At VantagePoint, we like to live out the “insight” aspect of our brand — actively pursuing the perspective and expertise of the people we’re targeting on behalf of our clients. For many of our food and equipment clients, “foodservice directors at non-commercial facilities” end up on the target audience list each year. So why not go straight to the source?
Several members of the team recently enjoyed a morning with Keith DeMars, a member of our Foodservice Advisory Board who has 35 years of foodservice experience behind him in a variety of settings — from luxury hotels to prisons to a large hospital system. We all learned a lot about the nuances involved with decision-making for non-commercial kitchens (specifically those in hospitals), and I’d like to share a few highlights:
- Have you heard of The Egg? Keith has been predicting such a change would be coming for years, but as of this summer, The Culinary Institute of America opened a new student dining venue that features cutting-edge food options while also serving as an experiential classroom supporting classes like High-Volume Production Cookery. What does this mean? More and more chefs will be trained to wow in fine dining and non-commercial kitchens alike. As this becomes more mainstream, it’s likely we’ll see a shift in the types of food and equipment sourced for these high-volume kitchens.
- Since we work in the foodservice industry, we can sometimes overlook the outside influences that can both positively and negatively impact goals of selling food and equipment. For example, as healthcare facilities invest in Electronic Medical Systems (costing them millions of dollars), capital budgets are diminished and generalized, putting foodservice equipment up against medical equipment like MRI machines. In the battle of ROI, foodservice needs don’t always make the cut. However, when the investment in equipment becomes necessary due to breakdown or growth, it’s more important than ever that you’re top of mind in this tight window.
- We all know that cost is important, but one equipment trait of interest to buyers in this space that seemed to come up several times was ergonomics. In a high-volume setting, employees are experiencing a lot of repetitive motion, and even what seems easy can begin to wear on them a few hours into their 8-hour shifts. Even seemingly small ergonomic advantages are worth highlighting.
This is just a small sampling of the great information shared during our most recent Q&A session — all of which will inform the recommendations we make going forward. As always, thanks for your time and input, Keith!