Chris Karssiens from Hoshizaki America, shares his thoughts on the Covid-19 crisis and the way it will change the foodservice sector
The impact of Covid-19 on the foodservice market has been devastating across multiple segments including restaurants, hospitality, c-stores, schools & universities, and in-office foodservice programs. Not only is business down across the board during the pandemic, but recovery will be slow as many restaurants will not be reopening. Due to the lack of demand stemming from high unemployment.
Reducing transmission through sanitation and cleanability is of the utmost importance right now. Hands-free door openers and touch-free dispensers are essential anywhere you have foodservice or self-serve beverage options. Foodservice operations are having to rethink and in some cases redesign both the back and front of the house in order to accommodate social distancing, PPE, take out, curbside or delivery services. Buffets and other self-serve food operations have disappeared for now and it is unsure how or when they will come back.
A better standard
Considering all the challenges, the foodservice sector has been adaptive and creative. People in general, but restaurateurs especially are resilient and innovative. We as foodservice equipment manufacturers must be the same. I believe we will see a lot of changes for the good that will help us create an even better foodservice standard.
For us as a manufacturer, the two main challenges right now are adjusting our business and production facilities to the decreased demand and forecasting the right equipment to meet the needs of our customers right now. Both of these simply take laser focused research and input from our sales channel partners to make sure we have the products, service and information all in a timely manner. We have made that our main objective the last couple months. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our dedicated customers, so we take the responsibility for equipment manufacturer very seriously.
A changed picture
I’m not sure that we want things to go back to the way they were. We are not making progress if we are staying the same. The foodservice sector will be forever changed by this pandemic – hopefully in ways that cause us all to innovate and deliver exceptional equipment that is easy to keep clean, reduces the risk of cross-contamination, and continues to consistently produce clean, clear ice. Restaurants may look different. Agencies such as NSF have put out new standards for this COVID-19 world. We need to take the lessons learned and apply them smartly.
This time has meant different things for different people – and all of it has been unsettling. I think we have learned to be grateful for what we have. And enjoy the time we have been able to spend with family.
Chris Karssiens is the senior vice president of sales & marketing for Hoshizaki America