Article by Jonathan White, White Coffee
It’s that time of the year again— assessing what went right (and wrong) in the outgoing year, and planning to be bigger and better for the upcoming year. There’s plenty of cause for optimism, as recent statistics indicate that the local foodservice economy remains strong and is well positioned for continued growth in 2018.
At the same time, a “rising tide” will not necessarily lift “all boats”- there are just too many operational costs (that will continue to increase- see the minimum wage increases as a prime example) in today’s hyper-paced world, here are a couple of thoughts that you may want to incorporate into your corporate and personal planning goals and New Year Resolutions:
1. Regulation Isn’t Going Away.
From NYC delivery times, to increased food safety modernization act requirements, from revised menu requirements to different employee benefit rules. Many new rules will apply for 2018. Have you checked the impact? Be sure to consider the differing viewpoints and policies from national and local changes.
2. Competitors Will Get Bigger and Tougher.
Every show we go to, we see fewer but larger customers. Programs are more comprehensive and more competitive. Wins are larger, and losses are more significant. It reminds one of the need to capitalize on critical opportunities and to stay closer than ever with your key customer and clients and insure you are constantly giving real value and a competitive advantage.
3. Millenials Will Rule the World.
Products and service. Convenience and Technology. Millenials are used to having what they want, how they want it, and when they want it (now). How do your products and services match up to that? And how do your products offer constant “improvement” from the previous generation of “whatever it was”? Go to parts of the city where millenials shop and spend to get ideas from retail marketplace (not necessarily food). Look how the hotel industry has morphed in its offerings to millenials.
4. What’s Old Stays Old.
Whatever speed of innovation that you have experienced in the last ten years will only accelerate. Think about your technology, new food items, and the online world for every service imaginable. Things that were “good” before” may not come back so fast- and by the time they do, the world will have turned upside down several times over. Expect shorter product cycles- both on the development side, and on the “shelf life” of any given idea.
5. Time is Not on Your Side.
There used to be time to sit back and figure this out. With the speed of change, working on these issues has to be a priority. As easy as it is for the “every day fires” to dominate the daily agenda, it is critical that these strategic issues become prioritized. Work “on” your business, not “in” your business. (Think about an outside peer group where you go offsite to learn and brainstorm with other professionals in your field/region). Don’t just do this at the beginning of the year without regularly “checking in” on your progress- and make course corrections (small and, if needed, big) right away. Be sure to measure results with specific, applicable metrics that truly tell you “how you’re doing.”
New Year’s Resolutions are often broken- but these underlying truths will stay there whether you adapt or not. And you surely fail to adapt at your own peril. With a little bit of planning and larger bit of big thinking, you can make 2018 your biggest and best year yet.
Jonathan White is the Executive Vice President at White Coffee Corporation in Long Island City, NY. Learn more about how Jonathan and his team can help you at their website.