E&S Extra

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


The Caring Side of the Foodservice Industry

If there’s any one heartwarming aspect to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the way operators, consultants and other members of the industry continue to come together in support of one another.

From offering free meals and groceries to lending their services and expertise to adjusting manufacturing priorities to producing personal protection equipment and other products in high demand, the industry’s resourceful and caring nature remains on full display for all to see if you know where to look. Here are few recent examples that have caught our eye.

  • SSA Foodservice Design + Consulting is offering COVID-19 relief consulting at no charge. The SSA team will help operators facing the daunting tasks associated with how to rehire, retrain, reequip, refinance, replenish and — importantly — reopen their businesses. “Restaurant and hospitality owners/operators have a lot of challenging decisions to consider in developing a successful reopening plan of action. We are confident that SSA can be a resource with creative, out of the box thinking to assist in providing the essential foundation for these operations to be successful … again,” says Ken Schwartz, CEO and president of the Florida-based firm.
  • Celebrity chef Art Smith’s Windy City eatery Chicago q has launched an initiative to provide free hot meals to the homeless, hungry and healthcare workers. In addition, hospital staff, paramedics and others have also been invited to pick up complementary hot meals from Chicago q. Thus far the restaurant has handed out more than 1,000 meals. “Before the quarantine, the homeless had a place to go each day of the week to receive a warm meal. However, with many of the shelters now closed, there are many days where they have nowhere to go,” said Fred Latsko, real estate developer and owner of Chicago q. “We are hoping to pick these days up until the crisis is over and the shelters reopen.”
  • The Chrane Foodservice Challenge represents a good deed gone viral in only the best possible way. What started as a way for a Texas-based rep firm to support local restaurants and get the rep community involved, has spread considerably — just as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge did some years ago.
  • Restaurateurs Michael and Lindsay Tusk formed FEED THE FUTURE, a not-for-profit charitable foundation that helps the San Francisco employees at three of their restaurants and local farming communities in the supply chain impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. FEED THE FUTURE launched with an online auction of dinners, cooking classes, wine and spirits tastings, and other interactive activities from across the family of restaurants to support the effort.

In addition to operators and consultants helping one another, manufacturers continue to expand their repertoires to include PPE and other items essential in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

For example, Oregon-based CDN now makes a noncontact forehead thermometer that can be used to scan the temperatures of employees and others entering a foodservice operation. The medical-grade thermometer uses infrared technology to measure forehead or surface temperature, with a 1-second response time, according to CDN. In addition, Florida Seating has temporarily repurposed its Clearwater, Fla.-based assembly lines in order to manufacture such PPE items as face shields, masks, and gowns.

These developments come on heels of Sterno Delivery making cloth masks at its Indiana manufacturing facility.

Indeed, these are but a few examples of the countless good deeds getting done in the industry today. While watching the news and processing the developments that impact your family, business and community can leave some storm clouds hanging over one’s head, hopefully these examples of foodservice professionals doing well for others will shine some light into your day.