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Foodservice Equipment and Supplies for Reopening

Foodservice Equipment and Supplies for Reopening

As the vaccination distribution begins to ramp up, you're looking towards reopening your restaurant or foodservice business. However, you want to do so safely, and you know that Americans will always look at safety differently in the wake of COVID-19. This makes it an ideal time to create a plan for additional safety along with a list of the equipment and supplies you're going to need to reopen with safety as your main focus. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Grab & Go Kiosks

Whether you're offering up hot or cold items, these grab-and-go kiosks keep cold items cold and hot food hot. There are several styles and sizes to choose from. You can select a kiosk that comes with shelves above the main heating and cooling section for items that don't need climate control, such as chips, pretzels, or fresh fruit. These shelves can also increase impulse purchases as the customer grabs a bag of chips to go with their cold soda or hot sandwich. You can even have your company name or logo printed on the side.

Mobile Food Carts

Similar to the grab-and-go kiosks, these mobile food carts make it easy for you to offer both hot and cold food offerings except they have wheels to move it where it'll attract the most customers. You can choose among a variety of laminate colors to complement your company logo. The mobile food carts can include custom graphics to use as an advertising source. The cabinets open easily to making cleaning or draining melted ice a snap. A shelf at the end of the cart is a great location for napkins, condiment packets, or plastic cutlery. 

Condiment Dispensers

Buying individual packages of condiments is too expensive unless you're offering to-go only options. Condiment dispensers are easier to clean than leaving ketchup or mayonnaise jars out for customers to use. You can easily fill the condiment dispenser and get back to the work you need to do. With dispensers, you can provide more condiment choices and more available products, so you don't spend a lot of time restocking. Also, dispensers help with portion control. You need to create a system for keeping the parts touched by humans hand cleaned and frequently wipe them down with a sanitizer but it's easier and safer than individual bottles. 

Clear Partitions

In order to protect both your customers and employees, you need clear partitions set up around your restaurant or food service area. You might put up a partition at the point of sale and in between tables and booths. Anything that you can do to keep different people from introducing their germs to others is a positive. When planning on installing clear partitions, you need to put a plan in place for cleaning and sanitizing them. This should become as second nature as wiping down the tables and seats between customers. 

Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipe Stands

Americans have become very conscious of keeping their hands clean and their surfaces sanitized. By installing either a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipe stand in your restaurant or foodservice operation, you can provide your customer base with extra peace of mind. Making these products readily available to your clients and customers helps to minimize the transfer of germs and other contagions. These stands are easy to set up and restock with supplies. 

Lakeside is dedicated to partnering with restaurants and foodservice organizations as they reopen safely to the public. We offer a full line of products and equipment to help you keep your company cleaner and safer for your clients and staff.

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How Foodservice Is Going Touch-Free

How Foodservice Is Going Touch-Free

One thing we all know for certain is that the current COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we look at foodservice and the restaurant industry. What many don’t know, though, is that 76 percent of consumers say it’s changed how they look at public behavior forever. This means many of the pivots and transitions we saw in 2020 are likely to still exist in 2022 and beyond.

One important pivot in food and beverage was the shift toward low-contact and touch-free dining. According to Modern Restaurant Management, 38 percent of people say they’re worried about touching things others have touched, while 28 percent say being near other people makes them nervous. Add them up, and it translates to low-engagement transactions creating consumer confidence.

So how exactly are foodservice operations and restaurants going touch-free?

ORDERING

It all starts with the ability to order, and thanks to mobile apps and online ordering systems, it’s getting easier and easier to navigate menus, make selections, and place orders. Even for in-person dining, reducing touch points can be important, and scanning QR codes to reveal menus is a great way to reduce the number of things a customer has to touch.

PAYMENT

This goes hand-in-hand with ordering, and most mobile ordering applications also include the ability to pay and add gratuity, as well. With technologies like Apply Pay, in-person diners can often just scan their phones to pay by credit card, which also reduces the number of things restaurant staff members have to touch.

PICK-UP

Pick-up is often the point in the transaction when the diner encounters restaurant staff or even other customers. This means it’s critically important to make sure everything is smooth and efficient. Counters need to be sanitized between customers, and technologies like pick-up lockers that can be open with mobile phones further enhance the touch-free concept. When customers pick up foods, this is also the time when they might pick up utensils and condiments. Touch-free carts and serving stations can help mitigate any potential dangers

TOUCH-FREE WILL ONLY CONTINUE.

Unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet, and even when we are, we suspect there will be a greater emphasis on sanitation, safety, and low-touch environments. There will still be customers who only want to push open the door. That’s it.

Lakeside can help you assemble the needed equipment for a touch-free foodservice operation.

Lakeside offers various COVID-19 product solutions. Let us help you find the best way to offer low-contact and touch-free dining. 

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The State of Our Food Supply

The State of Our Food Supply

From dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks to pursuing solutions that allow foodservice operations to stay operational, things have been increasingly challenging in the last year. At the very beginning of the pandemic, there were concerns about food shortages as it relates to processing and distributing our food supply, and those challenges continue in varying forms today.

Let's start back at the beginning when the national food supply was in possible jeopardy and was an unknown factor. Many people rushed to grocery stores to stock up for weeks and even months on canned and frozen goods. This left grocery shelves bare and consumers terrified for what was to come.

The industry that struggled the most during this period was the meat processing business.  With heavy staffing working in proximity, many processing staff members fell ill with the coronavirus causing many plants to close. Companies responded, though, and measures were put in place such as temperature scanning, social distancing, and increased sanitation. By June, meatpacking was back to operating at roughly 97%, as reported by WebMD.

While the initial scare put us in a world of uncertainty, we slowly began to find a balance. More resources were available, and shelves were less bare. What we learned was the importance of keeping staff healthy across the entire foodservice spectrum, from grocery stores to restaurants to delivery drivers to meat processing plants.

As the virus continues to sweep across the United States, many are now worried that the industry won't suffer from a supply shortage but rather a staffing shortage. Even with new regulations and rules set in place, extra cleaning, and additional precautions, people are still testing positive for COVID-19. 

Critical labor is being put at risk in order to keep our food supply functioning, leaving many questioning if their jobs are worth that risk. On the other end of the spectrum, many are still seeking jobs and a surplus of people are working from home, keeping grocery stores flooded with business. 

New solutions are popping up daily to help prevent the spread of the virus as well as assist in keeping operations functioning, and even in the initial scare, most weren't going hungry due to a lack of food supply. Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics reported the biggest vulnerability for food insecurity was due to the loss of jobs from lost income with collapsing prices and lowered market demand. 

While there's still concern over the potential changes in the industry as we continue to deal with the pandemic, for the foreseeable future food supply looks promising and reliable. 

For a full list of all available COVID-19 product solutions from Lakeside, we encourage you to visit our main COVID-19 Resources page. 

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Reducing Waste for Restaurant Delivery and Takeout

As a restaurant, it's important to offer convenient options for people on the go. Takeout is becoming increasingly popular, and that's great news for businesses and for consumers. However, it can also lead to increased waste. For this reason, it's important to maintain high sustainability standards. This will not only reduce your costs but will also increase your appeal to many of your customers and contribute to a healthier planet.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

From a financial perspective, this initiative saves a lot of money for your restaurant. On average, you'll have about $5,091 that you can put towards other expenses, or better yet, profit.

Of course, these practices are also much more sustainable when it comes to preserving our beautiful planet. Litter from take-out orders alone accounts for approximately 269,000 tons of plastic pollution in the earth's oceans. Furthermore, the majority of packaging we use every day goes into our landfills, which significantly increases our carbon emissions. Climate change is a major issue facing our society today, and we must do everything we can to improve our planet for future generations.

Lastly, you'll likely attract more clientele if you participate in initiatives that reduce environmental waste: A staggering 73% of consumers would definitely like to change their habits so that they can reduce their carbon footprint. This could potentially lead to more revenue for your business in the long run.

ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS IF THEY WANT NAPKINS WITH THEIR FOOD

This may seem like a small action, but it makes an enormous difference. Many customers would rather just use their own cloth napkins and reduce their waste. A majority of the paper napkins handed out in to-go bags are never even used. 

USE FOOD DELIVERY APPS THAT OFFER YOUR CUSTOMERS SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES

Food delivery apps such as Postmates, GrubHub, and UberEats allow your customers to indicate whether they'd like utensils or not. This is super convenient for everyone involved and it also reduces your environmental impact significantly.

You can also ask your clients what their preferences are. Perhaps you want to add a feature on your website that gives them the option to opt for no utensils, straws, or condiments. This initiative will help your restaurant reduce its environmental impact significantly.

LIMIT PLASTIC AND PAPER PLATES

Of course, you want your customers to have an amazing experience eating your delicious food, and sometimes that might mean providing them with paper plates. However, a lot of people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and would rather not use these items unnecessarily. Therefore, it's important to train your employees to ask your clients if they want plates or, better yet, avoid them altogether and save your restaurant some money.

You may want to sell reusable containers on your website or opt for biodegradable takeout boxes. Your customers will probably be attracted to your restaurant as a result.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS WHEN IT COMES TO BAGGING ITEMS

It's understandable that a lot of restaurants put takeout boxes into plastic bags: They don't want it to spill all over the place because this could lead to dissatisfied customers. However, it's important to ensure that you're only using one bag and ask your customers if they even want it. Many people are becoming increasingly aware of these sorts of things. You may also want to opt for paper bags instead of plastic ones because they are both recyclable and reusable.

Reducing waste isn't easy, but with a little more mindfulness we can all do our part to make the world a better place. These practices also reduce your expenses and attract loyal customers, so implementing them is well worth your time.

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The Ghost Kitchen Trend of 2021

Take Out Containers

Living in the digital age definitely comes with a lot of perks, especially when it comes to foodservice and what's known as the "ghost kitchen". In the last five years, apps like GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash have taken over the food industry. Offering convenience by taking away the long lines and busy hustle of sitting in a restaurant waiting to order, these apps have provided a simple way to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner without having to leave the comfort of your office or home. What more could you want?

Well, from an industry perspective, staying on par with the latest trends without having to take a loss to be a part of it is the goal. As consumers further move towards online orders and delivery services, keeping up without going into debt can be difficult for start-ups and older businesses. Fortunately, the ghost kitchen is offering a perfectly balanced solution to help you keep up with consumer's technology-savvy desires.

WHAT IS THE GHOST KITCHEN PHENOMENON?

Simply put, a ghost kitchen is a facility set up for delivery-only meals. It provides space to prepare and produce these meals so that online orders are successful without any snags or troubles along the way. Through ghost kitchen services, foodservice operators are able to expand their areas of service, focus more on seamlessly contactless methods of serving, and cut back on the costs of real estate.

PERKS, CONS, AND MORE

Ghost kitchens are dominating the food industry by honing in on a specific style of food or a particular cuisine. This allows kitchens to focus on multiple brands of an item, making it easy to reach customers looking for a specific dish while also taking advantage of the real estate market. Perks you can be on the lookout for are:

  • Cross utilizing products between brands
  • Quick launch phase
  • Cheaper than opening a brand-new location for each brand
  • Less equipment needed
  • Expand customer reach by taking advantage of a broader delivery area away from your permanent location

With any new business model, there are disadvantages. As ghost kitchens grow and work out all their kinks, here are the cons you might experience:

  • High competition due to an increased virtual food court
  • No walk-in traffic
  • Limits on your delivery service based on where that kitchen is located

As trends change and services such as ghost kitchens continue to rise in popularity, staying on top of the foodservice industry will also change. Ghost kitchens' rise in success comes from their ability to expand business in small increments. They allow you to reach consumers you may not reach otherwise and help you break into the delivery service movement that's taking over.

Following the odd year we had in 2020, consumers will continue taking advantage of online ordering and curbside pick up or delivery services. In 2021, we can expect that the ghost kitchen trend will grow drastically. It only takes somebody 66 days, on average, to form a habit. If we look at that from a delivery perspective, then the habit of utilizing quick service apps is already habitual.

For more information on how you can implement the ghost kitchen into your foodservice operation, contact us at Lakeside today. Our experts focus on manufacturing top of the line foodservice equipment as well as continuously monitor the latest industry trends. We'll be following the ghost kitchen trend through 2021, and we look forward to helping you make the necessary changes to do the same and to further assist in increasing the success of your overall foodservice operation.

Keep up with even more trends by watching our recorded webinar "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021".

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How Digital Tools are Transforming Foodservice

Chef Taking Food Inventory

Are you interested in improving efficiency, increasing output, and reducing food waste in your restaurant or other foodservice business? If you are, it may be time to get technical. That's right, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the foodservice industry.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, we owe many of the improvements in the production, packaging, shelf life, and safety of food to improved technology in the food industry. From drone farmworkers to robotic butchers, technology is impacting all areas of food production and distribution. For example, satellite imagery helps monitor weather patterns that can affect the timing of planting and harvesting. Farm drones pinpoint diseased crops so that pesticides can be applied precisely where they're needed instead of blanket bombing entire fields. Advanced packaging can improve food safety, increase shelf life, and help eliminate waste.

Going Green

Technology can even help your business go green. An app such as Copia can keep track of your food inventory to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. It will also help you reduce food waste by connecting you with local non-profits who can make good use of your surplus food.

After-school programs, shelters, and other programs will benefit from that surplus while you reap the tax benefits of your donations. Not only that, but you'll no longer be contributing to the 40% of American food that gets wasted each year. That's an important point for many customers, especially millennials and generation Z.

Sustainability is a major concern for many of these younger customers. They may even choose a place to eat based on it. Reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand with reducing food waste. So too does sourcing food locally, since it reduces the fuel and emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Not only is improved sustainability beneficial to the planet, but it also benefits your bottom line through lower food costs and an increased customer base.

Managing Inventory and Production Schedules

Use technology to help you with more accurate inventory management so that you always know what to order and when. You can also use it to manage your production schedule in order to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful overproduction. According to the non-profit ReFED organization, you can save thousands of dollars annually just by using technology to track and reduce waste.

Digital tools transforming foodservice is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

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Food As Medicine – An Intro Guide

Fruit and Medicine Bottles

If there's one thing we learned in the past year, it's that our health is the most important thing we have. And as we know, one of the most important aspects to staying healthy is eating a healthy diet. Yes, food is important because it helps us stay healthy.

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet year-round is key in keeping your immune system healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables give us many of the vitamins and minerals our body craves and prevents infections. While supplements can be useful, it's better to get what you need from fresh or frozen foods and not a capsule. Hospitals and senior care communities across the country know this, and that's why food is often viewed as medicine — food has the power to heal.

With cold and flu season in full swing, now is the time to do everything necessary to keep our bodies healthy and free from disease. Especially in the age of COVID-19, bodies need these six beneficial vitamins and ingredients:

Vitamin C

Your mother probably told you to drink your orange juice because it was packed with vitamin C, and you should always listen to mom. The simple reason it's so important is that it may increase white blood cell production, which helps to fight viruses, bacteria, and infections.

Foods packed with vitamin C include:

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli

Not only do these foods help boost immunity, but they're also great for maintaining skin and eye health.

Vitamin E

Not always thought of as the most common vitamin when boosting immunity, but vitamin E is a powerhouse. Packed with antioxidants, which help protect cells against free radicals, vitamin E is important for eye, blood, and brain health.

Foods full of vitamin E include:

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is super important in that it is anti-inflammatory and may help antibodies respond to toxins in the body. It's also fat-soluble, which means it's best to include healthy fats with it to aid in absorption.

Important for vision and cell division and reproduction, here are some common foods packed with vitamin A.

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Dairy products
  • Cantaloupe
  • Dark leafy greens

Iron

Iron helps support immune health. It is a key nutrient in helping develop white blood cells and mobilizing their response. Iron is also crucial to blood health and reproductive health.

Need more iron in your diet? Try these foods.

  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Turkey
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Canned tuna

Zinc

In order to produce new immune system cells, zinc must be present. Unfortunately for us, zinc is a mineral our body doesn't produce, so we need to get it elsewhere. It's typically found in shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster), but eating yogurt or chickpeas will also do the trick.

The thing about zinc is that you need it for healthy immune function, but getting too much of it can have the opposite effect and impair immunity.

Garlic

Garlic isn't used to just season food or give you stinky breath, but it contains a myriad of compounds to support immune system health. It has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase the production of T-cells. This superstar may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol according to recent clinical trials. Used throughout the ages to treat colds and infections, soldiers even used it in World War II to prevent gangrene.

The concept of "food as medicine" is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

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Why Restaurants Are Important to Local Economies

Restaurant Open Sign

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants are challenged as patrons shelter in place and local regulations ban many dining rooms from reopening. While restaurants have certainly demonstrated the adaptability required as they've pivoted to curbside service and delivery, there's no doubting the importance of in-person dining to both our community psyche and our local economies.

For starters, consider a recent study that says of all things consumers want to do in a post-pandemic world, going to a restaurant is the top item. In fact, 62 percent of all respondents indicated this is the first thing they'll do. While restaurants are great for our collective psyche, they're also great for the economy. Considering just the independent restaurants -- not chains or other types of operations -- the number of people independent restaurants employ in New York City alone is greater than the number employed by the entire United States aviation industry. The Independent Restaurant Coalition has cited these facts and others as part of their campaign to help local economies.

But why are restaurants so important to local economies? Let's take a closer look.

Employ Locals

When you consider the number of people required to run a full-service restaurant -- from bartenders to dishwashers -- and then you factor in the number of meal services per day, there's no denying the power of foodservice when it comes to employing people. According to the National Restaurant Association, more than half of Americans have worked in foodservice at one point or another, accounting for nearly 16 million people employed by the restaurant industry at any given moment.

This is a great reason to support local restaurants during the current pandemic. Whether it be carryout or delivery, or even in-person dining when available and as consumers become more comfortable, supporting our local restaurants is paramount to supporting our local economies.

The Supply Chain

Many restaurants put money into the local economy. From paying rent or property taxes to utilities, restaurants pump a lot of cash into the local economy. More and more, restaurants are taking advantage of local suppliers to create farm-to-table menus, and this is more cash that flows into the local community.

Restaurants will run to the local grocery store for emergency supplies, and their delivery drivers stop at local convenience stores for gas. Plus, most of the employees that they employ will spend their paychecks locally, pumping even more money into the local economy. Most restaurants use local banks for deposits, and this also helps to keep the economy flourishing. All across the supply chain and in periphery businesses, supporting local restaurants helps support the local economy.

A Sense of Community

Every town in America has that one pizza place where the little league teams go after games or the barbecue joint where all the locals flock to pick up goodies for tailgating before the big game. Most people enjoy going out for a meal with family and friends. It provides a sense of camaraderie and community.

There are always certain restaurants in any town that everyone knows. Not only do they know the place, they know the people who work there or own it. In some ways, the sense of community created makes the restaurant as important to locals as their own kitchens. Some towns are known as foodie havens, and this sense of community comes from all the local and national businesses in the area.

Tourism

Food tourism is a big thing. People will go out of their ways or even plan trips just to try a particular restaurant or dish. You aren't going to go to Atlanta without eating at the Varsity or to San Francisco without dining at the Fog City Cafe. A town with a thriving restaurant culture can become a tourist destination all on its own. Also, when traveling by car, people will choose to stay the night in cities with a lot of good restaurants. You may find that part of the reason a person returns to your local community is that they love eating at a specific restaurant. A good local restaurant can make a huge difference for a town of any size, especially for attracting visitors.

Supporting the local community foodservice establishments will be an important foodservice trend in 2021. Discover more trends in our recorded webinar "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021".

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2021 Trends Foodservice Consultants Should Consider

Sustainable consumption and healthy eating, along with climate change, are significantly influencing consumer choices.

 More than ever before, people want to know the source of their food, how healthy are its contents, and whether it has been produced, processed, packaged and distributed in a sustainable fashion.

This article from Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) quotes a report by the research firm Datassential indicating the climate crisis and a new generation of plant-based foods will impact our industry in 2020, and these are all trends that foodservice consultants should know.

Sustainable Food

The relevant questions for sustainable food are how much land is required, how much water are we using, and are we using too much energy in the production and processing of our food supplies?

Tastewise, a company that brings the power of AI to analyzing food trends, studied over two billion social interactions, more than three million online recipes, and the largest restaurant menu database available of 274,000 restaurants to conclude that, compared to a year ago, food sustainability is a high priority item for 23 percent more consumers. 

Customers are now placing greater emphasis on sustainable ingredients and resource-light production techniques like hydroponics, recyclable packaging, and the avoidance of plastic. Another notable fact is the emergence of vegetarianism and veganism as mainstream trends. 

Clara Ming Pi of FCSI says, "I am very pleased to say that, finally, the plant-based movement is here!" The adoption of plant-based foods has another motivation driving it: health consciousness.

Healthier Food Choices

It turns out that a meat-based diet is not only resource-intensive but also a contributing factor to health issues like cancer. 

"Our food supplies contribute to one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, and the foods that create the most greenhouse gases are the same foods that are contributing to many of our chronic diseases," Pi said. 

Thirty-nine percent of consumers' conversations about sustainable food also include references to the health benefits of various food choices. Another relevant statistic is that the sale of plant-based food in the U.S. has increased by 8.1 percent over the last year. 

"We see more healthy, sustainable and plant-based dining that tastes appetizing to a wider demographic than ever before," said Melanie Corey-Ferrini, CEO of 3.14DC Design and Consulting, an FCSI associate.

Technology and the Food Chain

The food industry needs to cope with shifts in consumers' preferences. Advances in technology enable production techniques like hydroponics. Technological advances also help the industry cope with the recent trend towards catering and takeout. Restaurant layout, kitchen design, and staff skills have to change to adapt to this emerging trend. 

"Think smart equipment, mobile technology like order/pay apps, and robots for foodservice tasks including delivery,” said Connie Dickson, a principal with FCSI associate member.

Taste Trends

FSCI reports the following shifts in U.S. consumers' taste preferences:

  • Trending regional flavors: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American.
  • Foreign foods in demand: Mexican Puebla Hot Pot (a chicken dish), Greek Manouri (a goat cheese), Indian Millet (an ancient grain), Tanzanian Mishkaki (marinated meat skewers), and Chinese Jianbing (street-food breakfast crepe)
  • Growing restaurant concepts: Chef-driven fast-casual, Farm-to-table, and Family-friendly
  • Emerging restaurant concepts: Dog-friendly, Upcycling, and Hyper-local
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Webinar: Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Webinar: Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021

Your world has been dominated by shifts and progressions, forcing the evolution of your operations. So how can you keep up?

After months of surveys, conversations, trainings, and research, we’ve identified 10 foodservice trends to help you rise into the new year.

You’ll learn:

  • The top 10 foodservice trends in 2021
  • How other businesses and industries are adapting
  • How to implement these strategies for yourself

Reserve your spot now!

Recorded Webinar