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Foodservice News

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jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

California Dreamin’: Looking Back on The NAFEM Show

Nothing brings out the best in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry quite like The NAFEM Show. For three days it seems everyone is in the best possible mood while hobnobbing beneath NAFEM’s biennial big top. The burdens of business challenges seem to fade to the background as various new applications of stainless steel, melamine and even china have everyone forgetting the past, even for a moment — because, to paraphrase one-hit wonder Timbuk3: their future’s so bright they’ve gotta wear shades.

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jMartinez
Juan Martinez

Give Me Labor Economics or Give Me Death!

Labor costs usually represent the highest, or second highest, expense as a percent of sales for a restaurant. As such, proper labor management plays a critical role in driving better unit economics for a foodservice concept. If you buy into this principle, continue to read, and if you don’t then it is more important for you to continue to read on.

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jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Casual Dining Sales Slow Down, the Sysco/US Foods Merger Continues to Draw Fire and More

Sales among casual restaurant chains slowed in March according to Knapp-Track. Job openings hit a 14-year high in February. Some states go on record opposing the Sysco/US Foods merger. An Oakland, Calif. minimum wage increase leaves some businesses unhappy. These stories and more in This Week in Foodservice.

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Highlights

Investment Optimization and The Operating Parameters

FIt is not enough to understand the six operating parameters that exist within any foodservice operations. Rather, it’s equally important to know how they relate to one another.

Juan Martinez, Principal, Profitability, Miami
Juan Martinez, Principal,
Profitality, Miami

Processes and procedures are very much intertwined with the people that actually execute them. At first glance, this may seem rather fundamental but there's more to it than meets the eye. That's because, while easier said than done, it's very important to balance the employees' capabilities – both mentally and physically – with the actual work they have to perform to deliver the brand promise. Any good foodservice design includes processes and procedures that are easy-to–follow and optimize the physical and cognitive aspects of the job.

Failure to balance employee capabilities with what the foodservice concept aims to deliver will result in an internal conflict that can compromise the customer experience and impede an operation's ability to generate that much-sought- after repeat business. The conflict can manifest itself in several ways, including lower food quality, service level or other areas of the experience.

Another important operating parameter is the place, or the facility layout, along with the work stations. One goal of any foodservice design is to create an environment that makes it easier for the employee to perform the duties that comprise their work content. This includes the way they use the foodservice equipment and related technology – also known as the platforms, another one of the operating parameters – to deliver the customer experience.

Equipment platforms can be great enablers of simplification and efficiency, as well as the quality of the experience and hospitality delivered to the customers. The key is to apply these platforms in an optimum arrangement and synergy with the other previously mentioned parameters; processes & procedures, people and place.

And as more concepts look to differentiate themselves from the competition, products and promotions represent a very critical factor in an operation's success. I would submit to you that during recent years, a significant number of foodservice operators have added menu items without deleting any of their older, slower movers.

Although it is very important to add menu items so the concept remains relevant and fresh in the eyes of the customer, it is equally as important to delete some to rebalance and simplify the operations. Doing so allows the crew to continue to deliver an optimum experience. Of course, not many foodservice operators seem willing to delete some out-dated or poor selling menu items.

Just like products, any planned promotion requires careful evaluation to make sure it fits well within the existing operating set up and with the mainstream of existing products and align with the flow of the existing production. In other words, a promotion that's too successful can fall out of synch with the remaining operating parameters and create a poor customer experience.

In my next post I will add a few more thoughts on the topic of products and promotions and discuss some of the considerations to optimally evaluate new products, in order to ensure that these efforts drive both sides of the investment optimization equation; profits and hospitality.

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