TabletopJournal's newest guest columnist, Greg Kirrish, brings a unique and varied perspective to the adventure we call tabletop. Greg's background includes working on both the operators and supplier side of tabletop, having been a top executive or the NRA Show for a number of years, and he's performed foodservice branding magic for both coffee and food companies.
Suffice it to say that Greg Kirrish has seen both tabletop and foodservice from virtually all vantage points. We're particularly pleased that Greg has taken some time to share his thoughts and views here.
Pretty sure we're all going to learn a little - ok, a lot.
Check out what Greg has to say by going here:
5 Second Brand Bites - An Indelible Impression.
1. Brands are the sum of your [company's/product's] purpose, personality, position, and promise.
2. Brands connect through emotion and confirm through reason.
3. Brands are about relationships, not transactions.
4. Brand leaders don't follow the pack.
5. Brand leaders breathe their brand every day.
- by Karen Post
The Branding Divain her book "Brain Tattoos - Creating Unique brands that Stick in Your Customer's Minds"
To order Brain Tattoos, go here:
A project with Sodexo Prestige to design tableware for a number of high profile events including the VIP hospitality areas of the Olympic Games, has just reached completion.
The brief was to provide hospitality tableware with a wide-rimmed, contemporary profile and the new ‘Precision’ range in Fine China from Dudson clearly fitted the bill. This new collection has been designed to showcase culinary creativity and features a stunning flat profile that allows food to be the focus.
However, the second part of the brief was more challenging, as it specified the creation of two signature pieces that clearly represent London. The design team at Dudson accepted the challenge, developing initial ideas into concepts using the latest CAD technology, before creating fired samples of the final two pieces. As the Olympic stadium is situated in east London and this is where the iconic London brick originated, it provided the inspiration for a ceramic box for the serving of petits fours in the shape of a London brick. The second piece is a flat rectangular plate with one upwardly curved edge, which features a channel in the curving shape of the river Thames across the middle – the ‘Thames Plate’.
“This was a really exciting project to be involved in, and gave us the chance to be a part of significant events like the Olympic Games,” says Danny Goodall, Design Director at Dudson. “The Sodexo brief gave us an opportunity to create innovative items which will now be used to showcase British design and manufacturing excellence to visitors from all over the world.”
You can see the entire range of tabletop products that Dudson has for the hospitality market by going here:
If you come to next week’s NRA Show in Chicago looking for Tuxton China, you may have a little trouble finding them. You may even walk right by them as they will be sporting a brand new look….with a new booth….new products….new people….and an incredible new catalog to help you remember what the new Tuxton is all about when you get back home. Talk about brand evolution!
Tuxton now offers several types of products – their AlumaTux high-alumina dinnerware, their Dinnerware Collection of flint-body and porcelain dinnerware shapes, TuxCare, Tuxton’s complete line of dinnerware products for the healthcare markets, and DuraTux, a wide ranging line of tabletop accessories and ovenware.
AlumaTux, Tuxton China’s new lightweight, durable body, was launched last year with two shapes – Modena and San Marino. Since the launch, Tuxton has added to the already complete range to include such specialty items as compartmental serving trays and accompanying stackable ramekins, making AlumaTux ideal for fine dining, hotels, cruise lines and country clubs. Operators looking to save money and in need of a more durable and upscale product would be wise to consider Tuxton’s AlumaTux.
But, not to worry, the traditional Dinnerware Collection shapes that have made Tuxton China a standard in great value dinnerware remain – only now with even more shapes, items, and colors. Introduced at the Chicago show will be Tuxton’s newest traditional shape – VENICE – a coupe shape dinnerware range that will initially be introduced in an off-white, eggshell color body. The new VENICE body color will make it a perfect match for mixing with Tuxton’s existing Reno and Nevada shapes, giving operators maximum flexibility. Later this year, VENICE will also be available in a porcelain white body color, as well. Of, course, Tuxton’s ever popular Concentrix (7 colors!), their multiple embossed shapes, and their Mid-Rim designs all remain. Chain favorite designs like Green Bay, Bahamas, and Emerald continue to also remain as cornerstones of the Tuxton China Dinnerware Collection lineup.
TuxCare, Tuxton’s healthcare dinnerware range is perfect whether you operate a nursing home, assisted living facility, hospital or full care facility. TuxCare plates are designed to combine with insulated domes, bases and other innovative food delivery systems for extended heat retention.
In addition, Tuxton China’s TuxCare range of colors support the Boston University study that found that Alzheimer and advanced Dementia patients increased their food intake by 25% and their liquid intake by 75% with the use of bright colored tableware.
DuraTux, Tuxton’s line of ceramic tabletop accessories and ovenware, offers one of the widest selection of those items in the industry. All of Tuxton’s DuraTux products are designed to handle the demands of any fast-paced restaurant environment without breaking your budget. And, like their dinnerware products, all of Tuxton’s ovenware items are fully-vitrified, microwave-safe, oven-proof and dishwasher-friendly.
We think you're going to even like the way Tuxton's new catalog sorts their shapes by items. So...if you're looking for pasta bowls....there's a section on just pasta bowls.....if you're looking for square plates, there's a section of - just square plates! Tuxton arranges their new catalog the same way you buy your dinnerware....making it easier for you to find what you're looking for!
You can see the entire range of Tuxton China’s dinnerware and servingware products by going here:
Or….you can stop by their Booth # 818 at the NRA Show in Chicago. But, be careful – you just might not recognize the new-look Tuxton.
According to Marketwatch, Libbey reported 1st quarter results yesterday. Sales for the first quarter were $187.8 million, compared to $181.0 million for the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 3.8 percent (or 5.3 percent excluding currency fluctuation). Income from operations grew 39.6 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2011, increasing to $14.9 million from $10.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income of $0.6 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, was reported for the first quarter, compared to a net loss of $1.0 million, or a net loss of $0.05 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter
Libbey sales to U.S. and Canadian foodservice glassware customers increased by 10.3 percent. Glassware sales to U.S. and Canadian business-to-business customers increased 4.3 percent during the first quarter of 2012, while sales to retail customers in the U.S. and Canada were essentially flat.
To read the entire article and learn more of Libbey’s Q1 2012 results, go here:
To see the entire collection of Libbey products for the foodservice business, go here: http://www.libbey.com/
In a move that TabletopJournal thinks makes great sense for all involved, it was announced today that a sales & marketing cooperation for the U.S. market among these premier German brands Bauscher, Tafelstern, WMF, and Hepp is to get into effect as of May 1st.
According to the press release:
"Bauscher USA, Inc. and WMF Americas, Inc. have agreed to a sales and marketing cooperation for the USA, starting May 1, 2012. The alliance will focus on hotel, casino, restaurant, private club, and healthcare clients. During the remainder of 2012, all aspects of sales, marketing, and customer service will be harmonized to ensure a high level customer experience. Programs with key accounts and dealers will be streamlined.
The four brands are an ideal match through their category expertise and German roots. They have a long history of cooperation in the global market. This natural union will allow a comprehensive tabletop solution to be promoted by a joined sales force."
More to come......stay tuned.
Tabletop leader Steelite was praised earlier today in their local U.K. newspaper for going against the U.K. economic trend of falling into a second recession. Local newspaper The Sentinel highlighted results for several tabletop companies including Steelite telling of how the hospitality tabletop company used its strengths in the global marketplace to buoy itself against a particularly tough U.K. market.
According to The Sentinel, “Steelite sales for 2011 reached £66.3 million, up 9.4 per cent from £60.6 million the year before. Pre-tax profits were unchanged at £7.9 million due to high levels of investment.”
Steelite has increased it’s U.K. factory employment by more than 7% according to The Sentinel and plans to add 200+ more employees when their adjoining U.K. new factory comes onboard. Steelite has planned to spend £12 million on the factory that will be next to the existing company location.
Steelite Chief Executive Kevin Oakes, spoke about how the company has managed to grow in the various global markets. Calling the company's performance as "outstanding”, Oakes said: "We have reinvested heavily in all areas of the business, particularly manufacturing but also sales, marketing and training which has put us in a really good position. Our results are down to an excellent team effort – we have great people in every department in every office."
With more than 80 percent of its sales reportedly coming from outside the U.K., Steelite sales in the U.S. were up by 11.25% this past year while building its initial sales in Eastern Europe and Asia.
CEO Oakes added: ”I have just returned from Asia which is a very competitive market and customers there place a great deal of faith in the fact that our products are made in England. The UK remains very challenging and continues to bump along the bottom. That said, in our sector there are some brands that are doing very well and I believe that is because the products they offer are very good and they are reinvesting in their businesses; that is what we are doing.”
Well Done. In challenging times…….
You can read the entire article by going here:
You can see the entire lineup of Steelite products by going here: http://www.steelite.com/
Lodge Manufacturing has been making great cast iron cookware and serveware - in America - since 1896. So, if you've been looking to give your white dinnerware a little texture....a little color.....maybe even a little personality....consider Lodge serveware pieces. Available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, Lodge cast iron serveware pieces are induction friendly and great at keeping the hot foods hot...and the cold foods cold!
Chef John Folse - "Others try to mimic what cast iron does naturally. No other cookware maintains heat better or is as versatile or durable."
To view the entire lineup of Lodge cast iron serveware pieces, go here: http://lodgemfg.com/
In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy looks back at the performance of key indicators during the first quarter of 2012. Bolstered by an improving economic environment, restaurant sales and staffing levels registered solid gains in the first quarter. In addition, restaurant operators remain optimistic about growth in the coming months, despite challenges on the cost side of the business.
The first quarter represented a positive start to the year for the restaurant industry. On the demand side, restaurant sales continued to trend upward in the first quarter, as consumers largely shrugged off rising gas prices and unleashed some of their pent-up demand for food away from home. Although food costs remain elevated and rising gas prices are a threat to the recovery, restaurant operators are generally optimistic that business conditions will improve in the months ahead.
Here is a look back at the trends in key indicators during the first quarter of 2012.
Economy is improving. With U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth likely in the 2.5-to-3 percent range in the first quarter, private sector employers beefed up their payrolls. The national economy added a net 635,000 jobs in the first quarter, up from 492,000 in the fourth quarter and the strongest quarterly gain in six years.
Sales are growing. Buoyed by the improving jobs picture, restaurant sales continued to trend steadily upward in the first quarter, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Eating and drinking place sales totaled a record $129.4 billion in the first quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, up 2.1 percent from the fourth quarter’s seasonally-adjusted sales volume of $126.8 billion. March 2012 also represented the 11th consecutive month in which restaurant sales hit a new record high.
Restaurants are staffing up. Along with steady sales growth, restaurants added more than 100,000 jobs in two consecutive quarters for the first time on record. Eating and drinking places – the primary component of the restaurant industry which accounts for roughly three-fourths of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce – added a net 103,100 jobs in the first quarter, which followed a gain of 101,400 jobs in the fourth quarter. Since the employment recovery began in March 2010, eating and drinking places have added 562,600 jobs, with current industry staffing levels standing more than 180,000 jobs above the pre-recession peak.
Food prices remain elevated. Although average wholesale food prices declined slightly in the first quarter – down 0.6 percent from their strong fourth quarter level – they still remain extremely elevated. The first quarter decline came on the heels of an eight percent annual increase in 2011 – the largest gain in more than three decades – and an overall gain of more than 26 percent in the last five years.
Menu price growth picking up. Menu prices rose 3.0 percent between the first quarters of 2011 and 2012, their strongest four-quarter gain in nearly three years and slightly above the 2.8 percent gain in overall consumer prices. Quickservice menu prices (3.2 percent) posted somewhat stronger growth than the fullservice segment (2.9 percent) during the four-quarter period. If the current pace continues through the rest of 2012, it would represent the strongest annual menu price gain since 2009, when prices rose 3.5 percent.
Operators remain optimistic. Each month during the first quarter, a majority of restaurant operators said they expect their sales to be higher in the months ahead, according to the National Restaurant Association’s monthly tracking survey. In March, 53 percent of restaurant operators said they expected to have higher sales in six months, while only nine percent expected their sales volume to decline in six months (both compared to the same period in the previous year).
Quarterly Change in Eating and Drinking Place Employment
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Figures are seasonally-adjusted
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Figures are seasonally-adjusted
We've said many times that if our readers - restaurateurs.....dealers.....manufacturers.....or, just plain tabletop fans want to get a free MBA in marketing and branding, then we would suggest that they sign up to be a Maker's Mark Ambassador. These people do one of the best jobs we know at connecting to their consumer. This postcard that we just received was all because we had't signed onto their website in a while, using our unique Ambassador number.
How many of you have a "lost customer" follow-up program like this?
As an adult beverage, Maker's Mark does a terrific job of walking the fine line of promoting responsibility and having fun. And they do it with some incredible marketing and sales promotion. But, the thing they do really well is they CONNECT and RE-CONNECT with their customers.
How well do you connect with your customers? Really?
So....if you want an example how to do things right, we'd suggest you sign up to be a Maker's Mark Ambassador today. We are pretty sure you'll be glad you did.
Oh, by the way.....they make a pretty damn good bourbon, too.