Trends

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

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The introduction of Revit to the foodservice industry has drawn some natural comparisons to other computer-driven tools, namely AutoCAD. These tools are similar in that both allow foodservice designers to use a computer to develop detailed kitchen drawings, and upon their introduction to the foodservice communities both were perceived as relatively new technologies that required training.

When it comes to sustainable foodservice equipment, there's been plenty of discussion about energy- and water-saving items. But what happens to foodservice equipment at the beginning and end of its service life and how the manufacturer creates, ships and, in some cases, renews or recycles is just as important in the sustainability discussion. Those points in between — and we don't just mean cooking and operating — count.

Some basics on the challenges of international expansion.

iPads and tablets are taking restaurants by storm and improving efficiencies

Successful menu innovation means getting more out of existing resources and minimizing waste while providing customers with high-quality dining options regardless of the foodservice segment.

These operators continue to leverage small yet efficient footprints to serve multiple dayparts. Most people would associate a menu containing gourmet deli sandwiches, grilled items and from-scratch pizza with a family-style restaurant or quick-service operation.

Hotels are placing a renewed focus on food and beverage sales. This is because the segment has discovered that a distinguishable restaurant is a draw not only for overnight guests but also for locals. In other words, it’s a win-win.

Competing in the crowded pizza segment is a challenge for any restaurant, let alone a retail convenience store chain. Yet, Casey's General Store, a 1,600-store chain based in Ankeny, Ia., has more than competed — it has thrived.

An engaged and cooperative supply chain can go a long way toward helping foodservice operators function in a more effective and efficient manner. Cultivating a collaborative environment that allows this to happen requires clear and consistent communication and all parties understanding and executing their roles.

When it comes to energy-efficient griddles, the energy-efficient part really varies by operation and need. "Griddles are heavily cost-driven and it's difficult to justify the strategies that make them more efficient," says David Zabrowski, director of engineering at the Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) in San Ramon, Calif.

Just about everything at Milwaukee’s Iron Horse Hotel has a story attached to it. The 100-year-old warehouse it inhabits was initially built for a bedding company and then became home to a box company in 1927 and finally was transformed into a cold storage facility from 1955 until 2005.

Although in the convenience store business since the early '60s, family-owned Rutter's Farm Stores started as a retail dairy operation in the 1920s. Now with 56 stores in five south-central Pennsylvania counties, the chain has distinguished its operations with an extensive foodservice offering.

Just five years ago the availability of sustainability and other cost calculators was scarce. These days, though, the scope of calculators has grown exponentially, ranging from calculators for specific equipment types to others designed to determine energy, water and total life cycle cost savings. They’ve also become more accurate.

While at first it may seem daunting from a labor perspective, it is possible to cater to consumers' needs around the clock through careful plan development and equipment selection, as these non-commercial operators have shown.

Even though the Heathman Hotel and Heathman Restaurant and Bar are two different businesses, the operations are symbiotic.

Here is the story about how Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a multi unit operator, renovated its iconic French restaurant in Chicago to create a hipper and more updated location with strong ties to its culinary roots.

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