Kitchen Equipment Wish Lists
For foodservice operators, attending industry trade shows is similar to a child visiting a toy store. When a child strolls through the store, they become wide-eyed with anticipation due to the seemingly limitless possibilities presented by the endless array of toys and games.
Foodservice professionals enjoy a similar phenomenon when attending industry exhibitions. While there, they have the opportunity to walk the aisles, view the shiny new equipment and supplies on display and, most importantly, let their imaginations run wild. You can see the gleam in the eye of an operator or consultant as they discuss the latest labor-saving or energy-efficient devices and imagine the possibilities for their facilities.
Unfortunately, that child in the toy store eventually has to go home, and they do so understanding that their parents’ financial resources are finite. In other words, they can only afford to purchase one toy. So, the child must push aside the disappointment associated with not being able to go on an all-out shopping spree.
Similarly, many foodservice operators have to return from trade shows to their places of employment where the harsh realities of limited space, resources and finances can serve as a wet blanket over their dreams. At that point, operators need to make some difficult, but informed, decisions about exactly what they can add to their existing operation, or which one or two new items they can introduce to support evolving menus.
As this scenario plays out for foodservice professionals time and again, they start to develop a bond with particular pieces of equipment. These items evolve into the epicenter of an operator’s kitchen and become the one piece of equipment that serves as an operator’s security blanket.
Exactly which item earns such elite status in the eye of an operator remains entirely personal, based on experience and perspective. To gain a better understanding of how an operator can form such a strong bond with their equipment, we asked a series of them which items are most important to them and why.
At first pass, the list of attributes operators value sounds cliche. But it’s not until you start exploring each operator’s unique views that you can begin to develop a more complete appreciation of their facilities’ nuances and true needs.
When working with customers, dealers and consultants need to take that extra step to make sure they understand an operator’s expectations when it comes to increasing yield from their ingredients. And operators can’t assume that their supply chain partners know exactly what they mean when discussing the need to reduce labor.
I came up with the idea for this article as a result of attending countless industry events and business dinners with FE&S Publisher Maureen Slocum. She always asks an operator what their favorite piece of equipment is and why. Maureen also likes to ask what piece of equipment they would invent given the chance. The answers Maureen received were always interesting and allowed me to understand an operator a little better.
Of course, running this article in this issue is bittersweet for me as it is Maureen’s last as publisher of FE&S . So while I can think of no better tribute than to run an article she inspired me to add to our editorial calendar, it is with some sadness that I wish her well as she pursues new endeavors. What’s topping my wish list you ask? Another publisher with Maureen’s passion for winning and for this industry.