Point of View

Content with a point of view from foodservice operators, dealers, consultants, service agents, manufacturers and reps.

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The foodservice industry has faced many major challenges over the past couple of years. Despite all the struggles, the industry has shown admirable perseverance and we think it’s time to start focusing on opportunities. This one has been hiding in plain sight: It’s time to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The past two years have tested the foodservice industry in ways that were previously unimaginable.

News of the day have you feeling weary? Have you run out of things to watch on Netflix?

The business environment of the past two years has challenged the creativity and resourcefulness of just about everyone in the foodservice industry. Kirby Mallon, owner and president of Elmer Schultz and president of the Commercial Food Equipment Service Association, talks about how service agents have adapted by leveraging technology, working together and more.

Restaurant operators now face more challenges than their predecessors.

We are proud to extend our congratulations to the all-star roster of foodservice professionals who will be recognized at the FE&S 2022 Dealer of the Year & All-Industry Awards Gala, taking place the Saturday of the National Restaurant Association Show, which this year falls on May 21, 2022. As always, the event will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.

Hospitality teams in business and industry foodservice remain in a fluid state right now waiting for specific direction from the companies they serve.

Some folks can spend entire lifetimes trying to find a career that suits them. Others are influenced by a random experience. Such is the case with Bill Risener, field technical service manager for ATECH, a Nashville-based service agent. 

As a guest at a recent buying group conference, I was reminded of a simple truth that any parent can easily relate to: One major factor in success, no matter how we choose to define success for ourselves, is who we choose to be around. The people who surround us — family, friends, co-workers and business associates — have a tremendous influence over what we strive for, what we value and who we become.

The concept of co-branding continues to gain traction among multiconcept operators. The idea is pretty simple: Take two brands with a common customer base and complementary menus and combine them under one roof. Having at least two different menus to choose from, so the thinking goes, will make visiting the location more appealing to customers on an ongoing basis.

When I was in high school, I remember President Bill Clinton saying every American deserves a college degree and to own a home.

Within the competitive climate at today’s colleges and universities, the quality of dining services can be a competitive advantage. Prospective students take food into consideration today when making college decisions. “For some prospective students, the dining experience can be a deal breaker when selecting an alma mater,” according to CollegeRank.

Wow Bao, an Asian fast-casual brand created in 2003 by Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, has, over nearly two decades, done things differently.

There is a lot to be said for the concept of co-branding in the restaurant business. With little effort, it is easy to see how complementary operations can bolster one another and maximize the precious labor and real estate expenses that figure so heavily in the bottom-line success or failure of any venture.

If one theme emerges from the stories of FE&S 2022 award winners, it would have to be persistence in the face of challenge. Indeed, many of these award winners leveraged their resourceful nature to find ways to achieve when many companies were simply trying to survive.

I began my career as a professional investor studying hundreds of businesses in many different industries. My biggest takeaway from this experience was that all great companies had at least one thing in common: They were aggressive adopters of technology. Their counterparts — the companies that ignored technology — suffered the consequences regardless of their leadership position.

Labor is an issue that continues to confound the foodservice industry. Nobody has enough and few know where to go to source new talent. One way to rectify this situation is to change the way you think about attracting employees, specifically entry-level positions. That’s what we have done with our company, and the rewards have been amazing. Allow me to explain.

There’s been plenty of twists and turns since the COVID-19 pandemic first took the world by storm in early 2020, and few segments have felt the brunt of all this uncertainty more than foodservice.

The market-driven menu at Rich Table in San Francisco focuses on seasonal, readily available ingredients. Menu items feature seafood ingredients that range from sea urchin to cod tempura. This concept was created by chef couple Evan and Sarah Rich almost 10 years ago.

For multiconcept operator FAT Brands, 2021 was an active year, one in which the company diversified its restaurant portfolio and expanded its reach through a series of acquisitions.