GOODBYE 2017, HELLO 2018

In Solution Provider, Special Features, Vol 21

Like every type of business at the end of the year, business owners will be busy making plans for the new year whereas for employees, the annual review comes around. A reflection of the past year is important as we chart our journey for 2018 and to this end, we have gathered 3 different industry personalities from different angles to share with us their opinions on 2017 and what they hope to see in 2018 for the industry in this region.

I am happy to see Katty’s effort on MISE EN PLACE taking shape, bearing fruit and gathering traction in bringing people together in the industry.

The Food Service Professionals Fellowship (FSP) also aims to do the same – to break down barriers between consultants, reps, manufacturers and suppliers. For far too long people in this industry have looked at each other as tradesmen having their own boundaries to safeguard tightly. Knowledge and information are not shared.

Once people see themselves as professionals and experts in their own fields, then they will pursue knowledge and conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the ideas they had already assimilated.

The coming year 2018 looks to be quite challenging with these being election years in Indonesia and Malaysia. Rest of South East Asia is still rather flat in terms of project opportunities.

However what is deemed as good about cyclical challenges is that they present new opportunities to get creative.

I would encourage everyone in the industry to specialise. Specialised knowledge is really lacking in our industry. Everyone is either selling or supplying in a general sense with no specialised focus in mind. It is the odd one or two who have broken away from the ring.

Become for instance a cook chill, mass catering, waste systems or hospital meal systems expert and combine your specialised knowledge with systems packaging.

It is time to get creative with our ideas and pursue the markets that we feel holds opportunities for us.

I hope to see our market, not just busy in terms of activities in the years to come but rather spoken of as a place in the world where the who’s who on specialised foodservice systems and methodology know how, come out to play and to also display their amazing skills, transforming the businesses for all our clients.

Mr. Alburn William
President of CKP Hospitality Consultants
Founder of Food Service Professionals
Fellowship (FSP)

GOOD MORNING ASIA
As the year 2017 draws to a close we tend to reflect back on what we have achieved, and what we did not as well as what progressed and what did not.

Our own profession is a dynamic profession, 99% of the time – no two days are the same for a professional chef as customers, scenarios and supplies change daily. But let’s take a look at 2017;

In my opinion, the growth of the Celebrity chef on Television, has not been good for our industry, as it only adds commercial value for television companies to promote supplies of certain items. It has damaged the young chefs coming through our industry by thinking that they could be ‘SuperStars’ without having to put in the hard yards then drop out after either a burnout or not really knowing the basics and following bad habits.

Education is the way forward and it can be done in many ways, i.e. colleges, attending workshops, hands on experience, studying then practicing to hone our skills to meet the customers’ needs and satisfaction.

Competitions to me are also education. As a competitor, you are competing against 3 elements, the score card, your colleague but more important competing against yourself! You need to challenge yourself to go that extra step and practice the dishes or techniques. Imagine turning up to an event where there are 500 entries, you as a competitor have the opportunity to pick the brains of all the other competitors and get some good ideas for further development and making your own twist. After all come on, if we can take ideas from books, then this should be taken from competitions as well.

Malaysian chefs are coming together as one voice for Malaysia, and if we are all honest with each other, this has not been the case for a period for whatever reason, BUT now it is good that Malaysia has a united voice and Penang is working with KL and KL with the East Coast and there is a sense of brotherhood amongst the kitchen Fraternity. We all know the saying that you can break one chopstick, but its very difficult to break many chop sticks at once. This development by the chefs has been done by the chefs which leads to the next chapter for Malaysia.

The next chapter is the WorldChefs Congress which will take place in KL from 12th – 14th of July 2018. Imagine 1500 chefs descending in Malaysia to have an understanding of the cuisine – the culture and naturally the beauty of Malaysia. Michelin star chefs from Asia and Europe will share their success route with us and some of their own secrets, networking with other chefs and countries, one of the top competitions in the world, Young Chefs forum, and this with the support of Taylors University, Berjaya University and Clinatro makes this a strong Malaysian support from our educators. BUT now we need the chefs to join in. The cost may seem high, but how can you put a price on knowledge and learning for your own future? “Don’t Get Left Behind!”

wish all of you a safe end of the year and a great year ahead for 2018.

Kind regards,
Dr. Rick Stephen CMC Hon. Youngsan University
Continental Director – Asia
rick_stephen@sats.com.sg

During 2017, innovation has been mostly focused on product enhancements rather than step-change disruptive innovation. The proliferation of accelerated cooking technology continues with numerous technology platforms to catalyse top-line growth for food service operators. Combination cooking that involves steam and convection will continue to achieve wide spread acceptance. Accelerated cooking ovens that combine air impingement and microwave will continue to get smaller and faster. This will help the industry grow, especially in the convenience store sector.

The rapid increase in food delivery has given rise to many innovations in packaging and holding technology that will continue into 2018 and beyond. Also, the rapid increase of mobile online ordering is leading to the challenge of how to incorporate this added demand into the commercial food service kitchen.

On the cold side, there has been considerable investment in phasing out HCFC refrigerants with natural refrigerants such as R290. In addition to not harming the earth’s protective layer of ozone, R290 has an added benefit of increasing energy efficiency by 10-20%. The phase-out will occur on a steady pace even in developing countries.

The year 2018 will clearly be the tipping point where the digital transformation in food service takes place. More and more of the foodservice equipment is being digitised and the back of the house kitchen is getting connected to the front of the house for production scheduling and control. Many start-up entrepreneurial companies are developing digital solutions for restaurants ranging from menu management to production scheduling to asset management. There will be consolidation of some of these players and the food equipment manufacturers will develop more competencies in this space. The rise of digital free-trade zones throughout the world is accelerating this trend.

Beverage business will continue to innovate around healthy meal replacement beverages, including blended beverages, and fancy coffee, including nitro. Equipment will become more multifunctional, with one piece of equipment providing a variety of beverages, both hot and cold, in a small footprint.

There will be more ambition for continued growth by expanding delivery business and, potentially, its menu range with additional investments in technology. There will be a lot of re-thinking the food service production to reduce cost, improve cooking performance, reliability and overall ease of operation. Some of this re-thinking will be centered around these next generation mobile ovens that can finish cooking food as it is being delivered to the customer.

Automation will continue to enter the industry, not so much with robots, but with “invisible automation.” Much like the Tesla can perform driving functions without a robot actually driving the car, food service equipment will start getting smarter with embedded automation to reduce labor. Automation and artificial Intelligence should not be something to fear as it will create new jobs in the industry to improve food quality, speed of service and overall health and food safety. Whereas many doomsday scenarios are circulating around out-of-control automation or extreme joblessness, I do not see that happening.

There will be a whole range of new jobs for young people focused on building process knowledge in the industry. Radio Frequency will start to get some traction in the industry as another method of heating food combined with hot air convection and infrared heat. RF is ideal for thawing product isothermally, significantly reducing the time and space required for thawing food prior to cooking. This technology has the potential to create a step change in cooking performance in the industry.

Lastly, French fries will continue to be the number one selling item in 2018 – as they have been for the last 30 years. With their maximum hold time of 5-7 minutes home delivery options are limited. For you entrepreneurs reading this article, please consider this a challenge and I look forward to hearing from you!

Mr. Rick Caron
Chief Innovation Officer
from Welbilt

Eileen ChanGOODBYE 2017, HELLO 2018