When we were in Orlando for The NAFEM Show 2019, we certainly had some fun. We have a feeling, we're not the only ones.
If you saw what we saw, you weren't outside "soaking up the sun" but were walking a floor filled with innovations, new products, and solutions at a rate we haven't seen in the last few NAFEM Shows. As they say, "every day is a winding road," and before the end of this blog, we're going to see how many Sheryl Crow song references we can include.
Actually, we're going to take it one step further and let you know what we learned about foodservice equipment from Sheryl Crow. So let's get started.
"IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY"
Well, just being with all our foodservice friends makes us happy, but what really matters are the customers of foodservice operations. Now more than ever, customers are driving foodservice trends, and we're seeing equipment manufacturers follow suit by making it easier to deliver those trends. Transparency, customization, you name it. There are new things making us happy every day in foodservice.
"A CHANGE WOULD DO YOU GOOD"
One thing we saw in Orlando was an effort to be more sustainable, both on behalf of operators and in consumer menu preferences. Look no further than last year's eco-friendly straw trend to understand what we're talking about. Beyond that, though, diners are looking for more plant-based options and operators are looking for new ways to reduce food waste. Innovation, training, and commitment are the ways it's going to happen.
We're only as strong as our weakest link, right? That's so true in foodservice, where we're experiencing labor challenges right and left. It's hard enough to find good staff, but once you do, keeping them can be even harder. As a result, equipment has to be easy to use and perform multiple functions within the same space. We certainly saw a focus on ease-of-use at The NAFEM Show 2019 in just about every aspect of foodservice equipment and supplies.
"THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST"
More and more entrepreneurs are breaking onto the scene for the first time, as mobile, micro, and niche providers have a smaller barrier of entry into the business. Startup costs and other traditional hurdles are both being lowered. From the enormously popular food hall trend to ghost kitchens, we can help these operators achieve success by rethinking the tools they'll need to be successful.
ENCORE: "MY FAVORITE MISTAKE"
Normally we don't like ending with a mistake, but in this case, it seems appropriate. Especially when you consider mistakes can be fixed moving forward. For too long, a staggering percentage of students across the country cannot afford proper nutrition and suffer from food insecurity issues. When you look at the trends, there's help on the way. Now more than ever, it's easier to deliver nutritious breakfast to students in the classroom. On-campus food banks are a reality. And our equipment solutions can help make it happen.