Opinion pieces on the foodservice equipment and supplies industry from leaders and laymen from all aspects of the business, including dealers, distributors, design consultants and multi-unit operators.
A ground swell of hot new and innovative products helped generate a cool wave of optimism that washed over the roughly 20,000 foodservice professionals that attended The NAFEM Show. And the good news is that it appears as if the foodservice industry is ready to ride this wave of optimism toward its first year of real growth in quite some time, writes editor Joe Carbonara.
There's a question that will strike fear in the heart of any publisher. Whether it's imagined to have come from the mouth of some future toddler who asks it while offhandedly wiping out aliens inhabiting a 3D monitor forty feet away from the breakfast table with a casual sweep of his cereal spoon (note to aliens: don't visit earth, our children are prepared), or it comes from the mouth of some self-appointed television pundit who has somehow tired of discussing the future of healthcare and guns in America. Either way, for those of us in the magazine business this is a hypothetical question that gets our attention.
A growing number of foodservice operators are turning to off-premise service options to enhance customer convenience and increase sales.
If you're in the service industry and haven't felt the pinch, or at least heard about the changing landscape of OEM parts, then you haven't been paying attention. Non-OEM's are flooding the marketplace and service agents are often held hostage to take it on the chin as some manufacturers try to make up margin on the steep equipment discounts they offer to the dealer community.
Happy New Year and welcome to the 2011 version of FE&S magazine. To those of you who have been faithful readers of this magazine for years, we hope that you will appreciate the many changes and improvements that we have in store for 2011.
Foodservice equipment and supplies represent the cornerstone of the foodservice industry's continued growth and success. Simply put, they are the solutions that consultants and dealers provide their operator customers. And for foodservice operators, equipment and supplies represent the tools of their trade — those very items that allow them to continue to satisfy their customers' appetites for food prepared away from home. To help satisfy your hunger for product information, we present the FE&S 2011 E&S Directory.
When reviewing our media kit, people often ask us why FE&S continues to print a directory. The conventional wisdom of the day would seem to indicate that the Internet and the countless technological tools that it has inspired would have diminished the value of a physical directory. But the plain truth of the matter is that we continue to provide a comprehensive directory because you — our subscribing dealers, operators and consultants — have told us that this product is important to you and that you refer to it regularly. For that reason we continue to strive to provide you with the most comprehensive resource possible.
The following pages are packed with useful information, including an alphabetical product index, a categorical product index, a list of product sources and, of course, a listing of manufacturer contact information. This structure provides you with a fast and efficient way to find resources that meet the specific needs of your company or your customers.
Of course, the solutions to most foodservice challenges tend not to be of the plug-and-play variety. Rather, the challenges most foodservice companies face are often complex and require research and collaboration among trading partners to develop meaningful and sustainable solutions. And it seems to me that this trend will remain pervasive for quite some time.
For example, healthy dining is a topic that remains top of mind — both within the foodservice industry and among the consumers it serves. And many noncommercial feeders, such as healthcare operators and school foodservice providers, will look to claim their place on the forefront of the healthy dining movement. In doing so they will likely change their menus and potentially end partnerships they have with branded concepts in order to establish greater control of the products they provide their customers. A natural by-product of these steps could be a greater emphasis on scratch cooking, executed either on-site or centrally and delivered to satellite locations.
Transitioning an existing operation to this type of setup can be challenging even for the most seasoned foodservice professional, and the wise ones know this. This opens the door for individual members of the supply chain to really bring some value to the table. Facilitating a collaborative process that incorporates the various disciplines and expertise of other foodservice professionals — including many from outside your own organization — can help create a dynamic that spurs innovation.
Of course, for suppliers to do this, they will have to shelve their obsession with topline revenues and get closer to their customers. Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to attend the operator roundtables that took place during the MAFSI Annual Conference in San Antonio. One of my major takeaways from this experience was the fact that foodservice operators really want their supply chain partners to spend time in their facilities to help them develop collaborative and sustainable solutions to their challenges.
I hope you will use this directory as a tool to initiate a collaborative process to address your company's business issues or those of your clients.
Five years ago when I interviewed with Fritzi Woods, the owner of PrimeSource, for the position of vice president of operations, she asked me, "What is your business philosophy?" I was fortunate to have had prior mentors who challenged me to think about the world in that way. I was quick with my response. "It's only about two things: customers and products."