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Foodservice

7 Highlights From Day 1 of the FARE Conference

Store design, foodservice strategy and ... who let the dogs in?
Photo by W. Scott Mitchell

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Winsight’s FARE Conference began just outside Dallas on June 20 with a morning of educational forums and a general session that featured a psychological review of employees, “green” merchandising ideas and an introduction of the CARRE charity focus on Folds of Honor.

Here are seven highlights from day one of the conference, which continues through Wednesday, June 22, at the Gaylord Texan Resort.

1. Send a Message

During an educational forum titled “Food Forward C-Store Design,” Technomic’s Donna Hood Crecca said convenience-store retailers could breathe a sigh of relief that they don’t have to make all their food to order to communicate that they have fresh, high-quality food. Research done with design firm Chute Gerdeman found that showing a variety of grab-and-go packaged foods and offering a bright food and dining atmosphere can evoke such attributes.

2. Cues and Colors

What’s more, a foodservice program’s layout and design is more telling than just cleanliness and freshness of food. It also can communicate to customers speed of service. If you want your customers to sit down and stay awhile, use slow cues, such as wood accents and warm colors, said Lynn Rosenbaum, vice president of retail environments for Chute Gerdeman. On the other end of the spectrum, bright colors, stainless steel and design elements such as stripes on the floor and ceiling convey a more grab-and-go message.

3. M&M

Bob Carpenter, president and CEO of food-safety partner GS1 U.S., calls them “The Two M’s”: millennials and mobile, two of the most significant forces in foodservice today. John Inwright, president of Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-Op Inc., remembers when they gained their power: “July 27, 2007,” he said during the “Strengthening the Foodservice Supply Chain” breakout session. “That’s the day Apple debuted the iPhone.” Since then, Inwright’s team has “centered our entire communications and processing” around the smartphone, which has dramatically increased consumers’ access to nutritional data. “If you tell someone a product has 610 calories, and they find out it has 640, they’re ready to litigate,” he said. “It’s got to be correct!”

4. Strategic Subdivisions

During the same session, Jay Ellingson, director of food safety and quality assurance for Kwik Trip convenience stores, offered his company’s strategy on achieving distant goals: “Kwik Trip set visions. It’s long term, but everybody knows the vision,” he said. “Then you set baby steps to get there. The vision sets the tone, and the steps provide the process.”

5. Mind the Ethnicity Gap

Forty-seven percent of Generation Z comes from an ethnic minority group, and it will be the last generation in which Caucasians are the majority. How’s your organization planning to cater to this diverse generation?

6. Usable But Unusual

How is foodservice distributor Sysco saving thousands of tons of produce each year? By finding operators who will accept “usable but unusual” product, what Scott Sonnemaker, senior vice president, sales and chief customer officer for Sysco, calls “ugly produce.” Just a few years ago, these products would have been thrown away, even though they're still high-quality (just not in appearance).

7. Doggie Diner

Happy hours aren’t just for restaurants and bars, said Kevin Higar, founder of Flying Feathers Foodservice Consulting. A convenience store in the Dallas area, Chef Point Café, Watauga, Texas, has a “Yappie Hour,” during which customers can bring their dogs—and there's a menu just for canine guests.

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