been 10 years since we last profiled the FE&S 2023 Dealer of the Year and so much has changed.

In many respects, the foodservice industry is a lot like Martin Scorsese’s hit movie “Goodfellas,” given how relationship-based it truly is. As Ray Liotta’s character Henry Hill said, “You know, we always called each other good fellas. Like you’d say to, uh, somebody, ‘You’re gonna like this guy. He’s all right. He’s a good fella. He’s one of us.’ You understand? We were good fellas.”

The term innovation gets tossed around the foodservice industry.

Prognosticating during a pandemic can be like spitting into the wind in that it’s simultaneously messy and unpredictable.

Ever since meeting Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons back in the fall of 1962, Americans have been wondering when robots will become a dominant feature in restaurants. Perhaps that time has finally come.

Like certain relatives at the end of a holiday party, you know the ones, there’s a trio of foundation-shaking business challenges the foodservice industry faces that don’t show any signs of leaving anytime soon. It does not matter what role a company plays in the foodservice industry; everyone faces the same three challenges as the industry enters 2022: cost, supply chain and labor.

It’s been four years since the last NAFEM Show and a lot has changed in the foodservice industry.

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.

Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss.

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.