October 03, 2011
We've just completed our 12th Worldwide Buyers Guide. We created the guide at the request of U.S. chains that asked us to help them identify equipment, supplies and furnishing suppliers worldwide. But we also send it, as most of you realize, to 10,000 operators, E&S distributors and consultants outside North America each year in additional to 28,000 in the U.S. and Canada. So it is truly worldwide.
In late January 2012, we’ll also host our sixth biennial Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium for commercial chain operators at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas. Our Chief Editor Brian Ward has already put together the preliminary program for MUFES ’12, set for Jan. 28-30. And while it certainly maintains its usual high-end technical orientation—energy and water savings technologies, sustainability practices, and the like—several sessions have a distinct international focus.
We will kick off with an in-depth look at foodservice trends worldwide by Bob O’Brien, senior v.p. at The NPD Group. Bob has been busy for years setting up consumer panels in countries around the world to allow tracking of sales, traffic and other trends for chains and suppliers that subscribe to NPD’s many research products. In the past three years, China, Russia and Australia have been added to the mix. NPD already had a presence in most of the developed economies of Europe and Japan, plus the U.S. and Canada. Bob knows not just what the U.S. chains are doing and how they are faring, but he also knows the competitive landscapes worldwide.
With the number of chains with international units exploding, local certification issues become a huge problem. Joe Phillips, who just recently retired from NSF Int’l., where he helped run the organization’s foodservice equipment programs, is scheduled to provide an overview of the entities and processes global operators and their suppliers must bear in mind as they build, equipment and operate units around the world.
Global supply chains have their problems as well as their opportunities. With so much of the manufacturing for tabletop and durable supplies now outside North America, spec’ing and receiving product in a timely fashion has become a real problem for many chains and their suppliers, particularly in this era of quick-turn menu rollouts. We will have a special breakout session to discuss these issues.
We hope to see many of you in Austin in January, including some of our international readers. Information on MUFES ’12 can be found on our website at fermag.com/events. Or e-mail me at rashton@fermag,com with any questions. And have a great 2012.