Foodservice Equipment Reports

THE NAFEM SHOW HITS A HIGH NOTE OF OPTIMISM

The aisles were crowded, the mood was upbeat, and opinions seemed unanimous: The NAFEM Show 2011 was a hit. Visitors to the Orlando, Fla., show, which wrapped up Feb. 12, found as much optimism in the aisles as there were interesting new products in exhibitors’ booths.

Not that most manufacturers, reps, dealers, consultants, service agents and operators FER spoke with aren’t realistic. As one manufacturer said, “I think we all just feel the worst is over and that we survived it. It feels good that we can clearly see things turning up, though I don’t suppose any of us expects more than moderate gains this year.”

Manufacturers and dealers mentioned a strengthening market for replacement equipment and menu roll-outs that began mid-year ’10. “A lot of chains sat on their hands for a year,” said one chain-oriented dealer. “When sales started improving last year, many started to move. There was a lot of pent-up demand.”

All this translated into a flurry of activity on the show floor. The aisles were extremely crowded Thursday and Friday and nearly all exhibitors said it was the most upbeat show in years. “The operators are finally ready to buy,” said one manufacturer. “Thank the good Lord.”

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