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LAS VEGAS -- Jerry Weiner’s 40-plus-year career as a foodservice leader in the convenience store industry was honored at a morning session at the NACS Show Thursday. Weiner, vice president of foodservice for Rutter’s, the York, Pa.-based regional c-store chain, is retiring at the end of the year and was presented with a special plaque by one of his good friends in the business, Dr. Jack Cushman, executive vice president of central New York State c-store retailer Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes.
“Jerry is the guy who blazed the trail we all tread today,” said Cushman, as he presented the plaque to his “mentor” in the business amid a standing ovation of the pioneering convenience foodservice executive.
Weiner and Cushman were joined by Kwik Trip Director of Food Research and Development Jim Bressi to discuss how to create a successful foodservice program, as well as provide candid examples of lessons they learned from various trials and errors over the years.
The main takeaways included:
- Creating a successful foodservice program doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years to develop the right foodservice culture from top to bottom in the organization. It’s also an always evolving and never-ending journey.
- Your menu decides a lot of things: what suppliers you need, what kind of people you hire, what kind of technology and equipment you use.
- Foodservice programs require a relentless focus on training and food safety.
- Foodservice and retail are two completely different business models. For foodservice, “waste is your friend.”
- The future of foodservice is moving more and more toward complete customization. Consumers want their food prepared the way they want it, and will seek out destinations where they can customize their sandwich or drinks.
- Private label is still an untapped resource for foodservice.