Foodservice Equipment Reports

FEDA And China, Top Dealers And TriMark

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks for me. I attended the first half of FEDA’s annual convention in Phoenix in late March, then headed to Shanghai, China, where I once again helped with the show’s Foodservice in the 21st Century Forum program. I just got back home on Saturday. Meanwhile, Chris Palmer has been collecting your surveys for FER’s annual Top Dealer listings. The “official” deadline was last Friday. And I also finished writing up an interview I did with TriMark USA CEO Jerry Hyman about the company surpassing the $1 billion hurdle and its experience with private equity partners during the past decade and a half. A brief note on each of these follows.

The highlight of the FEDA convention for me was seeing the new FEDA Data Interchange in action. As we wrote here two weeks ago, this new system allows dealers, reps and others in the channel to track orders from scores of manufacturers online in real time. A number of leading manufacturers are now uploading order status data into the system, which runs through AutoQuotes, on a daily basis. It’s amazing and a game-changer. It has the potential to, as AQ President Kent Motes puts it, “smooth the friction” in the channel as dealer personnel personally chase down the status of equipment orders. If you haven’t seen the system, you must. Go to

China was amazing, as always. In addition to helping run the Forum and checking out the show, we visited T&S Brass’s new factory in Shanghai and also headed down to Hangzhou, about an hour south of Shanghai by bullet train, to tour the Manitowoc plant and see the sites. It’s a gorgeous city, on a lake, surrounded by pagodas and Buddhist shrines. Bob O’Brien, who is senior v.p. of global foodservice at The NPD Group, spoke for us at the Forum and said the Chinese foodservice market is bouncing back a bit from an atypical downturn the past couple years.

You can still get your form in for our Top Dealer listing. Remember, size is no issue in this listing. Verify your volume and you get the full deal. If you can’t find the form in your in-box, use this one. Do it now. We need to close this up.

Not least, my interview a few weeks ago with Jerry Hyman, was fascinating. Among other things I learned that TriMark USA had its debt rated by S&P and Moody’s last fall. I know that’s a first for a dealer. You can read the full write-up in next week’s FER Fortnightly e-newsletter and in the May print issue of FER.

I think I’ll go take a nap.



Robin Ashton