In a recent call to kick off a prototype design initiative, I was surprised the operator had all of its executives participate. Several times over the course of the meeting, the executives referred to themselves as “the village.”
During the conversation, I felt the warmth and legitimacy of this specific operator “village,” as they were warmly inviting us to be part of their community. It was clear they were fully committed to this project and were ready to engage completely to make sure the success of everyone involved. The presence and participation of their full “executive village” clearly communicated this to us.
After the call, I began to ponder on my almost 40-year career in the foodservice industry looking at it through a prism that reflected this operator and project. Then it hit me: the foodservice industry is a “village” or one big family that pulls for each other as necessary.
I cannot tell you how many times the foodservice village has helped me and our company along the way. Whether is through a referral, information gathered at a conference, a meeting, a dinner, or by just simply reaching out to say hello, help and inspiration come in many forms. No foodservice professional is ever truly alone when working in this industry.
Our foodservice industrial engineering consulting group, like all families or villagers, has its disagreements on the specifics of what has to get done, but never have we wavered from the common theme of doing the best we can. And that is the same for every other company in the foodservice community and for the community as a whole.
At the end of the day, our business is straightforward in that we all just have to provide convenient and value-driven offerings to our customers and shareholders. This applies not only to the people that invest their hard-earned money in the industry, also known as the shareholders, but also to the front-line employees that generate those positive returns the shareholders crave. This approach also includes working shoulder to shoulder with equipment and technology suppliers, designers, consultants, among many others.
The foodservice industry is aptly described at times as being simply complex, after all, most of us can cook, just some better than others. During the last couple of COVID-inconvenienced years, it has clearly been more complex than simple, but we have endured as an industry, working side by side as villagers often do during times of great challenge.
Although COVID-19 has been very bad for just about everyone in the foodservice village, the one positive note is that it has forced the industry to get out of its comfort zone very quickly. By skipping the all too familiar trap of analysis paralysis, the industry has experienced more innovation in the past two years than at any other time in its history. This creativity has allowed some companies to survive, and many to thrive.
So, as we get past the first couple of months of 2022, I feel exceptionally good about this coming year and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that it will bring all of us.
We are indeed fortunate to be part of “The Foodservice Village.”
To a great 2022!