Fresh Bites Spring Edition 2022


FreshBites An architect is almost always involved in a large capital project. This often is a long planned budget project that includes multiple areas of the district from sport facilities to science labs. The foodservice section of the project is only a portion of the entire specification. This section is often referred to as the 11400 section of the spec. As I mentioned before, some architects have foodservice designers on staff and many just outsource to an independent consultant. Now that the roles are clarified let’s conclude with two quick scenarios: A. Large Capital Project Rumor is out that you are set for a large renovation in spring of 2024. Budget is approved and the architect has been chosen. This is where many school foodservice directors differ. Some choose to watch the process and some choose to get involved in the process. Both options will lead to a great project, however, nine times out of ten when the FSD and their staff are involved in the design and equipment selection process, the project is a success. and dish machines for example. I usually use the wing analogy when I attempt to explain to my friends what it is that I do. We can represent a wing company, a blue cheese company, and a celery company but not two competing wing companies. The benefit to having all categories is that the same people buying wings also need to buy blue cheese and celery. Foodservice Equipment Dealers A dealer’s role, like the reps, has also evolved quite rapidly over recent years. There are many strong dealers spread across the state of New York. Many have salesman on the street as well as design departments and a warehouse for stocking. Some have installation crews and get involved in the capital projects as well as the everyday replacement business. When your district puts out a capital bid there are traditionally multiple dealers involved in bidding. They are also regularly available to assist with your everyday replacement business. Foodservice Consultant A foodservice consultant is often brought in on the capital projects. Many architectural firms do not have professional foodservice designers on staff so they will outsource the foodservice section of a project. When a rep is involved, we are presenting the lines that we represent. Although we all feel we represent the best lines in the business our opinion is still biased. Same idea with a dealer as well. They have certain buying programs and rebates that make it beneficial for them to push lines that they have the greatest opportunity to win in a bid. A consultant, however, is paid by the architect or the district and their role is to specify what they feel is the best product for the situation. They use many factors in their decision-making process. Is it a quality company? Is the rep supportive in the territory? Do their key installation dealers like and support the line? Have they had a good track record and positive feedback from previous projects? Architect

Industry Feature

“Who is that in my Kitchen?”


SPRING 2022 Using the combination oven as the example, let’s say you have 30K in your budget to replace your existing combination oven. If you like the brand of the model you are replacing, often you will contact a local dealer that you are comfortable with to get a price. If your district requires multiple bids on the oven you would often contact the local rep of that oven and they can assist you with writing the specification and putting it out to bid to multiple dealers. If you want to see what else is out there, you would contact a few reps that each represent different combination oven brands. You would let each group bring you in to their test kitchen to explain why they feel their oven is a proper fit. You would make your decision and allow the rep to assist you in writing the specification and putting the unit out to bid. The job of a school district foodservice director today is not an easy one. You face challenges today that could never have been foreseen even just a few years ago. Now that you are a “who is that in my kitchen?” graduate, I hope you will fully utilize the players I described. They are certainly ready and eager to be that person in your kitchen! This is a wonderful opportunity for you to see what is new out there with equipment and technology. You know your kids and you know your challenges; now is the chance to give input on the type of equipment that you require. In this scenario, the architect would hire the foodservice consultant . The consultant would begin to layout and budget the equipment. The consultant will often reach out to multiple reps for budget pricing and design assistance. You may know, for example, that you want to use a combination oven in your district. The consultant often will direct you to a few rep groups that represent companies that they are comfortable with that build combination ovens. These rep groups then present their combination oven company by bringing you to their test kitchen or visiting your location. Most rep firms have chefs on staff that can present their oven in a live cooking situation with your products. These same chefs would be the ones to train you and your staff once the install is complete. Next the specification is now complete and the project is going out to bid. Here is where multiple food service equipment dealers will bid on the project and the installation. Once the installation is complete and the kitchen is ready to open, the installing dealer and the reps are responsible to train you and your staff on all of the equipment. Hopefully when the site is turned over, you and your staff understand why the equipment was selected, how to clean and maintain the equipment, how to use the equipment with your menu, and how to set up service in the future in case problems arise and service is required. B. Smaller Replacement Project


It is an easy drive. Straight down Route 96 along the beautiful Lake Cayuga and there you are at the prestigious Cornell University. I had received a call from the foodservice director only a few days before asking for help with their latest kitchen renovation. It was rather amusing, as she felt she was bothering me by asking me to come down and help. I explained, as I have multiple times to others, “that is our job and we are happy to do it!” The visit was great. We reviewed all the drawings and specs from their architect and foodservice consultant. We walked through the two kitchens that were being renovated and addressed any individual concerns that she and her purchasing team had. I used the remainder of the day to visit one of our dealers in the area before heading back to our office in Rochester, NY. The next day I received a call from that same foodservice director with Cornell. She mentioned that after I left, multiple kitchen staff and management asked who I was and what my role was in the renovation process. She stated that she laughed

to herself as she had no idea how to answer that question! This is where “who is that in my kitchen?” began. Shortly following, I was asked to give a presentation at their next food service staff meeting at Cornell. They asked me to give a brief presentation on the roles of the multiple people involved in a foodservice renovation process. The presentationwas amuch bigger success than I expected. Afterall, it’s not the most exciting of topics to fill a lecture, but apparently it was quite pertinent for the time. Many of the staff came up after and thanked me as they felt they finally understood a little more of the crazy supply chain of this ever-changing foodservice industry. What does this have to do with K-12 foodservice you may ask? Frankly, everything. The process is exactly the same and many of your kitchen staff are probably equally confused and have the same question, “who is that in my kitchen?” The most direct way to explain the process is to break your foodservice equipment purchasing into two categories: A. Larger renovations that are added to the budget and traditionally approved by the community, known as capital projects B. Replacement business where you are working with a set budget or grant. Both scenarios involve many of the same players. The manufacturer representative (which is what my company is), architect, foodservice consultant, and the foodservice dealer. Let’s start with a brief description of each. Keep in mind, for the sake of brevity, these descriptions are only a quick snapshot of each player’s role! Manufacturers Representative A foodservice equipment and small wares “rep” today is far different than what it was even 5 years ago. We don’t buy or sell any product to you the end user. This job we leave to our foodservice dealer partners, who I will explain more in depth

SPRING 2022 shortly. Most rep groups have multiple sales people and test kitchens in the territories that we represent. We are paid by the manufacturer for anything that ships within our designated territory. Each rep firm traditionally will represent anywhere from 20 to 40 different manufacturers. In most cases we don’t represent competing companies, for example, most rep groups rep only one company that builds combination ovens, however they may also rep walk in refrigeration 44



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