What was most evident at this year’s NRA Show was the increased number of foodservice operators that stopped by our booth with purpose and intent to buy. Many opened up and shared that they were simply ready to make a change – Break Free – and upgrade to a better solution – Pro Up.
NRA this year wasn’t the same as past years where the majority of guests visited the booth with a “What’s New?” approach. Don’t get us wrong– we welcome all! But what was different this year was that our booth was pulsating with savvy individuals that had done their homework, knew more about our products, solutions and material options. Their main purpose for entering the Cambro booth was to share their stories, and to get that last bit of reassurance that Cambro products were going to solve their operational challenges.
A few others were eager to stop by to let our team know that after upgrading their products following last year’s NRA show, what a difference it made in their operation! Testimonials show that our products do exactly as advertised. They allow professionals to do what they do best.
Here are the conversations that ruled on the show floor:
1. Shelving Solutions
Today, organization and sanitation are imperative in running a successful foodservice operation. But it’s simply not enough to replace existing shelving with the same stuff or even the same layout. Operators realize that they need to take a step back and assess what may be causing a hindrance in their operation so that they could upgrade to a better solution– more importantly, a solution that is going to withstand the test of time. Cleaning, space issues and efficiency were a few of the top concerns that customers shared.
We thought that we would also take the time to mention that Professional Rust Extractors do in fact exist! We had one booth visitor openly share the following: “I am concerned that the paint chipping off my shelving units is going to contaminate my food.” Did we mention that Cambro Shelving includes a lifetime warranty against rust and corrosion? This is precisely the reassurance we were referring to earlier.
2. Customized Storage
This isn’t your nana’s Tupperware. This year, it was very clear that storage is becoming more and more customized. It’s no longer a box with a lid. Operators are looking for containers for specific uses and temperatures. “Do you have a lid that provides an air-tight seal?” “What can I use to store allergen-free ingredients?” “Do you have food pans that can withstand heat?” And the list goes on. Just in case you were wondering, the answer was “yes” to all of these.
A candid conversation with Joe Naifem of Naifem’s Deli and Grill about the process he goes through to cover his soups resulted in him confessing: “I’m called the King of Cellophane”, referring to his use of plastic wrap instead of proper reusable lids. Joe was ready to Break Free and Pro Up and to retire this title for good!
3. Transporting Food
Flexibility and Sustainability was the name of the game when it came to food transporters. Operators were looking for “hot boxes” that would rid them of the need to keep multiple transporters on hand for different purposes. They were looking for solutions that kept hot or cold food safe, in the most sustainable way possible. The Combo Cart Plus received a lot of attention for its flexibility in transporting food pans, sheet pans, and pizza boxes but also for its ability to safely transport hot or cold food, without needing electricity. Energy savings was also a big concern from operators, but distinguishing the Combo Cart Plus from metal hot holding cabinets was a cinch with the Combo Cart’s reputation for being the only hot holding cabinet to be endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association. That gave operator’s the final seal of approval!
The mass availability of information resources is making foodservice operators more knowledgeable than ever. Conversations about complete solutions and ways to improve operations extend far beyond basic product information seeking. The foodservice industry is a competitive one and operators are looking for ways to partner with companies that are focused on their success. We love the increased dialogue and are glad to offer many of the sought-after solutions.