FNCE 2017

Posted on September 29th, 2017

Industry leaders, Georgie Shockey and Sharon Cox, MA, RDN, LDN are presenting Monday October 23 at FNCE 2017 in Chicago, IL. They will share their experience in managing complex transitions with insightful guidelines, new tools and ideas to make a transition successful….

“Change is inevitable; progress is optional”. The four-step Transition Learning Model (TLM) plan, provides leaders with a guide to navigating the chaos associated with change.  While change is external, the transition plan is internal and unique to you.  As a leader, effective strategy formulation skills are essential-and necessary amid change. The ability to translate business strategies from plan to action can set true leaders apart from their peers.  The session will bring the plan to life and show the audience the value of careful planning, assessing the risk of transitions and case studies where the plan has taken organizations to the next level.

The four stages of the transition touches on three elements:  Talent, Process and Systems.  Learn how to integrate these steps and elements into your next transition.


Sharon and Georgie will also take you through what is impacted by each type of change…. And how to mitigate the risk as you are managing the transition.

Preview the session here:   http://eatrightfnce.org/program/educational-sessions/ and download our presentation preview here: FNCE 2017 Presentation


Dealing With A Decreasing Global Food Supply In An Increasing Industry

Posted on August 3rd, 2017

There are strong narratives regarding the global food chain. While many are exaggerated and frightening, there is still plenty of truth and validity to the vast majority. With an increasing population, the global food supply will experience changes, but not necessarily solely due to increased amount of people.

With an increased population, changing diets are rather the primary driver relating to food demand. As wealth increases in many regions, food demand is changing towards diets consuming larger amounts of meat and fresh produce options. While we are experiencing a change in food demand, it is the demand of specific products rather than physical quantities of foods. With increasing demand of meats and fresh produce, population growth certainly impacts these numbers, but it is primarily the popular diets that are creating the influx of demand.

It is also important to recognize that the food and beverage industry increases along the demand curve. As demand increases, more food and beverage operations open to the public. As an industry, it is important we promote the food and nutrition that will nourish and sustain our food supply. Creating more meatless options, focusing on classic grains, and sourcing local to minimize travel (and damage) on crops is vital towards the success of the industry.

In addition, food waste is a major problem associated with the food and beverage industry. About 40% of food is wasted annually. This waste amounts to roughly $650 billion in the United States and even $310 billion in developing countries. It is clear that food waste is an issue, but the amount of money going to waste as well is far too drastic to ignore. In an industry where profit is the primary goal, preventing food waste will save your company money as well as benefit the industry and the earth. It is time for companies to create sustainable goals towards the success of their business, the industry, and the planet.




Unlocking The Door To Customer Service With Key Strategies

Posted on July 12th, 2017


The goal of customer service is to build strong relationships with your customers while providing exceptional experiences that develop loyal guests. Customer service is often overlooked by the product or service itself, however it is important to realize that customer service is vital towards the success of a company and ensuring retained customers and guests. Regardless of how great your product of service is, what customers remember most is the interaction they experienced with your company.

When considering key strategies to enhance your level of customer service, it is important that your team is equipped with the right skills for the job. The value of empathy needs to be implemented as a core value throughout all strategic developments. The power to empathize allows your associates to understand and share feelings towards your customers. When aiming to provide personalized experiences to allow customers to feel an emotional connection to your brand, empathy is the secret ingredient.

When it comes to customer service, it is important to empower your employees. You must empower your employees with the right tools to excel in the presence of customers. Foster open communication and expectations with associates to guarantee they are prepared throughout their time face-to-face with customers. With clearly defined roles and responsibilities, your associates will feel empowered and equipped to excel in the presence of your guests.

Another important aspect of quality customer service is the customer’s perception of constancy and reliability. Customers should always feel confident they would receive the quality customer service your company promises and promotes. Consistency is vital to a successful company due to the dependability and reliability it provides your customers. Costumers will always prioritize one company over another due to the comfort and predictability provided through their services. For example, many customers continue to purchase Apple© products because they are familiar and dependable on those devices. They are confident in the exact product they will get and how it will treat them. Customer service is very similar to this. Customers will gravitate towards companies where they can be familiar with their quality customer service, confident they will be treated exceptionally, and that the end result is something they can rely on.

Lastly, follow-up and follow-through are components to customer service that are often overlooked. While first impressions are certainly important, a company’s last impression with customer service can create the largest impact. The last impression leaves the final taste in peoples mouths and can either be sweet or sour. In order to ensure a sweet ending, companies need to imbed customer service techniques that exceed customer expectations and create lasting memories. Especially in such a vast business industry, the strongest marketing is word of mouth. With a strong lasting impression, customers are inevitably going to be spreading the word about their great experience with your company’s exceptional customer service accolades.



Increased Employee Engagement Leads To Increased Company Success

Posted on June 29th, 2017

Studies show that less than a third of American workers are engaged in their job. Employee engagement helps develop strong positive attitudes among associates towards their work and the overall success of the company. Employee engagement can be defined as the emotional connection an employee exhibits towards their company, which influences their behavior and effort in work related activities. Most importantly, the more engagement an employee has with their company, the more energy and effort they put into their work. Engagement can be categorized into the trust and transparency through communication between management and associates, opportunities for growth and development within the organization, employee recognition towards impacting company performance, and the overall ability for an employee to perceive themselves are an asset to the organization.
Factors such as untrustworthy management, organizational tumult, lack of cohesion among associates, as well as poor organizational structure will impede successful engagement among employees. Many companies assume that higher pay and increased benefits will increase employee engagement. However, while that will increase employee satisfaction, a company cannot simply purchase employee engagement.

In order to successfully engage employees, companies need to show them how much they care. Paying more attention to associates through deliberate and thoughtful actions and decisions will increase engagement. Involving associates in decisions and maintaining transparency among management and employees is vital to successful engagement. There is no scripted formula to a successful engagement program and it must be strategized and orchestrated towards what suites your specific company culture. When discussing strategy, the most important aspect is to ensure engagement is developed through shared common goals and making decisions that are geared towards ensuring employees feel valued and emotionally connected to their work.

When developing an employee engagement strategy, there are specific steps that should be taken towards creating a successful plan. First, it is important to guarantee your associates have all of the right tools to succeed. Employees are stressed out and become distraught when they do not have the right tools to excel in their job. In a stressful work environment, associates are less likely to be engaged. Second, employees need more attention than you may think. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but simple gestures that induce personal attention customized to each associate show how much you care and value your employees independently, not just as a group. In addition to personal attention, personal recognition and praise is another valuable strategy towards increasing employee engagement. Finally, developing a social work environment, possibly with a philanthropic foundation, can create positive engagement around the workplace. When employees develop an emotional connection to the workplace as well as their colleagues, they become more engaged and content in their jobs.

It is important to understand that a company’s most important assets are the associates that work for them. Without an engaged work force, a company will cease to grow successfully. It is important to develop a strategy for your company that can increase and encourage employee engagement, which will reflect positively on bottom-line results.


Training and Retaining Quality Associates: The importance of training in the workplace

Posted on June 23rd, 2017

Training provides an opportunity to expand the knowledge of associates, however many companies find it to be too expensive. While the cost of training and development opportunities come at a price, if it is done right, it will save your company money in the end.

It is far too common that training is perceived as a one-time program. While the initial orientation and training processes are vital towards the success of an associate’s performance, there should never be an ending point to expanding knowledge. Extended education programs should be implemented throughout an associate’s career with the company. Especially in such a rapidly changing industry, there are constantly new improvements and training opportunities to increase the proficiencies of your associates. Extended education programs can be implemented in a multitude of ways. From quarterly information sessions with associates on the clock, to take-home education packets, there are endless opportunities to be creative in orchestrating the best form of extended education and training for your company.

Many companies are hesitant to implement extended training and development programs due to the expenses associated with it. However, it is important to recognize how training impacts retention. Many companies experience high turnover with associates due to a lack of development opportunities or inadequate training that prevents them from performing at their best. Spending more on a successful training and development program will decrease turnover and increase retention. What costs companies money is the process of having to search and hire for associates followed by training expenses. With a successful training and development plan, your company will spend less time searching for new associates and you can begin spending your time and energy building success among the associates you already have.

Overall, training and development are very important and will lead to increased company success. With proper training, associates are better able to perform their jobs, which increases overall company performance. In addition, another important attribute to a company’s success is consistency. With proper training and extended education programs, associates will always be on the same page and informed with all-important information up-to-date. The investment for training and development also proves as a way for the company to exhibit how much they value their associates. Associates who feel appreciated and challenged through training and development will be fulfilled with increased satisfaction.

The Impact Of Design On The Bottom-Line

Posted on June 14th, 2017

When developing food and beverage concepts, the impact of design is important because it enhances the perception of value. The value equation is simply the customers expectation subtracted from their actual experience. There are subliminal detractors and enhancers that lead to the sum of the value equation, many of which are derived from the designed environment.

In regards to subliminal comfort factors associated with the designed food and beverage environment, there are three distinctive components that are commonly associated with value perception. All of these factors are impacting the customer experience, often times, without them even realizing it. It is important to acknowledge these three categories when developing the built environment of your food and beverage operation.

The temperature and lighting are vital to the comfort of the guest in your dining or food service outlet. Lighting is a great indicator of perceived value as many people associate dim and intimate lighting with more upscale dining experiences, whereas florescent and bright lighting is perceived as casual and lower-scale. Neither of which are bad, but the lighting should reflect your specific style of service. The temperature is vital to the comfort of the guests dining experience. The dining room should never be too cold or too hot, as it will impact the guest’s level of comfort while consuming your cuisine. Another important aspect of temperature is proper and efficient ventilation. The air vents should never be directly flowing onto your guests. Many dining outlets will put vents directly above tables, which is poor circulation as well as provides inconsistent temperatures across the dining room.

The colors and tactile surfaces should derive from the concept of the cuisine and style of service. Depending on the food service concept, colors and tactile surfaces differ in importance. It is often recommended that the colors compliment the cuisine and service rather than distract from the restaurant itself. Décor and other art collections around the room can add to the ambiance, but should never be too much of a distraction from the culinary experience. When considering tactile surfaces, it is important to think about appearance and productivity. For example, in a busy restaurant with high turnover, carpeted floors might not always be the best fit for your concept considering the increased difficulty to clean and sweep under and around the tables. In addition, it is important to consider whether your concept would benefit from linen tablecloths, or rather to invest in nicer tables to be used without linen.

Aromas and scents are very important to the foodservice experience. The aroma of a restaurant or dining outlet can entice or scare customers. It is important to have scents and aromas fill up your food service outlet to increase cravings as well as perceived value. There are many companies that have signature scents that allow customers to transcend through their great memories associated with those aromas. A great example is the white tea scent associated with all Westin Hotels. This aroma can be found throughout every Westin Hotel property and provides an identity to this specific hotel brand. Guests of the Westin associate comfort and relaxation with the scent of white tea as that is the value Westin Hotels provides to their guests. Having your restaurant or food service outlet identified by a scent of wood fired pizzas is never a bad problem to have!

In addition to the subliminal comfort factors, there are many dining room layout features that impact the satisfaction of your guests. It is important to recognize that the average U.S. citizen desires a personal space of 24 inches. When designing a floor plan, it is imperative to consider table spacing and physical furniture fixtures. Another aspect to consider is the comfort in being anchored. Anchoring your table’s means to have walls, dividers, booths, and physical structures to anchor the tables to. Diners prefer to have something anchoring their table, rather than being in an open dining room.

While there will always be common dilemmas to face when designing the built environment of a food service outlet, it is important to consider a multitude of factors. With the help of design specialists, your dilemmas will be solved and executed to ensure an increased bottom-line. While these subliminal factors may be perceived as irrelevant at first, the impact of design is a lot more important than you may think towards the success of your company.


Ruck-Shockey’s NRA Show Highlights – Day 2

Posted on May 24th, 2017

Ruck-Shockey fortunately attended the National Restaurant Association Signature’17 lecture series. We had the opportunity to hear both Dan Park, General Manager of the Commercial Sector at Amazon Business and Jason Dorsey, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at The Center of Generational Kinetics, hosted by Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the NRA. This series was titled “Staying Ahead of The Crave”, discussing how Amazon revolutionized the way we shop and how that may do the same within foodservice as well as a discussion on what millennials truly crave and their relationship to the industries success.

Dan Park began the discussion on how Amazon Business is redefining the restaurant and foodservice industry with their new business focused features. Amazon Business attempts to integrate everything into one dashboard, such as ordering, purchasing, inventory tracking, and more. Many of the features discussed are shown in this figure.

This new style of ordering adds convenience and ease, which is what Amazon data analytics have tracked as trending statistics. In an industry (and world) with increased technological advances, the idea of convenience is becoming an expectation. Many companies will select options or systems that allow for simplified operating efficiencies and that is what Amazon Business aims to do.

Next, Jason Dorsey took the stage with high-level energy and much to say. Jason specializes as a generation’s speaker, using data analytics to track and define trends throughout generations. The goal of his lecture was to inform the industry of “the crave” when it comes to Millennials and Gen Z. Jason solves touch generational challenges for organizations and leaders. The diversity of his clients and research has allowed him to uncover trends, bring truth to many myths and perceived notions, allowing people to stay ahead of the curve.

Immediately, Jason expressed that Millennials are not actually as bad as their reputation makes them out to be. Using data analytics Jason has discovered that in fact, Millennials are not poor and lazy, but rather they are the largest generation making up the workforce as well as the generation spending the most money in our economy today. Another misconceived perception regarding millennial is that they act as if they are entitled. An interesting fact Jason brought up is that behavioral instincts are obtained, not something a person is born with. He attributes Millennial entitlement to they way they were raised, making it at fault for the Baby Boomer generation.

With a surplus of data and information, Jason’s primary message is regarding the importance of generational change and how perception isn’t always reality. As industry leaders it is important to utilize data to make decisions towards success. In addition, we need to be positively influencing and supporting younger generations, especially considering they are the future of our industry.







Ruck-Shockey’s NRA Show Highlights – Day 1

Posted on May 23rd, 2017

The National Restaurant Association Show was yet again another great opportunity for Ruck-Shockey to network and see first-hand the new technologies and trends entering the foodservice industry. There were many highlights of our visit and we wanted to be sure to share those with you.

Our first stop of the day was at Ecolab. Every year, we look forward to seeing the new products Ecolab has produced and this year we were very impressed. Annually, about 48 million people become sick from food eaten in the United States alone. This means that one in six people are threatened by foodborne illnesses each year. Some of the most saturated pathogens in these statistics are Escherichia Coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enterica. Ecolab has successfully developed an Antimicrobial Fruit and Vegetable Treatment. This Antimicrobial treatment is a no-rinse product that reduces 99.9% of pathogens found in fruits and vegetables. This is the industries first no-rinse produce wash that has been approved by the FDA and EPA.

Ruck-Shockey was fortunate enough to see the Antimicrobial Fruit and Vegetable Treatment in action. Using broccoli as an example, Ecolab walked us through the simplified process of rinsing vegetable during foodservice prep. It does more than just eliminating unhealthy pathogens. The final product after the rinse is clean and vibrant. The rinse eliminates waxes and residues, which allows the fruits and vegetables to shine in their true colors, which makes for beautiful foodservice presentations with salad bars and buffets. It is important to recognize that we eat with our eyes and we should always want out food to look at its best. Another great fact to recognize is that the produce can be consumed directly from the treatment; there is no need for an extra rinse step.

All it takes is a 90 second rinse in the Antimicrobial Treatment and your produce will be safer, better looking, and more delicious than ever before. Thank you to Ecolab for this amazing product! We look forward to helping make the foodservice industry safer and more beautiful with each rinse.













The Future of Food and Technology In Healthcare

Posted on May 23rd, 2017

The healthcare industry will experience changes in the near and extended future with initiatives to develop healthier and more nourishing dining options. Hospitals are striving to set healthier initiatives for their impact on the future of food in the industry. With increasing technologies, there are many new aspects to food production and consumption that can potentially change the dining experience, as we know it today.


One of the primary issues associated with the food industry is the lack of knowledge regarding exactly what it is we are consuming. Most of the time we are completely unaware of the specifics regarding what we are about to eat. Most consumers can’t accurately state the exact amount of calories they are consuming, specific grams of sugar, and even alcohol content. With brilliant minds and augmented technology, this uncertainty is changing. The creation of food scanners has allowed consumers to discover the exact measurements associated with the meals they are consuming. A company by the name of Tellspec has an AI-based food analysis engine-comprehensive solution for cloud-based spectroscopy. This device is beneficial in many ways. From allowing consumers to calculate and acquire extensive data regarding their ingredients and overall culinary product, this cloud based analysis device can assist in controlling diets and nutritional support. In addition to maintaining nutrition, this device can monitor food contamination and fraud, helping consumers and authorities control and prevent health related issues to food. This is certainly a product to keep on your radar, as it will inform consumers about specific ingredients and macronutrients.


Another trend that will be promising for the healthcare industry is the concept of Nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the concept of understanding how nutrition affects our metabolic pathways. There is always talk about new diets and nutrition trends, but dietitians are never on the same page. One dietitian will tell you carbohydrates are bad for you and the other will make it a staple part of your diet. Nutrigenomics is designed to build a diet customized to each individuals DNA and personalized needs. Considering each person is genetically different, it is said that each individuals diet should be different as well. Having your DNA sequenced at home, a smart app will inform you on which foods you should consume and which foods you should avoid. With this personalized diet system, a digital file will collect the nutritional information for your reference. This is only the stepping-stone to a personalized nutritionist making decisions specific to your DNA needs. This device will allow customers (or patients) to access healthier diets, understand what foods will help them live a happier lifestyle, and build grocery lists based on their needs.

In regards to food production, technology has developed new ways to create and present food for more efficient consumption. Especially for hospitals and elderly care facilities, a company called Biozoon has developed a 3D printing system that produces gourmet food for seniors who can only eat purified foods. This 3D printing technology can go beyond purified meals and future trends suggest that technology may be capable of complete back-of-house dining operations soon.


There are so many new technologies emerging in the food service industry. Whether you are a fan of technology or not, there is certainly a lot to be impressed about. With increasing technologies, there serves both opportunities and threats to the food and beverage industry and it is important to be aware of what they all are to strategically make decisions for your companies success.

Floor Care is an Art & Science

Posted on February 5th, 2017

Floors that have been well maintained from installation can last a long time. Understanding what the manufacturer requirements are is the first step. But what happens if you were not the person that selected or started that floor care program and inherited a mess? Do you have to replace the floor or do you restore it?

Years of build-up.  Dull and grey appearance.  What is the material on this floor? 

How can you determine what the floor will take in terms of chemical (stripper), pressure and time to get it back to its original (or near) condition? Our team was faced with a major restoration project and found layers of build-up on a soft floor (pictured above). The process was researched, discussed with other professionals and confirmed that we could use combination of chemicals and equipment with good old ‘elbow grease’ to get the old wax off.

What the team did to restore the floor: