I was reminded recently of an incident from earlier in my career. As a DSR for a broadline distributor, I was invited to participate in a focus group for a new product that Kellogg's was ready to release — individually wrapped Rice Krispie Treats. I gave the idea an unqualified thumbs down, with the reasoning that this simple recipe was one of the few things that any one of us could easily make in a restaurant or at home. I hasten to add that my thinking was influenced by the fact that this is one of the few recipes that I personally felt pretty confident about making.
Despite my vote to the contrary, Kellogg's, of course, went ahead and released what went on to become one of their best-selling snacks ever! The lesson learned was never to presume that you know best what your customer wants. There is no substitute for asking and listening.
For most of my 13-year association with FE&S, I have been quietly predicting the demise of the printed version of our directory as more and more people go online to find this type of information. As you can tell by the sheer weight of this latest directory edition, I was wrong again. It turns out that people really like the convenience of having the printed directory at their fingertips. We have learned by listening to our readers that many industry professionals keep a copy of our directory as a reference point throughout the year.
We've doubled down, making our FE&S directory the only complete printed guide to all North American foodservice equipment and supplies manufacturers.
Of course, in keeping with our general philosophy about content, we never try to dictate to our readers how best to consume it. We do bring you an exhaustive online directory of North American manufacturers, as well.
So, my bargain with you is this: you keep telling us what it is you want and we will continue to do our utmost to bring it to you in print, online, and in person. And I'll stop guessing!