Trends

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

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Updating an existing concept can be as exciting as it is challenging. In order to generate the right return on investment, it is important to understand what’s driving the need for change and how that impacts customer expectations.

Thanks to consumers' interest in healthier and portable foods that can be eaten on the go, the juice-bar segment of the foodservice industry continues to prosper.

Thanks to a focus on value and convenience, the B&I segment seems poised for a comeback.

Many foodservice companies are searching for innovative ideas but the easiest one to implement may be creating a greener operation.

Five foodservice professionals share their thoughts on what individuals and companies need to do to cultivate the next wave of talent that will propel the industry forward.

Americans' growing taste for Mexican-inspired cuisine continues to drive this foodservice segment to new heights, despite a challenging business environment.

For a gourmet meal, head on over to … the food court?

Battered by the recession and competition from non-mall retailers, shopping centers are trying to attract customers with a decidedly upscale culinary hook.

Burger joints and smoothie shops are giving way to sushi bars and churrascarias. Flatware is replacing plastic utensils. And forget grungy cafeteria seating with the sticky table tops and fluorescent lighting. Now customers are chowing down in Wi-Fi-equipped patios with lush landscaping, waterfalls, fireplaces and city and ocean views.

Years ago, Steven Polen, 59, would have never ventured to a mall to eat. But he recently headed to Westfield Century City just to have lunch at its food court, now called the “dining terrace” following a posh makeover.

The notion of designing a smart kitchen is not a new one. What is new, though, is how the evolution of foodservice technology affects the way the industry defines a smart kitchen today.

Value engineering is a term that both design and MAS consultants either fear or shun. But for designers who specify foodservice equipment, value engineering represents an unfortunate reality, and one they may have faced to a greater extent in the last couple of years because of a damaged economy that has resulted in tighter than normal budgets.

Eric Norman of MVP Services in Dubuque, Ia., however, has a solution for this issue that has worked well for him in assisting foodservice operators from all industry segments. Known as single-source and pick-three specification, it's an approach that Eric's father Ed taught him, and it is something other consultants might use, too.

During the past 12 months, the concept of scheduled maintenance has become more popular among foodservice operators. This is likely due to the challenging economy, which has operators from all industry segments trying to maximize the service life of the foodservice equipment in their kitchens. While the renewed interest in scheduled maintenance is good, it’s equally important for the operator to see this as a value-added program and not a necessary evil.

As foodservice operators examine their expenses, they are using total cost of ownership to help make purchasing decisions that generate a higher return on investment.

High-volume operators use tray lines to make up many meals at once and to clean afterwards.

Changes in consumer dining patterns have lead foodservice operators to update the way they purchase supply items like paper goods, flatware, china and the like. As a result, dealers have had to alter their approach to serving their customers.

As the sandwich concept continues to grow in popularity and variety, operators require foodservice equipment to support prep and holding tasks specific to their menus.

Just like their parents, children in the U.S. have expanded their food repertoire.

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