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.
Fred Singer, the company’s president and CEO, has long had a vision to grow the company eastward from its Elverson, Pa., headquarters and establish a presence up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Singer Equipment has done that and more.
It would be simple, and quite frankly lazy, to chalk up all Singer Equipment has accomplished to a handful of strategic acquisitions it has made over the years. The same can be said about attributing the company’s success solely to the many longtime employees that work there.
See, when it comes to Singer Equipment’s growth, it’s not an either-or proposition. It’s both — and that’s what differentiates it from so many companies.
Singer Equipment has figured out how to do what has eluded so many for so long. The company knows how to take all of its talent and blend it into one cohesive culture that permeates the business. It starts at the top with Fred Singer. He has a vision, and openly shares it with his management team. Further, he’s not afraid to take chances when it comes to adding talent. Key members of the Singer Equipment leadership team have brought fresh perspectives from their experiences outside of the foodservice industry.
That leads me to another differentiating point about Singer Equipment: When organizations hire people or acquire companies, some business leaders will try to marginalize the knowledge and expertise that comes along with such transactions in favor of the company’s so-called tried-and-true approach. In contrast, Fred Singer has an uncanny knack for embracing the strengths of new hires and newly acquired companies and folding them into the organization to make the overall business stronger. As smart and as visionary as he may be, he never seems to stop learning. He blends this newly acquired intellectual capital with the institutional knowledge and expertise that’s made the company one of the most respected foodservice equipment and supplies dealers in the country to create a best of breed approach. This is an approach that pays dividends on many levels.
The same applies to foodservice design. Good foodservice design creates a good financial return on investment. Great foodservice design, though, creates a return on investment that spans multiple levels. Such is the case with the Yale Schwarzman Center at Yale University, recipient of the FE&S 2023 Facility Design Project of the Year award. This project does more than provide diverse and nutritious menu items to the Yale community by leveraging a truly flexible design. Because this project was funded through endowments, it generates a unique, multilevel return on investment. Supporting foodservice was important to the donors and such a successful project allows them to feel a sense of pride and maintain a connection to the campus.
Passing a vision test in today’s foodservice industry requires business leaders not only understand where they want to go but also how to get there and who will take them there.