Members of the Society for Foodservice Management gathered in Austin, TX in mid-September for the group's annual conference and business meeting. Beginning with a presentation by Andy Ford, chief insights officer for Noble Communications, on how rapid cultural change is affecting foodservice markets, program content moved quickly through some of the most pressing issues facing B&I and contract management operators today.
Expert panels reviewed the latest in sustainability strategies, how mobile work forces and virtual office environments are changing the B&I environment, and how vending programs are evolving in response to demand for more healthful convenience products and corporate wellness initiatives.
In a popular session on “Triple E's (Energy, Efficiency and Equipment) Ricca-Newmark's Lenny Codenzio, LeanPath's Andrew Shakman, Hobart's Kevin Woods and PG&E's David Zabrowski offered insights into how technology is making all three of the E's easier to manage, with measurable returns to a foodservice operator's bottom line.
SFM announced several new ititiatives during its business meeting. Among them is a new, 2008 corporate productivity study it is conducting in conjunction with Corporate Dining Inc.'s FoodMark division.
The survey is designed to help quantify time and cost differences for employees who obtain lunch in an onsite venue as opposed to going off-site for meals. Participating members will be able to use the data to evaluate subsidy proposals, review comparisons and as a tool in the RFP process.
At its business luncheon and President's Banquet, the organization presented a series of awards to SFM members who have made major contributions to SFM over the past year.
The annual Spirit Award was given to Hollie Wooldridge, Basic American Foods; the President's Award went to Ron Ehrhardt, Canteen Corp.; Steven R. Follett of Follett Corp accepted the Richard Ysmael Distinguished Service Award; and Thomas Newcomb accepted SFM's Leadership Award on behalf of Corporate Dining, Inc..
In other special presentations, Hobart-Traulsen's Richard Hynes was awarded the Robert Paacifico Above & Beyond Award and Mary Hofer was remembered posthumously with an SFM Lifetime Achievement award.
The final evening's event included the return of “Taste of SFM,” showcasing the talents of SFM member chefs.