Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
June 30, 2009

Regulatory Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice
San Joaquin Delays Charbroiler Rules
Food Safety Bill Safe, With Changes
Lawmakers Devise Recipe For LEAN MEAL…
…Just In Time As Maine, Others, Whip Up Rules…
…Making Times Extra Tough For Maine Smokers

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Brinker Expands Into India
Ruby Tuesday Ramps Up In Abu Dhabi
Smashburger Signs Multiunit Midwest Deal
FER Has A New Address

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In This Section:
Early-Bird Deal Extended For FER Forecast Seminar
Have Food Prices Reached Bottom?
NRA Touts Summer-Employment Growth
IFMA Slates Forecast & Outlook Seminars For September

This issue's Regulatory ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice
Industry ReportSponsor: Food&HotelVietnam2009
Economic Report FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings

By Robin Ashton

Early-Bird Deal Extended For FER Forecast Seminar

Okay, the good news: Early-bird registrants to Foodservice Equipment Reports’ 2010 E&S President’s Preview Market Forecast meeting save $100 off the seminar fee.

The bad news: Deadline for the early-bird deal was last Friday.

The good news: The extended deadline now is Fri., July 3. If you can sign up by that date, you still get the Benjamin taken off the fee.

The meeting is set for Wed., Aug. 5, at the Hotel Orrington, in Evanston, Ill. It begins at 9:45 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. so many in the East and Midwestern can fly in and fly out on Aug. 5.

The program is designed to give a complete overview of the equipment and supplies market that can be used for planning and budgeting for ’10 and beyond. The agenda will kick off with an open forum of leading multiunit operators discussing the challenges facing their businesses. Then, John Muldowney, principal at Clarity Marketing, Tipp City, Ohio, will join FER Publisher Robin Ashton in analyzing general economic, operator and materials-price data. Muldowney also will update his listing of the top 150 E&S manufacturers and review their performance in ’08. Michael Greenwald, president of AutoQuotes, Inc. will present exclusive information on E&S manufacturer pricing trends. The meeting will close with Ashton and Muldowney offering hard-number forecasts of the E&S market for ’10.

Attendees receive all data in both print and electronic formats.

The registration fee is $845 until July 3, $945 afterward. The hotel is $159 a night. For agenda, hotel and registration information, go to,  or call Christine Palmer at 847/336-2049.



Section sponsored by FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings

Have Food Prices Reached Bottom?

After rising 1% in April, overall food prices dropped 0.6% in May, the seventh decline in eight months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Producer Price Index data. Accounting for most of the decline: Prices for fruits and vegetables fell 13.6%, and egg prices plummeted 35.7%.

Overall, wholesale food prices have fallen 4.2% in the past 12 months, a welcomed respite following 8% to 12% annual gains in 2007 and ’08.

Unfortunately, the party may be coming to an end, judging by several indicators. Beef and veal prices spiked 9.2% in May, following months of decline that pushed beef prices down some 20%. Pork prices rose 1.7%, the second consecutive monthly increase.

Commodities expert Robert D. Bresnahan, president of Trilateral Inc., told an audience of operators at Technomic Inc.’s annual Restaurants 2009 Trends & Directions Conference on June 20 that the timing might be right to lock in contracts for most proteins and grains. His analysis showed that most food commodities markets have entered a period in which prices are moving “sideways.” While this condition is likely to continue for a short time, he said, markets always move higher following “boom-bust-sideways” periods.

And he noted a number of fundamental forces are applying upward pressure, including a drought in Brazil’s soybean belt and the likelihood that the recession is beginning to wind down. He also said the recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar impacts commodities of all types and that the increased volatility in food prices in recent years has been strongly influenced by a huge upsurge in investor funds “playing” commodities markets.

For information on Technomic research and products, go to


Section sponsored by FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings

NRA Touts Summer-Employment Growth

The National Restaurant Association projects that the restaurant industry will add nearly 382,000 jobs this summer, as hospitality adds to payrolls to staff the summer surge. The projected increase is a 4.1% gain in total eating and drinking place employment over March 2009.

“Restaurant operator optimism has increased steadily this year,” said Hudson Riehle, NRA’s senior v.p. of the research and knowledge group. That factor, “combined with these advances in summer restaurant employment, (suggest) the end of the current downturn for the restaurant industry is likely in sight.” Riehle noted the restaurant industry added jobs in May for the first time in 10 months.

The summer restaurant employment gain is similar to last year’s gain of 4.1% but slightly behind the 4.8% surge for the summer of ’07.


Section sponsored by FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings

IFMA Slates Forecast & Outlook Seminars For September

All right, take this down: The annual Forecast & Outlook Seminars sponsored by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association have been slated for three locales across the country in September.

The forecast meetings, prepared each year by Technomic Inc., provide an in-depth look at the foodservice-operator market, including general economic and consumer trends and hard-number forecasts for 2009 and ’10 of foodservice-operator segments. Attendees also receive a comprehensive “Data Digest,” which details thousands of data points that impact the industry.

The three seminars are scheduled for Sept. 17 in Newark, N.J.; Sept. 25 in Millbrae, Calif., near San Francisco; and Sept. 30 in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago. For details on attending and registration, contact IFMA at or call 312/540-4400.


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