Foodservice Equipment Reports

Top Dealers, A Meeting And Missing Friends

Those of you who have known us for a while know we have many adages. One of our favorites is, “Life is short, so fill it up.” Events of the past couple months have reminded us of the truth of the adage.

We’ve been very, very busy with two major initiatives here at Foodservice Equipment Report, our new Top Dealers survey and our first Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium for Noncommercial Operators. But the flurry of activity involved in both projects also bumped up against the reality of the loss of three friends and industry figures, Chris Berghoff, Fred “Biff” Bearden and Mike Carpenter.

We’ve explained before in this space the purpose and methodology of our dealer listings. Operators and consultants asked us if we could provide a reliable guide to the size, scope and services of the major dealers and distributors serving the U.S. equipment and supplies market. With the advice of several prominent dealers, we decided to require that fully listed dealers provide independent verification of their volumes. We were pleased, and frankly pleasantly surprised, that 31 brave dealers verified. We rank them in this issue, but we think you will find most useful the detailed listing of the services each offers. One thing the services grid shows: There are many different business models for E&S distribution.   

Depending on exactly when you read this, our new MUFES meeting may be underway right this moment. We’ve gathered a diverse group of operators from healthcare, universities, schools, corrections, business and industry and government, along with major E&S suppliers in Austin, Texas, June 12-15. They are experiencing an intense, two-day program, all with neutral, third-party presenters, on topics such as energy- and water-efficient equipment, advances in kitchen ventilation, waste handling practices, water filtration, LEED-certification practices and other foodservice specific technical issues. We know you’d all like to be with us.

By the way, our next MUFES—our commercial chain-oriented version—is set for next Jan. 28-30, also in Austin. Please put it on your calendars.

But while we were enjoying the adrenaline rush of launching these new endeavors, the tragic reality of life intruded. Since March, we’ve lost three prominent members of our industry. Mike Carpenter, former NAFEM president and exec at several national suppliers including Cooper-Atkins; Chris Berghoff, founder of Control Products; and Biff Bearden, a well-known Texas-based manufacturer’s rep, were all way too young, only in their late 50s. We could do separate pieces on each of them, and we have. You’ll find obituaries and remembrances of each in this issue of the magazine and online at Peace, friends.

But their passing reminds us of a variation on our adage: “Life is short and then you die. So, hug those you love, have as much fun and do as much good as you possibly can.” Today, please.


Robin Ashton

Robin Ashton


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