Tag Archives: foodservice

Have you ever had lunch with gelato?

Yes, I do!

I like it very much and most of the times I use to eat it instead of having a complete lunch. It’s my favorite cold fast food. 35

I have already written something about gelato, especially if related to sustainability or social responsibility.  Today I wish to bring you with me through a path to discover the gelato world and something interesting around it. Are you ready?

Next Saturday, Sigep will start for its 34° edition with a very busy events agenda, while whiting 14 halls and about 850 exhibitors, you can learn about the companies news and the sector trends. Of course, gelato tasting will be included. Yes, because living a five days exhibition makes you very tired and thirsty due to lots of talks so, what is better than a refreshment with a delicious gelato? What’s your favorite flavors? I go for classic nocciola and pistacchio.

This year Sigep will host ABtech, the world of baking and the Franchising area of Iref Italia the European Franchise & Partnership Network Organisation. Two events that will surely boost the entire exhibition, because visitors can now find really everything from row materials to equipment, from furniture to ready concept for all the sectors: gelato, pastry, chocolate, coffee, bakery, confectionery, bread, pizza & pasta.

Well, I will be attending Sigep for five days as I will be busy in the Franchising area of Iref Italia as I am the National Coordinator but as far as I will have many clients visiting the show, I will surely have the time to look around and enjoy a big gelato.

Please do note forget to come on Monday afternoon because we have organised a seminar with great speaker as the Senior Consultant of Subway International BV, the Franchising Senior Manager of McDonald´s Italia and the Environmental Manager of McDonald´s Italia; The title of the seminar is: Franchise networks and Sustainability: the experience of the big brands. Network development experience, and focus on sustainability. Interesting isn’t it?

We are still all a bit child, so what’s life without gelato?

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?

FOOD is all around: last day (part 3 of 3)

Third and last day in London.

Too bad, I must confess that I was really enjoying it, and JD was a very special host. We got on really well and share the same “passion” for great foodservice.

I was really happy when JD asked me to act as a photographer (my other passion) during our first morning meeting: ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Harrods huge distribution center in Thatcham, which hosts a staff canteen, that according to the management, has to be improved. 

Food is all around: the need for a foodservice consultant is not limited only to the restaurant business, and this site was a great example.
Harrods staff canteen in Thatcham showed a very large seating area, while the area dedicated to the self-service counter, to the food, is pretty oppressive. I found the green hospital-style colored walls and other details not that appropriate for the case. While I was absorbed with my photography task, JD asked my advice about how to create a more welcoming and functional environment.  Based both on my first impression and on my experience, I immediately suggested three changes.

The first one: change the color of the walls! Color is very important, leads to a better experience, especially in an environment where you eat and you are supposed to spend relaxing time each day.

The second change: switch the location of the dirty trays trolley from the entrance of the food area to the vending machines area or to a more secluded area. It is not really nice to be welcomed by dirty trays in an area where you are going to eat food.

Third change: the creation of a dedicated area for those people who wanted to eat home-made food. I noticed that there were several people eating meals from Tupperware, stored in the refrigerator and then heated in microwave ovens. That was a great example of culture and freedom of choice, but I found more appropriate not to mix the two different kind of meal consumption – homemade and purchased at the canteen – therefore I recommended to create a separate area for the homemade meals consumption.

JD agreed, sharing my insights with the canteen’s manager. It was very rewarding to have given the opportunity to give my contribution.
This experience once again confirmed my opinion about the need to create better canteens in Italian companies too, where often pasta is offered too much and the interior design is not studied or considered at all. It looks like eating in an appropriate and comfortable environment is not that important to the employers as it is for the employees productivity.

After the meeting at Harrods, it was time to thank JD for his hospitality. I made the most of what I saw, now being able to offer to my clients around the world, new and exciting ideas. We both got a lot out of our “exchange”.

I spent the last hours of the day at Westfield London, a huge shopping center where I enjoyed acting as a mystery shopper, checking the organization, service, value, hygiene and courtesy of the shopping center various eateries. I must admit I found some very interesting concepts, as the following photos. 

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My London experience was positive: I learned a lot and this renewed my desire to bring back to Italy such professionalism and attention to details, skills that only an professional consultant has, moved our love for food, in all its forms and its implications.
Contrary to what you might think, Italy is a very difficult market, where professional foodservice consultants have to prove each and every day to entrepreneurs that there is a great difference between the service – and the consequence and outcome in terms of profit, provided by a professional and the service provided by an “extempore” professional. The two are very different.

I am really interested to know whether this kind of challenge does exist in other countries too, and how you deal with it as foodservice professional consultant. Please leave your comments. 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.

Oliva e Marino – The pop-up store of Pavesi, Barilla.

It sometimes happens to find something new just around the corner.  Just think about Bottega di Oliva e Marino, Pavesi pop-up store that opened in Riccione on June 28.  At first glance, it seemed interesting to me for both its stylish design and brilliant business marketing strategy.

Everything revolves around “aperitivo”, the happy hour.
A very successful Italian format that is currently being copied everywhere else abroad.  But how did Pavesi pop-up store by Barilla impact Riccione?  Tourists certainly enjoy it because of its highly competitive promotional prices, but the managers of nearby restaurants and bathing establishments are far from being happy.

In fact, the pop-up store is situated just in front of two beach bars and next to a highly popular restaurant. But there is more.  It is located just in the heart of one of the most convenient paying car parks of the sea front, the best place for tourists to leave their car without worrying.  

Was local government good at promoting equality? What would have happened if the same proposal had been presented by an ordinary citizen rather than by Barilla?   Would the proposal have been welcomed?

I don’t think so.

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)

Come and visit us at HOST – Milan!

Back from Dubai – but planning to go back soon since many are the projects and the events linked to sustainability and retail in the whole Middle East Area – we are already very busy organizing our participation at the upcoming HOST exhibition taking place in Milan from Oct. 21 to Oct. 25

With its 1445 exhibitors, 40 countries involved, 125.000 trade visitors and visitors from 141 countries, HOST can be certainly defined as the most important event for the HoReCa and Hospitality business sector worldwide. Host confirms itself the leading international date for the b2b system of hospitality with 6 specialized events: Professional restaurant services, Bread/Pizza/Pasta, Bar/Coffee Machines, Ice cream parlors/Confectioner’s, Coffee, Hotel&Spa Emotion.

We have been invited to bring our expertise by three exhibitors: FCSI, Smeg and Emainox.

FCSI (Pavillion 6 – A 03/ C 02) Meet the FCSI expert:  Norman Cescut will be available to offer you a free 30 minutes consultancy. Please check availability at the FCSI booth or contact norman(at)desita(dot)it  previously to fix an appointment.

FCSI has also organized a well balanced set of conferences and public seminars. We would like to bring to your attention the conferences scheduled on Saturday 22nd, where Sustainability will be the protagonist, with the presentation of an interesting case study – NH Hotels – and a public seminar about technology and sustainability in the Catering industry.

Smeg (Pav. 3P Stand B54 C57) Smeg Foodservice Solutions is Smeg division dedicated to satisfying the requirements of catering professionals. As Smeg’s Foodservice agent for the Middle East area with DESITA SHOWFOOD division, we will be available to present you the full line of equipments and new interesting products, providing you with all the requested technical information.

Emainox (Pad. 14 – Stand: H28-H34) – Emainox is specialized in the production of elements for professional use for the distribution and display of food. SHOWFOOD by DESITA is EMAINOX official agent for the Middle East area and our technical knowledge of their production is available to you to reply to all your questions concerning also the newest appealing products.

As you can imagine, our agenda will be a very hectic one, but we will be really happy to meet you – we suggest you to send us an email, contacting Norman directly at norman(at) desita(dot)it with you preferred meeting date and time.

Looking forward meeting you at HOST!

Another great goal achieved: FCSI membership

After fifteen years of international experience in the foodservice business, I have achieved the status of consultant member of the FCSI – FoodService Consultants Society International. It is a great honor to me to be able to connect and interact with all other FCSI professionals all over the world.

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. Membership requirements are stringent and FCSI members are recognized as industry experts. We Share, We Support, We Inspire!

Generally speaking, a foodservice consultant is an independent professional advisor who, for a defined scope of work and related fee, works as an advocate for their client in achieving their goals through the design and implementation of foodservice facilities and/or operations/management systems. Consultants provide expertise, knowledge and experience to provide assistance that does not exist in-house, or by providing resources not available at the time. As independent professionals their primary focus is the welfare of the client organization that they serve.

When considering a foodservice project, a FCSI consultant should be your first choice. FCSI is the only such consulting society that operates on a worldwide basis. FCSI maintains a global focus with members in over 45 countries dedicated to providing the highest quality of service. FCSI consultant members must abide by a strict Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. They work efficiently to achieve total client satisfaction and always maintain independence from the supply side of the industry.

For further information: http://www.fcsi.org/http://www.fcsi-italia.org/