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.
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.
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.
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.