Opinion: Be Part of the Foodservice Evolution

By
Kay Segal, Senior vice president, trade relations and conference education

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Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” This quote by John C. Maxwell, an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker and author, is truer today than ever before. And nowhere is change more inevitable than within the foodservice arena.

Food culture in America is evolving, with baristas showing up in c-stores and better-for-you foods finding their way onto the menus of fast feeders.

And we’ve heard it for years: Consumers are increasingly time-starved, seeking convenient yet high-quality, tantalizing meal, snack and beverage solutions. They want satisfaction now, and they don’t care where it comes from as long as the option provides craveability, quality and value. They will purchase food and beverages where it is most convenient, safe, healthy and efficient, regardless of channel or location.

This is the new playing field of foodservice. And CSP, via our FARE conference, is responding with the information, technology and insight that allow all foodservice operators the opportunity to thrive.

FARE, the Foodservice Evolution, invites all foodservice channel players to learn how to serve this on-the-go, informed and discerning diner. At FARE, to be held June 16-18 at the Gaylord Texan near Dallas/Fort Worth, executives from every facet of foodservice will make key contacts, find tools and resources and gain a broader understanding of how to stay in the game.

With research from numerous sources drawing attention to the fact that more people—both millennial and boomers— are living alone, foodservice operators and retailers have an increased opportunity to satisfy a need while growing market share and profitability.

And research from all channels tells us that consumers want more options. “Consumers say they would visit convenience stores more often for prepared foods if those foodservice areas were improved upon. Customizing their offerings and a more appealing decor and atmosphere could enhance the experience,” says Donna Hood Crecca, senior director of research firm Technomic. According to a study by Acosta Sales & Marketing, 27% of shoppers come into a supermarket solely to pick up a prepared meal, and retailers need to meet the “increasing desire for convenient, healthy and economical prepared meal solutions.”

Speaking of research, our FARE agenda is packed with insights from many leading authorities. One unique session is titled “Reliable Data, Actionable Ideas.” Within this session, Jack Cushman, executive vice president of foodservice for Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, will partner with Drew Hanks of Cornell University to share research that has helped Nice N Easy maximize sales opportunities in foodservice by incorporating specific tactics related to product, portion and delivery mechanisms.

In the battle for share of stomach, all food venues are both friends and foes. FARE is redefining and reinventing how suppliers and operators look at the industry by taking a “total” approach to all foodservice channels: commercial, noncommercial, nontraditional and traditional, including fast-casual and quick-service restaurants.

FARE is responding to the redefinition and reinvention of the consumer eating experience. Check out our robust speaker and course lineup at www.fareconference. com. We’ve greatly invested in our educational sessions, offering more than 20 hours of breakouts covering marketing, trends, brand building and supply chain, to name a few. Our Culinary Competition returns in 2014. (See photo at left from last year’s.) And we’ve added marquee speakers who will touch on leadership, culinary creativity, innovation and perseverance, including Chef Robert Irvine; Capt. Mark Kelly and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; Glenn Backus of Topco Associates; and former President George W. Bush as our closing speaker.

The bottom line: Change, as Maxwell reminds us, is inevitable. It’s how we approach change that will determine how successful we are, in our personal and business lives.

Ensure your success by planning to attend FARE, the best foodservice conference in America.

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