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Blog Network

jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

All Hail the Food Hall

Beyond the varied menu and service styles, food halls often feature a retail component, which allows customers to take a portion of their experience home to enjoy later.

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jMartinez
Juan Martinez

Is Supplier Consolidation Good or Bad?

The foodservice equipment and supplies industry has experienced a significant amount of consolidation of late. In fact, during the month of June, FE&S reported on four dealers buying five different companies. Rapid consolidation like this can make one wonder: If this keeps going on, will there only be one equipment supplier standing? Read more...

jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

This Week in Foodservice: Restaurants a Bright Spot in Declining August Sales, Higher Menu Prices Slowing Lunch Traffic, Consumer Shift Toward Smaller Chains

Weekly news that’s worth another look: While retail sales declined in August, restaurants were a bright spot; The NPD Group says higher menu prices are a factor in slowing lunch traffic; the spread between grocery store prices and foodservice prices continues; consumers may be shifting from major chains to smaller chains and independents.

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Highlights

Says Who? - Cris Gross, regional manager & equipment Sales, Stafford-Smith, Inc.

As FE&S’ 2009 DSR of the Year, Cris Gross has a reputation for excellence in both relationship-building and equipment knowledge. A Traverse City, Mich. native, Gross started off as a teenager washing dishes in restaurants around town, quickly moving up the ranks to beverage director and general manager. Staying in his hometown to build a family and his career, Gross later joined Kirchman Bros., an equipment dealership where he again moved up the ranks to run the Traverse City sales territory. Stafford-Smith bought out the small, family-owned business in 1999, and Gross stayed on to continue growing the upper Michigan territory.

sayswho_background Cris Gross

FE&S: You have three children. Would you encourage them to work in this business?

Cris Gross: Yes! I think sales is one of the most underrated professions and the foodservice industry is both loyal and exciting.

FE&S: Who was the person that influenced your career most?

Cris Gross: Jordan Byron who I worked for early in my career. He was incredible with people. He was kind to everyone he met and I always admire that quality in people.

FE&S: What aspect of your career gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

Cris Gross: I love the rare opportunities I get these days working with small independent operators, churches adult foster care facilities, etc. These are the folks that don’t always know equipment and layout as well as some of my other customers. I get a huge charge out of walking them through my layout, selecting equipment together and delivering them a beautiful new kitchen. When you can deliver them goods and services that far exceed their expectations, they are more appreciative than the customers I see day in and day out. It’s a great feeling.

FE&S: Any interesting hobbies?

Cris Gross: I love to take my kids fishing any chance we get. My family and I also love to travel and discover this great country of ours.

FE&S: If you were not working in foodservice, what would you be doing?

Cris Gross: I’d like to think I’d be in the "left seat" piloting a corporate jet!

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