From the Editor: Ready for the Rebound

As we rode out Illinois’ stay-at-home order in April and May, my family was buoyed, like many Chicago Bulls fans, by the broadcast of ESPN’s 10-part Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance.” It brought back all the thrills I had as a young fan watching Jordan dunk on opponents in the playoffs, kick the ball out to Steve Kerr for a clutch three-pointer, or get the handoff from Dennis Rodman after one of “The Worm’s” monster rebounds.

Describing how he perfected his legendary rebounding skills, Rodman says in one clip he would go to the gym with his friends at 3 or 4 a.m. “I’d say, ‘Shoot the ball. Just shoot over here, shoot over here, shoot over there, shoot over there.’ And I’d just sit there and react, react,” he recounts. He studied how the ball would fall after shot attempts by Larry Bird or Magic Johnson or Jordan. “Basically I just started learning how to put myself in a position to get the ball.”

The foodservice industry could use some of Rodman’s rebounding prowess as it looks for ways to bounce back from the game-changing disruption brought on by COVID-19. And some of the advice bestowed by fellow panelists during a webinar I participated in last month for FER’s sister company Specifi could be considered Rodman-like, indeed.

Asked how long it might take to implement new methods to ensure a rebound, Keith Warren of the Foodservice Equipment Association (NAFEM’s counterpart in the U.K.) says, “I think it depends on what operators see, what opportunity, and how quickly they can turn that.” He continued, “Innovation and adapting to the new order is going to be key. There will be some successes and failures, but what I guarantee is a huge amount of experimentation.”

It’s that same kind of agility, adaptability and innovation that is helping dealers steer their businesses through these difficult times and serve the foodservice community. We highlight some of their best plays on Page 29.

During the webinar, Warren ended his answer with this final shot: “It’s about tracking [what’s happening] real time, seeing the opportunity and jumping in there wherever you are in the supply chain.” Just like Rodman.


Editor-in-Chief & Chief Content Officer


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Wendy's announced the appointment of Kevin Vasconi as chief information officer, effective today. He will report to president and CEO Todd Penegor and serve on Wendy's senior leadership team. Prior to joining Wendy's, Vasconi served as executive vice president, chief information officer at Domino's Pizza, Inc. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino's achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2019 from digital channels, primarily online ordering and mobile applications. In the U.S. in 2019, Domino's generated over 65% of sales via digital channels. At Wendy's, Kevin will assume responsibility for all aspects of Wendy's global technology efforts, including Consumer-facing Digital, restaurant technology, enterprise architecture and technology, and information security. "Digital technology is a critical growth driver for Wendy's today and will be in the future," said President and CEO Todd Penegor. "Kevin Vasconi is an ideal leader to join our organization and help us advance to the next level. We are confident that his industry-leading experience will help to accelerate the growth we have already seen across technology channels in 2020, and he will lead a talented and well-resourced team focused on the substantial opportunities we see across the globe." "It's incredibly exciting to join The Wendy's Company in this next chapter of my career," said Vasconi. "The great potential for technology transformation at Wendy's, combined with the brand's 50-year heritage for quality and innovation tell me that the future is bright at Wendy's

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