From the editor: You're so transparent

Abbey Lewis, Managing Editor, FoodService Director

Healthy food spread
Brooke Lark/ Unsplash

I love a good firm handshake.

I always have. When I was a little girl, meeting new people became habit because of the novelty of that handshake. But what started out as a fun way to pretend to be a grown-up became a routine and delight that I carry with me these years later.

And it’s one of the things I love most about this job. When I have the opportunity to meet operators, shake their hands and hear their stories, that quick interaction has, more often than not, resulted in insight beyond what I could have ever learned through research or via Google. There are never trade secrets or strategies they can’t divulge. Their successes are the industry’s triumphs, and I am thrilled to be the bearer of that good news.

That level of transparency is something I find unique to this industry. It’s part of the reason our monthly Steal This Idea section is so popular, and frankly so fun to put together. Sure, occasionally our editors reach out to operators who are doing innovative things and ask them for their ideas, but overwhelmingly those ideas come from that very simple, first interaction—the handshake.

I had the pleasure of moderating two Steal This Idea workshops with noncommercial operators recently, both of which ran out of time before all the ideas could be shared. There was never a lull in the conversation, never an awkward pause. Just a collective joy around listening to and sharing those lightbulb moments and the real-life upshot of giving them a try.

In our upcoming August cover story, we discuss how, to some, the word “transparency” is a key attribute they use to describe what it means to eat “clean.”  If a diner doesn’t know exactly what is in the food they’re eating, down to where the ingredients come from, they may not perceive that dish to be clean. As this terminology gains steam across both commercial and noncommercial segments of foodservice, if you’re not doing all you can in the name of transparency, chances are that diner is going to take their dollars elsewhere.

But in noncommercial, transparency runs in your blood. Just as you’re thrilled by the opportunity to share a good idea with a peer, that open line of communication exists between you and your diners as well. I have marveled at the lengths many of you go to keep your customers informed. It’s a quality that is so vital as this industry evolves.

And as a tenet of the clean menu, that level of transparency is something this industry has on lock. And you didn’t even need a good, strong handshake to get there.

Have an idea for Steal This Idea? Shoot it my way at


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