Foodservice Equipment Reports

An E&S Recovery And The Big Show

Our partner Ken Gill often says that to succeed at anything, it helps to be good, you must work hard, but you’ve got to be lucky, too. Deirdre Flynn, executive v.p. of the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers has told me for two years that NAFEM was lucky in 2009 when it moved its biennial trade show, which funds not only NAFEM’s activities but many, many equipment and supplies industry programs, to February from its traditional September-October timeframe. As a result, The NAFEM Show in ’09 was very successful. It had already sold out and most attendees had already made arrangements to come by the time we all began to understand the economy was crashing down around us.

It looks as if NAFEM, the more than 600 manufacturers that make up the group, and all of us who depend on this industry, have been lucky again. The market is clearly beginning to recover from the worst downturn in decades just in time for The NAFEM Show. It will be held this year Feb. 10-12 in Orlando, Fla.

Hard numbers prove it, and you can see them in our annual foodservice operator and E&S market forecast articles in this issue. In fact, the E&S market is recovering more quickly that we expected, given that operators only began to clearly recover six months ago, and the E&S end of the business usually lags a turn in operator fortunes by six to 18 months.

Now, not everyone in the industry has bounced back—the spec markets are still very soft—but one look at the charts and graphs in the forecasts will make it clear we’re headed in the right direction. We’ve revised our forecast for E&S manufacturer sales in ’11 up slightly to 1% real growth and 2.1% current-dollar growth. It’s not gangbuster growth, but it is growth. Check out the forecast articles for more details and analysis.

So all that is good, and Ms. Flynn has told us The NAFEM Show this year will be successful again, judging by exhibition space and attendee pre-registrations. All of us will be there and hope to see you, too. Whenever I go to The NAFEM Show—and I’ve been to nearly all of them since 1981—I realize that while E&S is big business, it is really a small town, too. The show attracts around 20,000 people from all over the world, and I think I’ve met more than half of you.

And if E&S is a small town, I guess on some level Foodservice Equipment Reports is a small-town newspaper, and we want to thank all of you for reading us, advertising with us and sharing the adventure for 15 years. Hard to believe, but if you turn to the cover, you’ll see this NAFEM Show issue is Volume 15, Number 1. Wow. Thanks again.

Have healthy, happy and successful year. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando.


Robin Ashton

Robin Ashton


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