Foodservice Equipment Reports

FER’s MUFES Meeting Explores Technology, Global Issues

Advances in foodservice equipment technology and management best practices are offering the industry huge operating-cost savings, speakers told attendees at Foodservice Equipment Reports’ sixth biennial Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium for chain and commercial operators. The meeting was held at the Barton Creek Resort Jan.27-30 in Austin, Texas.

More than 110 commercial chain operators, suppliers and speakers shared an intense two-and-a-half day program that covered topics from international expansion opportunities, worldwide equipment certification and global supply-chain issues to LED lighting retrofits, water filtration, facilities modeling for LEED certification and ice-machine performance and load shifting.

Among sessions: Don Fisher, CEO of Fisher-Nickel Inc., which manages Pacific Gas & Electric’s Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif., presented a detailed look at improvements in ice-machine energy efficiency and the potential savings of operators shifting ice making to non-peak hours of the day. A series of preliminary new studies shows the energy and cost savings of load shifting could be huge, with savings to operators of nearly 35% and utilities reducing on-peak demands by as much as 150 Megawatts in California alone.

In contrast, Fisher noted, California’s goal for the production of electricity through solar technologies is 20 Megawatts by 2020. “Where else is an operator going to find a 34% cost savings on a very major expense?” Fisher asked.

Bob O’Brien, global senior v.p. of The NPD Group’s Foodservice Industry sector, kicked off the program with an in-depth look at the diverse consumer foodservice behavior in both developed and developing markets around the world. Joe Phillips, who recently retired as general manager of the Food Equipment Certification Program at NSF Int’l., examined equipment and sanitation certification practices and needs in major market worldwide.

FER editors will detail many of the presentations from MUFES ’12 in a series of articles in the magazine. FER will host the next MUFES for chain and commercial operators in the first quarter of ’14.

The magazine has also scheduled a MUFES for noncommercial operators for June ’13. For information, e-mail Publisher Robin Ashton at rashton@fermag.com or Christine Palmer, meeting coordinator, at cpalmer@fermag.com