More than a job

A peak at challenges and opportunities that operators face.

By Paul King, Editorial Director

In the December issue of FoodService Director, our cover story will take a look at 2010. We polled operators to see what challenges and opportunities await them in the coming year, along with the trends that figure to have the most impact on their operations. You will find a representative sampling of their responses in the feature.

One of the respondents was John Strickland, the director of corporate administrative services for the BOSE Corp., Framingham, Mass. Typical of what we’ve been hearing from corporate foodservice directors and liaisons, Strickland’s comments were of the doom and gloom variety. He spoke of “lagging sales on the cash side and dramatically reduced sale in catering.”

“We have seen an increase in brown bag lunches and people are generally just spending less on food,” he added. “Any talk of growth is wishful thinking.”

But then he went on to paint a silver lining around his black cloud. I wanted to share that with you now, rather than wait for the December issue to hit your desks, because it speaks to the collective heart of this industry. Most of the people I have met in this business have a spirit that is not easily suppressed, and that rang clear in John’s closing comment to me.

“Times like these give you an opportunity to strengthen your team’s camaraderie and commitment to excellence as we continue to try to meet or exceed the need of our customers,” he said. “Times are difficult, but we have a job and a mission. There are many among us who don’t have either. Take the time to thank your crew for a job well done. Get the executives in your company to stick their heads in the kitchen after a company even to let people know that their efforts are appreciated. Non-monetary recognition can be a big plus in tough times. In fact, it might be the only reward tool you have.”

I think that’s sound advice.