The past year has taught foodservice equipment manufacturers that it is impossible to plan for every scenario. But as the market gets back to its feet again and the economy stabilises, it is clear that those that can embrace change to drive business advancement will stand the best chance of recovery, writes Steve Maahs, president and COO at Alto-Shaam…
If 2020 was known as a year of uncertainty, then 2021 marks a year of change.
Forced operator closures. Wavering consumer sentiment. An unprecedented inflation of material and shipping costs. Increased labor shortages. These are just a few of the economic impacts that the foodservice industry has experienced – and will continue to navigate going forward.
As a result of these impacts, we’re now seeing new acquisitions and mergers frequently appearing in the news.
Without question, the coverage of these consolidations paints a picture of how our industry is evolving rapidly.
However, this is just one business growth strategy occurring today. Many organizations are undergoing less immediately visible changes from within.
So, how are foodservice equipment manufacturers independently pivoting to meet the growing needs of the industry?
After decades of navigating crises of varying degrees, these are the top perspectives that I believe are the key to moving our businesses and industry forward:
1. Turning challenges into opportunities
Successfully leading a business through challenge means flipping the definitions of challenge and success altogether.
At Alto-Shaam, challenges are opportunities to think and operate differently. As a family-owned, private company, this means actively removing unnecessary barriers or red tape in the relentless pursuit of solving our customers’ challenges.
Over the course of a year, our team has focused on enhancing the customer experience at every touchpoint.
Part of this has included investment in high-quality technology to meet customers where they prefer to be reached—whether in-person at a demo or tradeshow or virtually through a webinar or video consultation.
We have also looked from within to streamline our processes and build greater efficiencies for our customers.
Anticipating the supply and freight challenges currently transcending global economies, our Alto-Shaam team entered 2021 believing that these challenges were our opportunity to invest in materials and improve our own processes.
Today, I am proud to say that the Alto-Shaam family has successfully mitigated significant supply chain and lead times issues for our customers thanks to our culture of continuous improvement and solutions-driven thinking.
2. Embracing change
For any organization, change is never easy. It requires an intentional disruption of thinking daily.
Since the beginning, Alto-Shaam’s story has always been about all of us. Together, we work with our partners and customers to create new paths.
Reliable and value-added commercial kitchen equipment is just the beginning. At Alto-Shaam, we believe in sacrificing what is comfortable and familiar to find newer and better ways to build products and services that benefit our customers.
Over the past year, our team has remained dedicated to meeting our customers’ needs through new product innovation.
While others in the industry may have scaled back investments on innovation, Alto-Shaam saw it as a time to reinvest in products that address evolving trends and demands.
Our team is excited to launch six new products in August at the North American Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Show.
With so many new innovations across multiple categories, operations of all sizes will be able to find equipment that enables them to differentiate and grow their business in today’s competitive climate.