Foodservice Equipment Reports

Back To School

For many of us, it’s back-to-school time. Jan and I took our 19-year-old son, Sam, back to Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, last week. He’s in the Scripps College of Communication there; he wants to write screenplays, not be a journalist, but who knows? He worked for Gill Ashton Foodservice Media Group this summer, updating thousands of addresses and other contact infomation in our online Services Guide. Including yours, most likely.

Our daughter Emma, who is working for us, went to school last week, too, at Hatco University Training School. She spent two-and-a-half days with 30 dealer, rep and consultant folks, plus lots of Hatco’s finest. She had a blast, of course. It’s Hatco. But the Hatco folks were kind enough to invite her. We need to get her up to speed as quickly as possible, and such manufacturer training schools are an intense introduction to a company and its products.

These events have me thinking about just how complex and detailed this business is. The Services Guide lists more than 5,000 dealers, consultants, reps and service agents. Our Worldwide Buyers Guide has more than 5,000 manufacturers and includes more than 760 different product categories.

The only way one learns this business is a lot of education. And honestly, I think the industry does a pretty good job. Many manufacturers run training schools. I attended Hobart Dealer School in the fall of 1982. It was the 98th school then for Hobart. I can’t begin to guess which one they are on now. There is also NAFEM’s Certified Foodservice Professional program. As those of you who have taken the course and completed the test know, it’s not an easy program. The service agents’ group CFESA also runs a range of training programs for service techs.

Many of you now are making plans for the fall meetings of your buying and marketing groups. The groups do a great deal of education over and above the annual and semiannual meetings with manufacturers. One of the key opportunities to sitting down with manufacturers is learning about the latest and greatest products they are introducing. And let’s not forget the ongoing training your local manufacturers’ reps offer. Training is one of their most critical services.

 You can never learn everything about this business. You just have to keep working at it. I urge you to take advantage of every opportunity.



Robin Ashton


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