Few foodservice industry events generate the type of excitement and anticipation that The NAFEM Show does. The mood at the event was undeniably upbeat as foodservice professionals from all industry segments came hungry for information and if they left unsatisfied, well, it was their own fault.
I had the opportunity to be a part of several wonderful panel discussions leading up to and during the show that covered a variety of topics. From the very candid CFESA panel discussion that covered supply chain relationships to the enlightening FCSI presentation on the way food trends are impacting foodservice design and equipment selection to a very candid Heatcraft-sponsored discussion about the successes and challenges associated with implementing sustainable practices to a far forward looking discussion about the kitchen of the future as part of a Y-Pulse breakfast, these discussions covered it all.
With that in mind, I would like to share a few lessons I learned during my trip to The NAFEM Show.
Service Matters: The savvy operators on our panels understand that regular planned maintenance is essential to ensure that the piece of equipment lives up not only to its productivity promise but that it also remains as energy efficient as possible.
There's No Substitute for Training: Operators who want to extend the service life of their equipment and deliver the best guest experience are making sure their personnel are properly trained on how to use these increasingly sophisticated pieces of equipment.
Flexible by Design: Operators are looking for equipment items that offer built in flexibility, allowing them to prepare more than one menu item and serve more than one day part. And they want these items to be easy to use and maintain.
Pride in Craftsmanship: While scratch cooking and made-to-order menu items are fast becoming the norm in the industry, many operators are taking those trends to the next level by exhibiting a tremendous pride in craftsmanship. In doing so, these operators are seeking tools that allow their culinary creativity and customer service skills to really shine.
What does it all mean? Well, the more the foodservice industry continues to change the more it remains the same. As they continue to evolve, operators' needs are becoming more complex, much like the palettes of the customers they serve. Yet, despite this increased complexity, when it comes to researching solutions there's simply no way to value engineer away the need to meet face to face, to experience products first hand and share experienced-based knowledge with your peers.
So you might attend The NAFEM Show to tour the show floor but if you fail to participate in the other countless educational opportunities available you are shortchanging yourself.