From the Editor: A New Year

What are you watching, predicting or looking forward to in the year ahead?

Allison for WEB

Take a look back and forward in our new issue. On Page 11, in Power Up, you’ll find some of FER’s biggest stories from the past year, courtesy of Managing Editor Lauren Coughlin. Then on Page 42, see what’s happening in the year ahead as Contributing Editor Beth Panitz shares data-backed viewpoints from some of the industry’s leading forecasters. What are you watching, predicting or looking forward to in the year ahead?

I asked FER staffers that same question and learned the following:

• “The trend toward electrification, simple robotics and automated equipment to save labor, ventless hoods, and smaller/multifunctional equipment that can operate in nontraditional locations will be big winners,” says Bob Wolters, CEO of Wolters-Althoff Investments, which owns FER. He adds, “Delivery will need a new strategy. Half of consumers feel delivery is too expensive and two out of five people abandon their cart when they see the final price. The ‘last mile’ has yet to be solved.”

• “For the industry, I just hope people continue eating out and that somehow, we can figure out how to pay people a living wage and yet still allow operators to be profitable without making it completely unaffordable to eat out,” says Christine Palmer, production manager/events coordinator.

• And Randy Hano, president and publisher, says, “With the pressures of supply chain issues and pricing slowing, I look forward to seeing a greater focus on innovation from both manufacturers and operators alike to solve the continuing challenges of staffing issues.”

And for me, I look forward to checking out new concepts in my neighborhood. Dave’s Hot Chicken, where MUFES 2024 presenter Tiffany Vassos oversees design and construction, and cookie concept Crumbl are at the top of my list. I’m excited to spend time with you, too, whether it’s at FER’s MUFES at the end of January, the National Restaurant Association Show in May or even over the phone while writing a story. For this issue, I had the opportunity to visit with foodservice design consultant Kevin Banas and operator Katy Higbee when writing our Kitchen Design story (Page 49). I learned so much.

ALLISON REZENDES
Editor-in-Chief
arezendes@fermag.com


3 THINGS

THREE FEATURE STORIES YOU LIKED BEST

Besides the news stories, the most-read FER feature stories in 2023 included the following:

2023 TOP DEALERS REPORT

Since 2011, FER has put together this annual report, which serves as a snapshot of the channel’s landscape. The goal of the rankings is to help you assess the scale of dealerships so you can find one that best matches your needs. I’m glad you find it valuable.

TO THE POWER OF 5

To celebrate Women’s History Month, each March issue highlights leading women in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry. The story marks one of FER’s signature offerings.

HOW TO SPECIFY A COCKTAIL STATION

This online exclusive made the case for thoughtful design of what is a moneymaker for bars. Cocktail stations help bartenders deliver higher-quality drinks faster. Risk inefficiencies and burnout without one.

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