Point of View

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


A special thanks goes out to everyone who made FE&S’ inaugural Tour the Trends event a big success.

The great national experiment toward the legalization of cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes continues to gain steam. In January of 2020, Illinois will join the growing (sorry, not sorry) list of states where recreational use is no longer a crime.

Kwik Trip’s retail foodservice program goes beyond what most c-store operators offer, making Paul Servais’ role as retail foodservice director a robust one. Among the offerings at the chain’s 600 c-stores: grab-and-go breakfast items, classic lunchtime fare such as sandwiches and pizza by the slice, and a newly redesigned beverage area that offers hot and cold specialty espresso drinks, such as cappuccino and frappes, in a self-service format.

Since 2010, Russ Meyer, former director of housing operations and dining services at the University of Nevada, Reno, has logged thousands of miles on his bike and raised thousands of dollars for the Clark DeHaven Scholarship Trust. The trust provides merit scholarships to students at institutions that are members of the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). The students must be committed to pursuing careers in accredited programs in the foodservice profession or related areas. Since its inception, the trust has awarded 86 students and raised a total of $346,500.

Having worked in both foodservice operations and as a distributor sales rep, I’ve heard my fair share of complaining about health inspectors. They never showed up at a good time, their grievances — expressed as points on a checklist — always seemed trivial and I remember everyone viewing their presence as an unwelcome hassle in an already overwrought day.

As the senior director of Hospitality Services at NC State Dining, the foodservice arm of North Carolina State University, Randy Lait oversees a $46 million budget with annual sales volume at $49 million. The dining program serves 31,000 meals per day and employs 150 full-time employees and more than 1,000 part-time employees.

One of the biggest challenges corporate dining, also known as business and industry (B&I) foodservice, continues to face is remaining relevant in the eyes of the customer. These operations strive to keep a consistent customer engaged and productive, which is no easy task.

Throughout researching colleges, I never focused on their foodservice programs. On tours, as I walked through the dining hall, I would observe the setup, but for me the food never affected my decision. I ended up enrolling at Butler University and orientation was the first time I realized that there were only two dining halls on campus, plus a convenience store and a Starbucks.

Founded by hospitality industry veterans in 2004, Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) supports children of food and beverage service employees who are navigating life-altering circumstances. The organization has raised upward of $5 million to date and helped more than 700 families.

2019 marks my 40th year as a foodservice design consultant. Naturally, when one reaches a milestone like this, there’s a tendency to look back and reflect on your career. I am no exception. As a young consultant, I was eager to meet, listen and learn from other consultants, especially those who worked in other firms or specialized in areas our firm did not. No matter which sector of the industry we are in, we all have experiences to share with our own colleagues and each other. It’s great to share the successes. Sometimes we can learn much from others and the issues they have faced and have solved.

A connected kitchen is one where the operator has linked the various pieces of equipment to enable them to communicate pertinent information such as energy, maintenance, food quality, food safety, operational efficiency and more in a timely manner. The connected commercial kitchen concept is not a new one, but unfortunately, the foodservice industry has been slow to implement this approach.

Katie Green recalls laughing as a teenager filing invoices at Refrigerated Specialist Inc. (RSI) when her father suggested that once she started at the company, she’d likely never leave. His words proved true. She fell in love with the company and the foodservice industry and now has 18 years under her belt at RSI. She also serves as co-chair for the Young Executive Council of the Commercial Food Equipment Service Association (CFESA).

Burt Bonilla, CFESA Master Technician, Coker Service Inc., learned about servicing foodservice equipment while on a ship at sea serving in the U.S. Navy from 1995 to 1999. “I was an electrician and worked on a lot of galley kitchen equipment,” he says. “I excelled at it and really liked it.” Bonilla’s time at sea gave him a lot of experience working with equipment in an environment where parts were hard to come by.

Most of us can agree that we work in one of the greatest industries. Relationships are still important in foodservice because they are important to the people in it. One area where we can make progress is diversity.

Bill Marks began his foodservice career early, working at an ice cream shop outside of Philadelphia at the age of 16. While in college, he became the student manager for campus foodservice operations. He also worked for contract food management companies for 20 years and learned to
manage large multiservice operations.

A special shout-out this month to Editorial Director Joe Carbonara and the entire Zoomba Group team for establishing a new high-water mark for FE&S’ professional recognition. In May the American Society of Business Publication Editors recognized this publication with seven of its national Azbee awards for design and content excellence.

To drive positive change in the foodservice industry, we at Parts Town remain on the lookout for our next major innovation. It’s part of our culture, which strives to inspire team members to bring their ideas forward, while also listening to customers and manufacturers. We then prioritize and relentlessly pursue the most compelling innovations. Often, but not always, these innovations are technology-related. Technology can be customer-facing, including unique web features. Alternatively, technological developments can be internal to drive safety, quality, customer experience or productivity gains.

Jeff Martin’s background and affinity for all things technical made his career as a foodservice equipment service technician almost predestined. He began following his passion in high school, where he took both technology and electrical programs.

Martha Rardin has been in healthcare foodservice for more than four decades. As the foodservice director and dietitian manager for all of the Hendricks Regional Health facilities in suburban Indianapolis, she oversees a $3.5 million foodservice program, which produces about 1,300 meals per day and supports in-room dining, retail and catering programs. That includes about 50 meals per day for Hendricks’ senior center and another 130 to Meals on Wheels each week.

Welcome to the May 2019 issue of FE&S magazine. We hope that you will enjoy the fresh look and feel of the latest redesign.