Tag Archives: FCSI

15 days of travels and food around the world

Last 12th of February, with a colleague of mine, I went to Ljubljana to meet some potential clients willing to develop a new food concept project. It was snowing and as soon as we entered in Slovenia, the panorama changed. slovenia0

Beautiful. Striking.

We arrived at the perfect time to make the check-in at the hotel and to have some free time to enjoy Ljubljana downtown. Have you been there? You should, its beautiful! Again the time was perfect to have an aperitif. We went to one of the most beautiful wine bar I ever seen, the Movia. The atmosphere you can brief there is totally brought from the vineyards. We had Movia Cabernet Sauvignon. Outstanding ! Dinner at River House.


On the 14th, I flew to Madrid to meet an architectural and engineering group for Retail and Food & Beverages projects. Their great services are complementary with those of DESITA, therefore we met to find a mutual benefit business collaboration agreement. We succeed! Later on, we went to visit some of their projects. Dinner at La Tagliatella an impressive franchising concept.

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Last week I was in Dubai to attend to Gulfood. I was there together with FCSI EAME colleagues to guard the booth at the exhibition. We have been successful. Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) is the premier association promoting professionalism in foodservice and hospitality consulting. With over 1300 members in over 46 countries, FCSI members offer a wide range of consulting services including concept development, feasibility studies, food safety, design, marketing, operations and training. FCSI is changing a lot in its structure, philosophy and mission and we are all proud of this huge effort made by the Board of Directors. The website is brand new like the “foodservice consultant” magazine that provides authoritative insight, opinion and intelligence to help foodservice professionals keep in touch with the tings that matter.

It was nice to meet with clients, colleagues and old friends.

Dubai-Burj-KhalifaFor an important meeting I went to the Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It was my second time there after its opening and to meet with my guest, I went to the coffee shop in the lobby. Time was nice so we decided to share an Italian bottle of wine. With all my surprise, the young waiter served us the ordered white wine with apparent difficulty and … the white wine wasn’t cold and not even fresh. Unbelievable.

We pointed out the regrettable inconvenience and the waiter brought us immediately a new bottle … with the same warm temperature. We had to call the waiter back and ask at least for an ice bucket and wait for a more pleasant wine temperature.

The fact is that I paid that bottle like 70 Euro and I didn’t receive any good service. It’s a shame as we were in THE Location. Now I probably understand why the f&b manager didn’t reply to my emails last year when I had my dinner at Mediterraneo. Beautiful atmosphere but very normal food. I think Armani Hotel has a lack in training human resources. Mr. Giorgio, please do something!

While I was in Dubai, I’ve been invited from a Sheikh friend of mine to attend the Peru Food Festival at Madinat Jumeirah’s Souk Amphitheater. What a surprise the Peruvian food. It’s just great! And it’s considered on the the next food trend worldwide.


So hurry up my friends, let’s organize a trip to Peru and all its wonders. Ready?

Well, I can’t write about everything happened because 15 days are quite long and things are many. I hope you enjoyed these few facts.

Traveling and sharing time with great people while having good food. Yes, that’s life!

Unox – ovens planet

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Unox.
A visit organized by FCSI Italia, the Italian division of the Foodservice Consultants Society International. I am a professional member of it. 

Unox gave us a welcome that I could never expect due to a great organization. The Company structure is just fantastic, but technology on a human scale. The respect for the employees is quite deep and you can understand this from the words of those who work with enthusiasm and good attitude.

Nothing seems left to chance. It’s like a little Apple and not just because they develop their software internally.

The training carried out was very interesting and I hope to work with them in more detail, because surely there will be a lot to learn.

Their mission is clear, “Contributing to the Quality, to the Competitiveness and to the Simplification of our customers cooking process.” I agree.

I suggest to all operators in the sector to find a way to visit the company and meet the extraordinary people who work there. If you’ll have this opportunity, don’t forget to stop in Padova for a special dinner in one of its extraordinary places.

What about Unox products? Well, they are the second largest producer of ovens for its sector with lots of happy clients. Their stand during exhibitions are always full of people.    I think that’s enough, right?

Associazione: associarsi e associato

Cito da Wikipedia: L’associazione è un ente costituito da un insieme di persone fisiche o giuridiche (gli associati) legate dal perseguimento di uno scopo comune.

Faccio parte di due Associazioni e condivido la semplice ma esaustiva definizione che Wikipedia mette ad introduzione di un’interessante pagina esplicativa. Link

Perché associarsi? Sembrerebbe una facile risposta: “Perché condivido lo scopo per cui l’associazione è nata e vive e quindi mi associo per apportare il mio contributo”. Facile a dirsi, meno a farsi, soprattutto in Italia e specialmente con gli italiani che davanti al fine comune, mettono prima gli interessi personali. Neanche fosse l’azienda di proprietà, anzi, ribadiamo il concetto: un’associazione non è da scambiarsi con la propria azienda e tanto meno associandosi, si ottengono lavori, favori o cose sul generis. L’associazione va vissuta e supportata.

Ed è qui che l’italiano, a mio avviso, da il peggio di se. Pochi miei colleghi, a differenza di quelli stranieri, vivono l’associazionismo come valore aggiunto alla propria attività. Infatti, come detto, molti “usano” l’associazione per scopi puramente personali, talvolta al limite della decenza, spesso al limite del ridicolo.

Cosa significa essere associato? Per me significa, partecipazione, condivisione e supporto per il raggiungimento dello scopo comune.

Spero, in questo tempo di necessari cambiamenti, che anche situazioni apparentemente più semplici come le associazioni di persone, si possano depurare dai soliti facili costumi di opportunismo e scarsa etica. Soprattutto laddove, persone più esperte almeno secondo la carta d’identità, si fregiano di cose non loro.

Mi auguro di poter facilitare questo cambiamento, con l’auspicio di trovare sempre più persone in linea con il mio pensiero e con necessità di comportamenti etici, responsabili e trasparenti.

L’associazione non è di nessuno in particolare, se non degli associati (tutti) che vi fanno parte!


Do you Eataly?

Many people have called me to ask me a review about Eataly. Many times I said that I would rather not comment, because I have the utmost respect for Farinetti’s vision and his hard work.

However, if I met him personally, a couple of things I would argue willingly.

Eataly is to visit, to live and to understand. For you some pictures of my visit to Rome site. Enjoy.

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Kitchen nano garden

I never thought of buying a Hyundai!

Trust me, if this beautiful concept will be soon available, I will be the first out of the store and I guess, the first of a long queue. 

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I can already think about the same concept applied also to our business. Whatever will be an hotel, a restaurant or just a coffee shop, this could be a very revolutionary equipment that could solve lots of environmental and economic problems.

That’s for sure: I will surely add it to the ECOFFEE equipment list.

This cool concept could be the best way to sensibilities the people about sustainability and responsibility, especially young generation, enabling you to add a real vegetable garden to your apartment kitchen or coffee shop, without too much of trouble!

There’s anybody of Hyundai management reading this post? Please contact me, thanks!

FOOD is all around – second day with Coverpoint and Managing Director, Jonathan Doughty – (part 2 of 3)

6.30 am. Wake up call, shower then breakfast. Waiting for JD my thoughts were all about the reason I was there in England, about how I ended up in London and then back over now, in my last professional years. A long flashback. Maybe I just needed an Italian coffee, a good espresso, to be able to think more clearly. Actually, I was hungry. Yes, I was hungry to act, hungry to discover and learn new things. A consultant has that kind of very visceral curiosity towards their mission, especially in our field, because food is culture, art, research AND passion.

7.30 JD arrived. First customer, first meeting: The British Library. At the desk there was a badge waiting for me, another sign of Coverpoint’s team great organizational ability. Nothing is left to good luck with this company. A two-hours long meeting to dissect the unthinkable with divisional managers and representatives of partner companies who work at the British Library. Great teamwork. It showed the job Coverpoint does there is based on a fully confident business relationship between JD and his client, something which is very important and that I have personally experienced with my clients, especially with Saadeddin. It is all about trust, and how people respect you.

How long does it take to create a project such as the one at the British Library or such as the creation of food venues inside a shopping mall? Let me tell you: it takes a lot!            The context analysis, the customer analysis, demographics, research and comparison and buying habits are just some of many basic steps towards a winning proposal and concept.

The second meeting of the day: Cabot Circus, a big shopping centre in Bristol, an Old city of England famous for boats and railways. With the ambitious goal to reassess the concepts related to food, the meeting was there to challenge “is it possible to do better, and how?”. These are the issues the consultant gets excited about and gives his/her best. To analyze the present to predict the future, the consultant in this case also acts as a trendsetter.

Morley Stores was the last stop. We went to Elys, that’s located in Wimbledon and the leisure atmosphere,  the “I eat fast and go back to the game” concept could be deeply experienced, at least that was impression. To my disappointment I visited the department store. Everything looked old and not looked after, and for the first time since the beginning of my journey, I would have gladly added a touch of Italian design- made by DESITA, of course!

JD has presented a rather interesting, Coverpoint’ style, analysis: “Where are we now”, leaving the presentation of “Future Roadmap” to the next meeting. It was a pity the meeting ended so soon, ideas had just started to come to my mind.

A comment about my second day? Thumbs up!

Important clients, complex organizations that really care about the effective functioning of the area they devoted to food. I start thinking about Italy, with its incredible potential, which we often do not make the most of it, because of improvisation and of tight regulations. It is in a country such as Italy that FCSI, with its professional consultants, can really make an important difference to support the food retail industry with strategy and direction.

The day ended at a hotel restaurant, where I quickly had a mega cheeseburger and fries  too tired for a real dinner. End of second day.

FOOD is all around – three days in London with Jonathan Doughty, Managing Director of Coverpoint Foodservice Consultants – (part 1 of 3)

Food and foodservice? A perfect relationship – a foodservice consultant must take into account many things. What customers eat, the correct support provided by the right chair, the colour and presentation of the food, how to be enhance and not alter the ambience and lighting and how to provide a pleasant and empathetic welcome from the staff. We also have to carefully design balanced spaces, use appropriate furnishing to create the perfect atmosphere, giving substance to the initial idea, or better, to the finished concept.
I have always wondered whether it is really possible to split the relationship between food and the tools used in its processing, its creation, its packaging, its availability and what gives it a meaning and a key to its interpretation.

I have been working in the design concept field since 1997, and to me the word “food” has a very extensive and multi-faceted meaning, touching the highest peaks of the “philosophy of life” and the “pleasure of taste and sharing” to be transferred in design and in projects and finally, in emotions. The challenge is to be able to mix the tools and know- how to improve the work of what I call the “food master” (bartender, chef, sommelier, consultant, etc.) thus amplifying the pleasure of the guest, the foodies.

This must be why I loved the three days I was invited to spend in London together with Jonathan Doughty, Coverpoint Managing Director and FCSI EAME President.
Coverpoint offers highly professional advice in the foodservice sector, supporting its customers with a wide range of services, from consumer behavior trend analysis to location services. Coverpoint services are complementary to what I am actually offering with my company DESITA.

But how I ended up in London? At the end of March 2012 I was visiting Hostech 2102 in Istanbul, representing Italy at the FCSI EAME booth. During that event, I had the chance to meet Jonathan Doughty again, and it reminded me of the idea I had during our previous meeting at the Gulfood Dubai expo, I asked him whether it was possible to organize a visit to his company’s headquarter to watch him and his team at work. To me it was like going back to school and act as an “intern”, but to Jonathan my request had an all together different meaning: “You’ll come to work”.
JD agreed and this made me wonder a lot about the differences between the Italian entrepreneurial approach, sometimes so self-flattering, and the one of other countries, very often less formal and more professional.

On Monday, May 21st I was at Heathrow, where James, one of JD’s consultants, was waiting for me to drive me to Coverpoint’s headquarter. I did not know what to expect, but I was sure I was going to spend three days at their office. (Office? Coverpoint’s heart beats in a charming renovated 200 years old barn in the middle of the country!

Once I arrived at the headquarters, I was warmly welcomed by the Coverpoint team. I immediately felt at home, settling into such a professional “vision” and environment. It was there that my learning process began: I was invited to study some of their more interesting projects. Data is of primary importance to Coverpoint’s work: data collection, analysis, interviews with customers, best practices implementation. I could not believe I was allowed to see all that information, and time passed very quickly.

Between a chat and a coffee, I was handed a four-page detailed visit schedule. I was speechless: I was invited to follow Jonathan during his meetings. I became very excited by reading the name of the clients I was suppose to meet: The British Library, Cabot Circus, Harrods to name a few.
At the end of that exciting day, I had a delicious dinner together with Adam and Ian, JDs Senior Consutlants at The Royal Oak, where I had the chance to enjoy the atmosphere of the traditional British pub, which has a Michelin star!

When is a restaurant’s atmosphere good? It is when you do not feel out of place, when the environment seems familiar, but at the same time you are getting curious to discover each and every single location detail. You never get bored in a great restaurant.

At The Royal Oak we were immediately greeted by a beautiful girl in traditional uniform. We settled in the lounge for a cocktail – a beer of course, then went to have dinner in the main hall. The food was very good; Diver Caught Scottish Scallops with celeriac puree and Hazelnut Vinaigrette – 8oz Black Angus Sirloin Steak, “on the bone” Chips, Bone Marrow and Madeira Sauce and as a dessert Chocolate Fondant, Toffee Sauce, Almond Biscuit, Coffee Ice Cream. All beautifully prepared but in a relaxed and informal environment.

There was only one negative point for me. That was the cheese trolley behind us. Quite often, the air became unbreathable with the smell of cheese! I would highly recommend that the restaurant owners never leave cheese on a trolley for too long without some form of cover. It is not that beautiful to see and even less to feel and smell, but most of all it is not particularly hygienic. What would the HACCP manager say?

It was a very cheerful evening. And that was only my first day and the fun was yet to come … (to be continued)

Chefs asked: how green is your kitchen?

Does a British apple have a smaller carbon footprint than an imported one if it has to be refrigerated for up to a year after harvest? And how do you design a kitchen so your chefs are naturally working in an energy efficient manner?

These are just some of the questions explored in a new guide launched on May 31st by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) and Space Catering to help the catering industry reduce its energy bills and drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy used in catering accounts for 4-6 per cent of operating costs, while around 20 million tonnes of food waste is created every year in the UK food service sector.

The National Restaurant Association 2008 survey also found that 62 per cent of diners would prefer to eat in an environmentally-friendly restaurant.

“Chefs and restaurateurs are always looking for simple solutions to difficult challenges,” said Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA.

“This guide provides them with a straightforward, easy to read guide to sustainable kitchen equipment that the SRA believes will be of huge interest and practical use to any restaurant that takes seriously its environmental responsibilities.”

The 20-page guide will be free for anyone to download from the Space Catering website, covering topics such as food waste, water consumption, energy efficiency and “green cuisine.”

via Chefs asked: how green is your kitchen?  News from BusinessGreen.

Willing to enter the fastest growing tourism market? Come to the 20th HOSTECH in Istanbul!

Turkey ranked as Eighth Highest tourism earner in the word in 2010 and hosted 28,632,204 foreign tourist in its 3,379 hotels and holiday villages which has 786,453 bed capacity.

hostech by tusid

With its strategic location between Europe & Asia, Turkey offers a trading platform to the world’s hospitality industry players to faciliate the sourcing and selling of global quality products. Here other amazing facts about this fast growing market:

  • Total sales of large cooking appliances is 867 million USD and grow by 10% in retail volume terms and 13 % in current value terms in 2010.
  • Large cooking appliances is expected to grow by a 13 % volume CAGR and a 12 % constant value CAGR over the forecast period.
  • In 2010, durable goods retailers accounted for an 82% share of retail volume sales. Within durable goods retailers, electrical goods retailers independents held a 69% share of sales.
  • Small kitchen appliances (non-cooking) sales increase by 12% in both retail volume and current value terms in 2010 and is expected to grow by a 15% retail volume CAGR over the forecast period

Spanning over an area of 55.000 m2, HOSTECH by TUSİD, taking place fromMarch 28th to  April 1st at Istanbul CNR Expo, is expected to bring together 550 companies from 6 continent with 45,000 professionals mainly from Middle East, (CIS) Commonwealth of Independent States and Western Europe.

Main supporter of the 20th Hospitality Technologies Exhibition will be TUSID -Turkish Food Service, Laundry & Service Equipment Manufacturers and Businessmen Association. Fair also supported by KOSGEB – Small and Medium Sized Industry Development Organization (Turkey) TÜRSAB – Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (Turkey), TUROB – Touristic Hotels and Investors Association (Turkey) and TAFED – The Federation of Turkish Cooks (Turkey), SYRITEL -Societe Syrienne Des Hoteliers (Syria), IHA Israel Hotel Association (Israel) , FIHR – Romanian Hotel Industry Federation (Romania) , BHRA – Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Bulgaria) and GHA – Greek Hotels Association (Greece)

As active  member of FCSI, FoodService Consultant Society International, I am glad to invite you to come and visit us at the FCSI booth – please do contact me norman|at|desita|dot|it to schedule a meeting.

Next: Norman Cescut’s speech at the Expo Livorno

What are the opportunities offered to new entrepreneurs willing to enter the Retail business? What is Franchising and how to create a Franchising project? What are the tools that can help new entrepreneurs willing to become part of a Franchising network? What is the role of a Franchising consultant?

These are just a  few of the many questions that will find a professional answer during a seminar that will take place at the upcoming Expo Livorno – Livorno (Italy), March 17th-18th (you can find the whole program here)

As a member of FCSI  and professional consultant working in the Food Retail and Franchising business for more than a decade, I have been asked to participate at this seminar as a speaker.

On Sunday March 18th, from 11 to 12.30 am, I will get into full details about the consultant role and about how to build a successful and qualified Franchising project.

I am very excited to have been granted this opportunity,  and it will be a great pleasure to  meet you personally at this event. Do not hesitate to contact me norman|at|desita|dot|it to set up a meeting during that day.