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From The Field - Brian Ward

Brian WardBrian Ward, co-founder and chief editor/associate publisher, has brought an enthusiasm for machinery to E&S publishing for nearly 20 years. That "gearhead" interest in how things work shows in FER's informal, candid style that "talks" to readers the way they talk with each other. He serves on the NAFEM Technical Liaison Committee as well as the advisory board of the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif.


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A New Era, Really

May 02, 2011

Not to sound too awfully spiritual and rosy about it, but we really have a lot of reasons to feel good about opportunities on the equipment/facilities side of things these days.

A bunch of trends are coming together to give us a boost we’ve really never had before.

Technology is helping, obviously. We write about that all the time. But perhaps even more important is the widespread sharing of all kinds of knowledge in the form of meetings and seminars. Education in our industry is booming like never before.

Just look at the event schedule over just the next few weeks, and you’ll see a cornucopia of educational events of all kinds. Start with the National Restaurant Association show and other events scheduled to coincide with it.

The day before the show, Friday, May 20, the Energy Center of Wisconsin, in partnership with Commonwealth Edison, will be hosting a day-long seminar in Oak Brook, Ill, about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago.

The seminar, “Energy Efficiency in Commercial Food Service,” will be presented by none other than our friend Don Fisher, Fisher-Nickel Inc., which operates Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif. Don’s program will address lighting, cooking equipment, refrigeration, warewashing and ventilation—pretty much the whole gamut. To sign up and find out more, click here.

And more, of course, is happening at the show May 21-24. In total, more than 70 sessions are slated, and many cover equipment, supplies and facility-side topics. Negotiating/renegotiating leases, menu-labeling requirements, sustainability, food trucks, composting and kitchen design are among the sessions listed, not to mention the Ask The Design Experts area, hosted by Foodservice Consultants Society Int.’l, whose members are offering free 30-minute appointments. Click here and check out events.

Immediately following the show, May 24-25, Kendall College in Chicago is hosting the International Foodservice Sustainability Symposium. Water, energy, waste and green building will be discussed by a lineup of well-known experts including Richard Young, of Fisher-Nickel Inc. at the FSTC. Learn more here.

And June 13-15, we’re putting on our own Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium for Noncommercial Operators at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas. Two solid days will include sessions presented by an all-star lineup on water and water filtration, waste handling, and energy efficiency in ventilation, cooking and refrigeration equipment, among other topics. Check us out at fermag.com, click on the tab for events, and click on MUFES.

And on top of all this great knowledge, tax laws, believe it or not, are helping too. Apart from other stimulus measures here and there, the federal government awhile back shortened the traditional 39-year depreciation schedule to 15 years for improvements to structural components as well as new construction. The impact, obviously, is to make it easier to absorb the capital expenses involved. And although the current measure is set to expire at the end of this year, the good news is that both the House and Senate in late March introduced bills to make the 15-year schedule permanent.

So if you’re looking for ways to make things better, you sure have ’em. Sign up, stay educated, and put your tools to work.

Brian Ward

Chief Editor

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