Predictions and projects for 2013

We gauge views from FCSI experts worldwide on the year ahead and consider their projects and challenges for the next year


 Gérard Wolbert FCSI

Will 2013 bring more challenges for the industry, or will it be more of the same?

We have to work hard to make it different. In our office we have already changed our strategy; starting to be more creative, more innovative and developing better products and services for our clients. My philosophy is: “If you want 2013 to be a better year, you have to make it happen yourself”!

What are you most focused on when it comes to your firm’s foodservice programme?

We started a new programme in 2011 about sustainable and healthy restaurants. It is very successful and we will start it in several cities all over the country. We also developed a special programme in hospitality, called Hospitality Institute. Within this, we can measure ‘human hospitality behaviour’. That means that we are able to make clear what the investments of organisations that want to improve their hospitality or service level actually produce.

Which issues will be pertinent to EAME and which for the entire globe?

This is an interesting question. In foodservice, more and more issues become global and not just local or divisional. We live in a global society and the challenges we are facing ask for global solutions. As a worldwide foodservice organisation it would be great if we could address worldwide problems like obesity. We tried once to get in contact with the WHO, but unfortunately did not succeed. I still hope that we can manage to talk to them in the future and see how we can help.

How can FCSI members continue to cater for a diverse customer base?

An FCSI member should focus on certain topics; be a specialist. Listen to your customers. Provide them with new, sparkling ideas. Be innovative, talk to your FCSI colleagues and work together with them.

Asia Pacific

Clara Pi FCSI

What foodservice projects will you be focusing on in 2013?

I published the first bilingual cookbook in 2010, called Saving Our Planet One Carbon Bite At a Time, where I introduced the concept of carbon emission of various foods. It looked at how the way we eat affects climate change, and describing low carbon cooking methods and the choice of local organic non-GMO food ingredients. In 2013, I am planning to work on my second low carbon cookbook, which will be all vegan recipes, focusing on the latest scientific evidence-based findings on the health and nutrition benefits of a plant-based wholefoods diet.

I will also be working on the renovation of an old 500-bed hospital kitchen (that receives cook chill food from a central cook chill CPU) to a cold plating site and at the same time to supply cold-plated meals to another 250 bed hospital.

What untapped opportunities do you see on the horizon in the foodservice industry?

The Chinese market is now interested in cook-chill and retherm technology, and there are lots of opportunities in technology introduction, facility design, and process control training sessions.

Rajat Rialch FCSI

What foodservice projects will you be focusing on in 2013?

We have hotel openings in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Dubai and Central Africa. These would be good stepping stones for us in new markets. We are bullish about Hilton Chad, Sheraton Colombo, Millennium Dubai and Hyatt Gurgaon in India.

What are your goals for the coming year?

We want our company to have about 40% revenues from international projects in the coming year, up from about 20% this year.

What untapped opportunities do you see on the horizon in the foodservice industry?

I think there would be a boom for the food service industry in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, and we are equally bullish about Africa. I think there will be a lot of opportunities in Africa in the coming years. Also I believe in developing nations the healthcare industry seems to be poised for growth too.

The Americas

Chris Tripoli FCSI

What foodservice projects will you be focusing on in 2013 specifically?

A’la carte enters its 17th year in 2013. My specific focus will be on international concepts entering the US market. We have provided concept development, operations and expansion assistance to restaurant clients in the Middle East, Mexico, Nigeria, and Canada as well as here in the US.

Next year we may have work with concepts from the Philippines, Argentina and Sweden. Specific projects include a fast food chicken restaurant group in Nigeria, an Argentine Steakhouse concept from Mexico, healthy sandwich chain from Sweden, and the creation of an “over the top” doughnut coffee house. You just have to taste the red velvet cinnamon twist and the pumpkin cheesecake doughnut!

What are your goals and objectives for next year?

They include expanding my impact on foodservice education. I plan additional courses on menu development, market trends, and management practices for the University Of Houston’s small business development centre. I will also welcome the addition of a new associate who was once an intern. Having them working full-time on projects allows me to expand our services in the guest service, staff training and customer research areas. This has been a short-term goal of mine.

What are the untapped opportunities for foodservice?

They may be found in concept extension. I believe the highest and best use of concept development in the short term will be found in the ethnic fast food and impulse market segments. It isn’t simply Korean barbecue but foods from specific regions that are being well received. Dessert concepts have gone from ice cream to yogurt to gelato and back to yogurt again. I see ethnic bakeries and coffeehouses and an untapped market that requires reasonable investment, low labour and operating costs, and can produce above industry-standard profit margins.

Rudy Miick FCSI

What foodservice projects will you be focusing on in 2013 specifically?

We’re fortunate to have projects in the 2013 pipeline already. The great majority of our work is organisational/leadership and systems development focused. The focus comes from years of operations and skills that include fiscal management and strategic development, tied to profitable operations as a whole.

A short list of what we have in the pipeline now is:

1. Three growth projects already in progress, one in fast casual, one full service, and one in the resort industry: In both we’re evolving the leadership team in values driven decisionmaking, profit sharing, open books as well as, experiential training design/systems for managers and team members, management systems as a whole, organisational development to double the companies in size over the next 2.5 years.

2. With all the scare tactics of healthcare costs and commodity increases, a prime focus for us is to provide clients’ organisational structure and performance to increase sales and profits even when costs skyrocket. As listed in number 1, our work tends to be in growth and change management, I’d call it evolution of change. We’ll do this with every client we have.

3. We’re fortunate to have five other projects on the books right that will also blend all I’ve shared above and more.

What are your goals for the coming year?

I have four goals for 2013:

a. Software development of five of our management systems and communication tool sets. This will allow us to get to far more clients more affordably for those clients.

b. Create an ebook on some of our leadership and communication tools. The goal here is to share, with a far bigger population, communication tool sets that have impacted our clients’ lives and businesses positively.

c. Doing our own restaurant as a sustainable model for the US, scheduled to open in early-2014.

d. As a result of a – c, and more, we’ll double our revenues in 2013.

What untapped opportunities do you see on the horizon in the foodservice industry?

We have three really big opportunities:

a. No matter our areas of expertise, we celebrate and support this industry to be one of honor, trusted and critical to the communities in which we operate. We provide food, drink, and wellbeing. It’s time to step into our work with that covenant.

The two biggest opportunities are also, sadly, threatening to many folks in our world:

b. Sustainable IS the future; healthy IS the future. Aware and awake IS the future. The big catalyst here is to do these things because they are the right thing to do, not because we’re some victim being told to eat our vegetables. Tied to this, we have to figure out how to get organic or healthy to the table with less expense instead of more. This whole opportunity list is an ongoing dialogue we have to have. FCSI is ripe to be the organisation whose members lead the way in this work.

c. Business models that share profit and celebrate values and sense of Purpose are the future. The traditional “I’ve got mine, you go get your own” mentality of fundamental capitalism simply has no room to be sustainable; not if staff including managers are to have a living wage. And the other extreme, giving everything away, doesn’t work either. The really big opportunity for our industry is to shift managers from cops to coaches and management systems that guide instead of police. This gets us to clear performance, and inspired workers that share the responsibility of excellence at work. There’s real opportunity for those willing to do the work involved to define their business cultures/Brands in a way that staff perform out of inspiration instead of being policed. This topic is scary and thought of as idealistic to a fault. My vision and sense of opportunity is based on 30 years of building companies that already perform in this way. The fiscal results are nothing less than astounding. And from my experience, what I’ve just shared is still seen by many as sacrilege. So be it.


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