Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.


NRA Bound? Make Sure You Plan Your Time!

Juan Martinez looks ahead to this weekend's National Restaurant Association show.

It's hard to believe that the National Restaurant Association will open the doors to its annual trade show this Saturday, May 18. Doesn't time fly by when you are having fun?

Just like at New Year's, I make it a point to have a resolution on what I am going to do while attending the NRA Show , otherwise I find myself wondering the halls aimlessly being pulled by vendors and lost in the sea of booths.

To define this plan, I try to assess where my business stands and examine where I want it to go; and I look at my customers' projects in a similar manner. The NRA show will have much to see no matter what you are doing or looking to do, it has everything from working on a new or retrofit design to developing an open kitchen. You can find ways to improve the efficiency of and the employees' experience working on a current production system or prep or line, or if you are just looking for ways to enhance customer service.

Don't forget also to visit the Kitchen Innovations Pavilion, where you can find the latest in equipment concepts the industry has to offer.

In my last post on scratch prep, I promised to take a deeper dive into the topic of labor. Before doing so, though, I am inclined to discuss solutions that relate to labor savings that you can find at the NRA Show.

Pressures associated with labor costs continue to mount on operators. As a result, managing this resource is critical in order for foodservice operators to succeed and drive the profits necessary to fuel growth. Not a day goes by that I don't end up discussing this topic with a client, either as part of a process re-engineering effort, or as part of an initiative to develop labor standards using one of the industrial engineering techniques in our arsenal, followed by the creation of labor guidelines. The reason that managing the labor line for a concept is so critical is that it is an annuity that will be with a concept year in and year out, making the present value of the cost very high. Any impact that can reduce the cost of labor reverberates very well in adding shareholder value.

I hope to see many of you at the show. I will be roaming the hallways, meeting with concepts, suppliers and other consultants. This year I volunteered for the FCSI's Ask the Experts booth, offering some advice on design to concepts. Maybe you can visit us at our booth (Labor Guru-Profitality) and learn a bit more about what these crazy industrial engineering and ergonomics topics that I am always writing about and the application of these principles and techniques facilitates the title of this column Foodservice by Design.

So much is going on that I find there are not enough days. This is why I make an NRA resolution to carefully plan to make sure that I maximize my time there and be as efficient as I can to pick up as much new knowledge as I can.

Have fun!