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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

Pipeline Prognostications for 2012

Our editor considers the 2011 IHMRS and the 2012 Forecast

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 2011 IHMRS in New York City. While the event has morphed somewhat over the years, I continue to find value in the opportunity to interact with reps and factories in their booths and the variety of people you encounter in the aisles and at the wonderful event hosted by PBA Reps.

Compared to years past, there was a unique sense of calm permeating the show floor. That's because for most members of the supply chain, their 2011 fate was pretty much determined before setting out their shingle in New York's Javits Center. For commercial operators, a strong December can certainly shape the outcome for 2011.

Given that most foodservice equipment and supplies professionals know how their 2011 will end, most of the dealers, reps and manufacturers I spoke with have turned their attention to 2012 and are wondering how the next calendar year will treat them. Unfortunately, 2012 is not a NAFEM Show year so factories and dealers will have to wait for 2013 for the biennial event to stimulate sales. (And I continue to hear from a variety of people that NAFEM's Trade Show Advisory Committee is making some strategic investments in this event with the intent of enhancing the value it delivers to attendees and exhibitors alike.)

Despite the fact that there is no NAFEM Show in 2012, foodservice equipment and supplies dealers seem poised to enter the year on reasonably solid footing. For example, 45 percent of dealers surveyed for FE&S' 2012 Forecast Study said their booked business for the coming year is ahead of last year's levels. That's an 11 percent increase compared to what dealers reported heading into 2011. Also, 37 percent of dealers indicated the amount of business booked for 2012 is on par with what was in their pipeline a year ago at this time, representing a modest 5 percent increase. All in all, it is encouraging to note that only 18 percent of dealers report a decrease in booked business for the next year heading into 2012, that's a 16 percent decrease compared to last year.

The business environment for foodservice operators will not be without its challenges, though. Only 33 percent of operators project an increase in their foodservice equipment and supplies budgets, according to FE&S' 2012 Forecast Study. In addition, 46 percent of operators project their E&S budgets will remain flat and 21 percent project a decline.

So what do you think 2012 will look like? I am interested in your thoughts and perspectives and how they compare to some of the data presented here. Feel free to drop me a note at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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