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Pandemic trends drive changes in foodservice equipment needs

As the “mass feeding” model recedes due to cultural and COVID-related forces, the types of equipment operators look to are seeing a shift.

The COVID era changed many things in the onsite dining universe, some temporarily and some pretty much for good. Among its impacts has been the acceleration of pre-existing trends toward decentralization, remote ordering, delivery, automated points of service, take-away and customization. Most of these require some form of rethink in terms of equipment needs, space allocation and production strategy.

In effect, the pandemic simply moved up the timetable for the waning of onsite dining’s mass feeding era as even traditional bulk feeding environments like K-12 school cafeterias move toward a more disseminated approach to meal service. Meanwhile, in the business and industry and higher education markets, trepidation about the dangers of too many bodies in one space combined with customer preferences for convenience and expanded access have reduced the role of the traditional “lunch rush” (and dinner rush in colleges) as central to the dining program, perhaps permanently.

All this has impacted demand patterns for equipment and infrastructure. Here are some developments driving the trend…

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