Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

APR 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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"The concept has proven itself," Freeman says. "Our participation rates overall are running more than 72 percent. The more we can keep people on campus, the more produc- tive they're going to be." The Commons was a groundbreaking corporate dining concept in part because Freeman saw the bigger picture. Over time, his position at Microsoft evolved and expanded to include facility design and construction and retail initiatives beyond food. His mindset shifted to taking the city-within- a-city notion quite literally and he began to develop Micro- soft's breadth of offerings accordingly. Specifically, Freeman began to look at how food is distributed across a city like Seattle: how people access and move in the food space. "That influences how we think and what we do here," he says. The approach led to a diverse portfolio of offerings spread throughout Microsoft's campus. Under Freeman's watch, it has become what even the most serious foodies would call a great food "town." Employees have access to dining destinations that range from sprawling marche-style markets with concepts that span from fresh bakery to bibimbap, permanent and pop-up res- taurants featuring both signature and Seattle-area chefs' con- cepts, food trucks, espresso kiosks, 24-hour Market@ Stores, and, more recently, full-service restaurants. They include in.gredients, an upscale, three-course, fixed-price spot by local chef and multi-concept operator John Howie, as well as Boardwalk, a new gastropub by James Beard Award-winning chef Maria Hines. Boardwalk, the first on-campus operation to hold a liquor license, serves up local wines, microbrews and craft cocktails. All told, nearly half of the foodservice venues at Microsoft today have ties to local chefs and restaurants. Nearly all prepa- ration occurs in view of customers from scratch using fresh ingredients, many sourced from more than 100 local farm partners through a program launched by Freeman in 2011. While the company's Lifecycle Remodel Program is currently on a two-year hiatus, remodels and refreshes have been done at an average rate of three concepts per year. LAYING THE GROUNDWORK Freeman's focus on bringing local flavors and personalities into the mix at Microsoft began to sharpen not long after he joined the organization. But first, he had to lay the ground- work for instituting a culture of change and innovation in a program in need of a shake-up. "To be honest, I didn't have a big vision of where we were going to take this when I started," Freeman says. "I had no clue it would end up where it is now. I thought Microsoft was the dream job and that I'd come in, put my feet up on the desk and things would be great. It is the dream job — I'm absolutely living the dream — but that wasn't quite the case right off the bat. Initially, I had to focus on bringing 42 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2017 FE&S 2017 HALL OF FAME // MARK FREEMAN Graduates Evergreen State College with business degree 1980 Joins Saga, serving Evergreen State College foodservice 1980 Transitions to B&I foodservice at American Express 1990 Joins Hewlett-Packard 1996 Joins H. David Porter Consulting 2003 Joins Microsoft 2006 Wins IFMA Silver Plate Award 2012 Serves as SHFM president, adding Hospitality to the name 2012-13 Earns NAFEM Doctorate of Food Service honors 2013 Serves as SHFM Hennessy Traveler 2015 Receives SHFM Richard Ysmael Distinguished Service Award 2016 Wins FE&S Hall of Fame Award 2017 PERSONAL JOURNEY Introduces Bean to Cup beverage program 2006 Drives "My Microsoft" employee benefit enhancement 2007 Opens 6 cafes in 2 years 2007-2008 Designs The Commons with local retail and food venues 2009 Launches local brands initiative 2009 Earns 3-star Green Restaurant Association certification 2009 Opens The Commons 2009 Launches Culinary Revolution 2011 Begins local farm partnership program 2011 Introduces Zero Waste initiative 2011 Incorporates global scope into portfolio 2012 Begins integration of cashless/cashier-less operations 2013 Opens first 24-hour market 2013 Introduces online mobile ordering 2013 Launches Ingredient Revolution 2014 Opens first full-service restaurant (in.gredients) 2014 Begins infused water program for healthier beverage options 2014 Launches hydroponics growing program 2015 Opens first on-campus pub (Boardwalk) 2016 Launches Re:Fresh–Fuel For Life healthy free beverage program 2016 Launches FDA Nutritional Labeling program 2016 THE FREEMAN ERA: MICROSOFT MILESTONES

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