Foodservice Equipment Reports

What The Awards Judging Taught Us

As we report in this issue, Foodservice Equipment Reports has awarded two dealers its first Management Excellence Awards. We want to congratulate Bargreen Ellingson, which won the award for dealers with more than $40 million in sales, and Mobile Fixture, the winner of the award for dealers with sales less than $40 million.

As we mentioned two weeks ago, more than 20 dealers received nominations in both categories. We developed an extensive set of criteria for our panel of manufacturer judges. (To see the criteria, click here.)

The following judges were part of our Dealer Awards Selection Advisory Board: Dennis Park, Vollrath; Mark Pumphret, Hatco; Gary Dykstra, Manitowoc Foodservice; Rich Packer, American Metal Craft; Mark Brenner, Eagle; George Campise, Unified Brands; Jim Cullinane, Vulcan/ ITW FEG; and John Muldowney, Alto-Shaam. We had email exchanges, phone conversations and a final conference call on Sept. 13.

During these ruminations, there was plenty of give-and-take. In the end, the award winners exhibited a couple of key qualities that the judges particularly valued. One was a firm and ongoing commitment to education and training, not just of their sales personnel and staffs, but of their customers. This was especially noted with Bargreen, which has invested in chefs, test kitchens and sophisticated training facilities, not just at its Tacoma, Wash., headquarters, but at many of its branches.

Allowing factory personnel and manufacturers’ reps easy access to staff was another critical quality the judges valued. All the judges said Mobile Fixture, which has been growing rapidly, is extremely open to outside expertise and advice and greatly values training. And the communication is a two-way street, with Mobile Fixture employees keeping reps and factories informed of issues and opportunities.

Foodservice distribution is a complex, service-oriented business, as we all know. It takes specialized knowledge and expertise, commitment, adequate capital, broad people skills, financial acumen and plane old hard work to run a successful dealership. And no matter how good one is something always goes wrong. So, a sense of humor and balance helps, too. Manufacturers and operators alike depend on world-class dealers such as Bargreen Ellingson and Mobile Fixture to manage this complexity. We congratulate both companies again and look forward to honoring them at our Feb. 8, 2013, Awards Dinner.



Robin Ashton


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FER Industry Excellence Awards Gala

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