Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2018

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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Page 9 of 99

editor's perspective 8 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • OCTOBER 2018 Experience Counts L ast month, home goods retailer Crate & Barrel announced plans to add a two-story, full-service restau- rant to its store in Oak Brook, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. In doing so, Crate & Barrel became the latest in a series of retailers investing in adding foodservice to its brick-and-mortar locations. On the surface, Crate & Barrel's decision seems logical for a variety of reasons. The company's inventory cen- ters on products that can help consumers turn their houses into homes where they entertain family and friends. And it's no secret that retailers continue to struggle to draw customers to their brick-and-mortar locations while coming to grips with what it means to do business in an increasingly online world. A closer examination of Crate & Barrel's move, though, shows the com- pany connecting to a broader trend that continues to shape all sorts of industries, most notably foodservice. Instead of simply trying to sell housewares, furnishings and decorative items to its customers, Crate & Barrel will now strive to give customers in its Oak Brook store a more memorable ex- perience. To facilitate such an experience, the company is partnering with Chicago's Cornerstone Restaurant Group to develop the two-story restaurant that will feature outdoor seating overlooking the scenic Oakbrook Center shopping mall. In addi- tion, Bill Kim, the visionary behind some of Cornerstone's most successful concepts, will develop the menu for Crate & Barrel. "People want a memorable experience, and food is experiential," noted David Por- talatin of the NPD Group during Zoomba Group's second Foodservice Equipment and Design Thought Leadership Summit (page 46). "Today's consumer views their exchanges with companies or brands as an extension of who they are. The brand has to be experiential." Crate & Barrel's move also shows another notable foodservice transition: Restaurants have become a real attraction. When visiting restaurants, "people can come in and have the experience they want," said Joseph Szala of Vigor, also during the FED Summit. "It's almost like an amusement park." To help create the visual and interactive appeal that serves as the cornerstone of the amusement park experience, foodser- vice operators from all industry segments continue to look for ways to enhance their food presentations (page 22). These pre- sentations do more than highlight ingre- dients and culinary craftsmanship — they also communicate to the guest that they are about to experience something special. And therein lies the key to growth, not only for operators but also for the entire supply chain. Growth will come when you are able to solve your clients' prob- lems or provide them with an experience they could not create on their own. In the absence of that, you are simply facilitat- ing a transaction — selling a product for a price — and it's hard to grow under those conditions. Crate & Barrel's move also shows another notable foodser- vice transition: Restaurants have become a real attraction. Joseph M. Carbonara, Editorial Director

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