When it comes to foodservice fashion, I always think about the front of the house, specifically the tabletop. Proper tabletops help foodservice operators convey a certain fashion sense about their business, showcasing their style and helping shape the way they would like customers to perceive their restaurants.
That's because the tabletop serves as the visual representation of the of operator's culinary vision. It represents the epicenter of the interaction that takes place between customer and operator. Simply put, the proper presentation of the food helps create that emotional bond that so many consumers seek today when enjoying a meal prepared outside of the home.
It is with that in mind that we proudly present the winners from FE&S' 2012 Performance in Tabletop Awards (page 18). This year our judges recognized 13 tabletop installations across five different operator categories.
This year's winners have a unique fashion sense that allow the tabletops to naturally tie into their respective working environments, making them equal part aesthetic and service items. The winning entries also illustrate the art form that is creating a tabletop that presents the food in a proper manner and can endure the physical demands of being in a commercial kitchen environment.
The other fashionable aspect of the foodservice industry is anything green or sustainable. Some might go so far as to say green is the new black when it comes to foodservice. Many foodservice operators want to incorporate more environmentally friendly disposables into their businesses but their vision can remain obscured by the complicated terminology or the blatant greenwashing that still takes place. In our Green Tip this issue (page 58) contributing editor Amelia Levin cuts through some of that flak by explaining what to look for and how to specify biodegradable and compostable disposable items.
Also, be sure to check out this month's facility design project of the month (page 41), where contributing editor Donna Boss explores the way Catalyst took an environmentally friendly approach to creating a fashionable fine dining experience in Cambridge, Mass.
Of course, we all have some items that we may not consider to be fashionable but they are a standard part of our wardrobe, none the less. Replacement sales represent the one aspect of the industry that best fit this description. Many times I have been sitting in a restaurant with Maureen when a patron or a staff member will break a wine glass and she will chime in with, "Well, there's another replacement sale for a lucky DSR."
Replacement sales are a common part of the equipment equation, too. But unlike replenishing the stock of wine glasses from time to time, replacing a piece of equipment can be more complicated. That's because oftentimes operators will keep certain pieces of equipment for 20 years or more. And during that time, the product category continues to evolve, not to mention the operation's menu, service style and more. So making a replacement purchase is not always as easy or clear cut as it would first seem, which we explore in greater detail beginning on page 30.