Rutter's Joins the Navy

Published in CSP Daily News

Convenience retailerjoins Navy, supermarket, university among FARE award winners

OAK BROOK, Ill.-- Fare magazine and the Foodservice at Retail Exchange (FARE) has announced the first-ever recipients of its Leaders in Retail Foodservice awards. The awards celebrate operators who lead their respective channels in innovative retail-foodservice programs.This year's inaugural Leaders in Retail Foodservice are Jerry Weiner, vice president of foodservice for Rutter's Farm Stores, York. Pa.; Steve Hammel, dining services programs manager for the Navy Region Southwest, San Diego; Byron Hanson, director of delis and food service for Lunds Food Holdings, Edina, [image-nocss] Minn.; and Ken Toong, executive director of dining and retail services for University of Massachusetts-Amherst."One of the best things about the Fare brand is the ability to introduce channel leaders to other foodservice professionals in different segments. Someone may be at the top of his or her game, influencing and inspiring peers and colleagues, while remaining less-known outside of that channel," saidAbbie Westra, executive editor of Fare magazine. "It was actually one of the reasons why we started Fare magazine and FARE: to connect the different channels of retail foodservice so they could better learn from one another."On Tuesday, June 29, of this year's FARE event, these four operators will be presented with the Leaders in Retail Foodservice awards, followed by a panel discussion of their challenges, opportunities and best practices. A profile of each of the winners will appear in the August issue of Fare magazine.
Jerry Weiner has more than 35 years of experience in marketing and operations in the foodservice industry for both convenience stores and restaurants. During that time he has participated in the development of prototype store formats for four different companies, including the R&D of a different proprietary foodservice program in each format.

Weiner has implemented national branded foodservice programs such as Subway, Quizno, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, TCBY and Nathans. He also owned and operated two deli restaurants and spent more than eight years in operations for both the c-store and restaurant industry. Prior to joining the Rutter's team, Weiner worked for many national chains, including MAPCO, National Convenience Stores, 7-Eleven and Marriott, as food and beverage director.

Under his direction, the Rutter's chain has embraced the latest foodservice technology to create efficient operations, including induction cook tops and customizable, touch-screen ordering systems. Rutter's stores are well-oiled machines, working on a cook-and-hold system that allows for speed and efficiency along with freshly finished products. Unique food offerings at the c-store chain include made-to-order stir-fries, "pig tails" and complete comfort-food meals. (Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)Steve Hammel has an extensive hospitality and operational management background achieved over 30 years. Prior to his current position, he was responsible for retail quality assurance for Starbucks Coffee Co., developed food and beverage operations for Disneyland's California Adventure, and helped shape the food and beverage operations of major hotels including Marriott.
Today, Hammel, an IFMA Silver Plate Winner, heads an operation that has annual sales volume of $40 million and serves approximately 2.5 million retail customers a year. The first and only private-sector civilian hired for his position, Hammel is responsible for 50 retail units that serve 30,000 meals a day and 12 galley operations that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to more than 900,000 enlisted personnel every year. In addition, Hammel manages a staff ofapproximately 1,300 full- and part-time employees.
Since Hammel assumed the position as program manager five years ago, overall sales have increased 2% each year. These gains were in part due to Hammel's aggressive and decidedly commercial approach to operations, marketing and merchandising, from a loyalty program to more diverse and nutritious food options. During his tenure, utilization of Hammel's operations has increased 44% and the cost of goods was reduced by 5%.
Byron Hanson oversees the deli operations and foodservice for Lund Food Holdings Inc., which operates 21 Lunds and Byerly's supermarkets in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Prior to joining Lund Food Holdings in 2000, Hanson was a regional manager at Marketplace Foods, a division of Dayton-Hudson-Marshall Field's Department Stores. For nine years, he owned his own restaurant and was instrumental in developing the Dining a la Heart program, which was later adopted by the American Heart Association.
Since joining the company, Hanson has focused on developing new and existing business segments into signature categories of differentiation and distinction in the marketplace. When a new Lunds opened in 2005 near downtown Minneapolis, the deli was reinvented and featured a heavy emphasis on prepared foods to meet the needs of the busy urban lifestyle.
This year the company's Golden Valley Byerly's store was remodeled, and Hanson played a lead role in developing a new, innovative foodservice concept called Byerly's Creations, which features an array of self-service and chef-driven, made-to-order hot and cold foods. More than 12 food concepts are featured in the area, which has a separate checkout and entrance from the rest of the store.
Ken Toong has been the executive director of UMass Dining at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for the past 11 years. UMass Dining Services is the third-largest campus dining operation in the country with 14,500 students on the meal plan and annual revenue of $60 million.
Under his leadership, Toong has transformed the UMass Dining Services into one of the most talked-about foodservice programs in the nation. Toong is a strong believer in continuous improvement and always putting students first. He focuses his foodservice programs on global eating and smart dining. More than 15 world cuisines are offered to 45,000 customers daily, with a big focus on "stealth health." Further, UMass Dining serves only sustainable seafood, and in 2009 25% of produce came from local farmers.
During Toong's tenure, UMass Dining has been the recipient of 18 national awards. In 2009, he was named Food Service Director of the Year and one of the "Faces of Massachusetts Agriculture." Toong is also the founder and chairperson of the Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference for college culinary professionals, now in its 14th consecutive year.
The Foodservice at Retail Exchange will be held June 28-30 at the InterContinental Chicago O'Hare, Rosemont, Ill. For more information and to register, visit www.foodserviceatretail.com.