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How Embracing Change is the Recipe for Success in Foodservice

Source: How Embracing Change is the Recipe for Success in Foodservice
Food Logistics, January 30, 2024

https://www.foodlogistics.com/warehousing/foodservice/article/22883114/eloir-north-america-how-embracing-change-is-the-recipe-for-success-in-foodservice

By Olivier Poirot, President & CEO, Elior North America

In a world where change is the only constant, the need for adaptability cannot be overstated. The foodservice industry in particular, with its diverse clientele and dynamic environments, requires organizations to navigate challenges with finesse and resilience. This guide offers insights for foodservice companies seeking to master change and position themselves for long-term success.

Diverse clientele, dynamic environments: Navigating uncharted waters

In the foodservice industry, no two clients are alike, so recognizing and catering to the unique needs of diverse clients is the key to success. When serving clients that range from high-end law firm offices with a global presence to public K-12 schools, diversity is not just a buzzword; it’s a daily reality. Serving clients with diverse needs requires a tailored approach rooted in both experience and innovation. First, listen – ask each of your clients about the pain points they are facing. Next, recommend and execute specific solutions based on your experience solving their pain points, whether tried and true or new and innovative. Track the results and refine the plan or pivot as needed. A solution that works today for one client may not work tomorrow, so ongoing monitoring and constant refinement are a must. The ability to tailor services to a broad range of clients, each with distinct requirements, is crucial to thriving in a sector where change is a constant companion.

Navigating turbulent times

The recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought versatility to the forefront. The pandemic highlighted the need for rapid and effective responses to unforeseen circumstances. Foodservice providers who constantly and successfully adjusted their offerings in response to product availability issues, labor shortages, and unpredictable customer traffic were rewarded for their resilience and strategic adaptation. The experience during these turbulent times underscores the importance of not just weathering the storm but thriving through adaptive strategies. During times when circumstances outside your control change on a daily – or hourly – basis, you must adjust your planning timeline accordingly so you can pivot quickly. Keep your long-term vision and values as your guiding force, but don’t hold on too tightly to best-laid plans that quickly become obsolete in times of crisis.

Team evolution in an inclusive meritocracy

People are at the very heart of foodservice, and when it comes to the changing landscape of the industry, people are no exception. We have a workforce that is diverse in every possible way – bringing unique talents, perspectives, and needs to the table. We also have a new generation entering the workforce that brings with them different expectations for their work experience. This environment challenges organizations and leaders to truly understand their team members and implement the platinum rule: treating others how they would like to be treated. This takes listening and acknowledging that career advancement means different things to different people. We must build a culture of meritocracy and ample growth opportunity that takes into consideration that lifestyle preferences are as unique as the individuals themselves.

Food as medicine

Even as we embrace and adapt to change, we must be guided by our foundational values and beliefs. Foodservice businesses should believe in the power of food as medicine. This belief guides every aspect of the culinary experience – from sourcing ingredients to preparation and presentation. Whether a meal is served in a hospital, senior living facility, K-12 school, or community meal program, the aim is to nourish individuals so they can thrive. Food has a transformative potential beyond mere sustenance, and it is our responsibility to optimize that potential despite the challenges and changes our industry may face.

Embracing change for enduring success

The foodservice industry stands as a prime example of companies that have embraced flexibility not just as a reactive measure but as a fundamental philosophy.

Adaptability isn't just a strategy; it's the cornerstone of enduring success. As the industry continues to evolve, this guide offers insights to help companies navigate change with resilience, innovation, and a commitment to meeting the unique needs of clients and team members alike.