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Publisher's Viewpoint - Robin Ashton

Publisher's Viewpoint - Robin AshtonFounding partner Robin Ashton, president and publisher, is a true industry veteran in spite of is boyish appearance, he's covered foodservice since 1978, and E&S exclusively since 1982, as an editor and publisher at several magazines.


See all of Robin's blogs and comments


Time For School

April 01, 2013

The foodservice equipment and supplies business is so complex, you can just never know enough. A true E&S professional needs to know the difference between a Btu and a kW, have some knowledge of airflow dynamics, understand what 18/8 means on a piece of flatware (and know to call it flatware, not silverware), recognize dangerous sanitation cross flow in kitchen design and know the difference between heavy-duty and restaurant ranges, not to mention convection vs. combination ovens. We often joke with folks outside the industry when they ask how foodservice is structured. We explain there are 20 operator segments and thousands of suppliers of equipment, supplies, tabletop and furnishings worldwide. We can prove it with our Worldwide Buyers Guide.

Because of the complexity and the industry’s dynamic nature. Life-long learning isn’t a luxury, it’s a requirement. With FEDA’s annual convention and dealer buying group meetings coming up this month and next, the NRA Show set for May and the noncommercial association meetings planned over the summer and FCSI-The Americas superregional meeting schedule set, now is a really good time to plan your “school” schedule for this year.

There is no lack of opportunity for development. All the operator and channel associations have meetings and events planned throughout the year, including regional meetings throughout the country. Dealers and distributors host scores of shows. There are formal education programs, such as those run by FEDA’s Education Foundation.

Let’s not forget NAFEM’s Certified Foodservice Professional program. CFSP isn’t just for manufacturers, dealers, reps and consultants. Many operator E&S specialists have been through the program. We noted that Mike Harlamert, recipient of FER’s 2013 Industry Service Award, made special note of his CFSP experience in the interview we ran in our February issue. Noting that he has spent his entire career with KFC and Yum!, Harlamert says, “Studying for the CFSP exam really broadened my exposure significantly to things you have to know about other restaurant segments, such as fine dining.”

NAFEM has made studying for the program even easier with a new CFSP Online Seminar. Based on the existing CFSP textbook, “An Introduction to the Foodservice Industry,” the online program features 14 hours of content. It’s essential preparation for the CFSP examination, which still must be taken in a proctored setting. NAFEM continues to work with many industry groups to schedule both live introductory sessions and test venues.

Not least, we at FER do our best to keep you on the leading edge of foodservice equipment technologies, new supply and tabletop designs and a host of other topics. Each issue of FER is a mini-textbook.

Additionally, we now stage our Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposia annually, with this year’s meeting, set for June 10-12 in Austin, Texas, targeted to noncommercial operators and emerging chains. And we already have next year’s “regular” MUFES scheduled for Jan. 25-27, 2014. For more information on the meetings and the programs, go to www.fermag.com/event-calendar/mufes

So break out those notebooks and backpacks and get to work.

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