The time it takes Mother Earth to go from summer to fall never varies by more than a few hours every year. Yet, how many times have we remarked or heard someone say that summer just ‘flew by’ or that ‘winter is coming too quickly’ this year? As the old adage reminds us: Time flies when you're having fun!
The major conference and show activity of which we onsite foodies partake every year occurs roughly between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. Indeed, our ‘seasonal bookends’ are the ASHFSA Conference in early June and the Food Management IDEAS Conference at the end of October. Here's a quick retrospective and one more perspective on why the IDEAS Conference offers a fitting end to the season.
For several of the onsite conferences this year it was celebration time as they marked anniversaries and other noteworthy milestones. The 41st ASHFSA Conference in Las Vegas proclaimed record attendance and the 25th anniversary of their business partner exhibits.
Speaking of record attendance and anniversaries, nothing was bigger or more exciting this year that NACUFS's Golden Anniversary in our nation's capital. It was quite a week, with FM enjoying its most-attended FM Live! event to date. Be sure to visit FM's Website for some photos of all the fun.
After NACUFS we journeyed to America's birthplace for the summer's largest onsite foodservice conference, the SNA annual gathering in Philadelphia. Providing sustenance to our nation's children in economically and politically-challenging times remains an important issue for both operators and industry.
The successful school foodservice meeting gave way to the 29th Annual SFM Conference in Austin, TX. The business dining segment has been particularly affected by this season's volatile economy, but you'd never know it by the creativity, resourcefulness and enthusiasm of all attendees on display in the Lone Star State.
Next up on our agenda was the HFM Conference, which enjoyed record attendance and marked their 20th Anniversary at the magnificent Homestead Hotel in Hot Springs, VA. Certainly a key highlight for FM there was our chief editor John Lawn receiving the coveted HFM President's Award. Well done, John!
So here we are in October, with the 2008 conference and show circuit nearing its end. It's time to bring all the onsite markets together for FM's Annual IDEAS Conference. We're back in one of the world's pre-eminent culinary destinations of Las Vegas at the Red Rock Hotel from October 28-30.
We hope you'll review the agenda on FM's website and plan on attending. It will be a great opportunity to interact with our outstanding speakers, chefs, and panelists. You'll also be able to network with your peers from other onsite foodservice channels, and gain valuable insights on how to thrive in an uncertain economic environment.
Postscript: As quickly as our ‘bookended season’ seemed to fly by, we did slow down for a day in June to mark the untimely passing of our dear friend and colleague, Mary Hofer. Mary deeply loved the restaurant industry — particularly the onsite foodservice marketplace. She encouraged and inspired all who came to know her, and will be remembered most for unselfishly giving of her time, energies, and talents in the pursuit of creating and sustaining a lasting sense of community among all industry channels.