Rep Prep: 10 Minutes with Foodservice Equipment Expert Bob Saraceno
Rep Prep from Eaton Marketing is an informative series that gives you access to one of our foodservice equipment experts. In this edition, spend 10 minutes with Bob Saraceno, and find out what aspect of foodservice he thinks has really changed in the last few years.
Give us a little background on yourself.
I've been married to my wife, Kristin, for 25 years this coming May. I'm a father to Rachel (18) and Keegan (14). I enjoy hunting, fishing and riding ATV’s - pretty much anything outside. I teach 8th grade boys in a Bible Study class on Sundays and Wednesdays when my schedule permits. My family and I are very involved in our church and pouring into the young leaders.
I’ve been in the foodservice industry for 26 years. I first started in the beverage side of the foodservice industry and later moved into center-of-the-plate style products. I enjoy working on projects and seeing the positive solutions made with the lines that we represent. For my first five years, I was the school specialist at Eaton Marketing. During those years, I created relationships with foodservice directors throughout the state, and along with the relationships, we created solutions for student nutrition. About four years ago, I spread my wings to work closely with dealers, consultants and multi-chain clients while still maintaining a close relationship with my school contacts throughout the state. I am currently still very active with the Florida School Nutrition Association (FSNA).
Out of all the lines represented by Eaton Marketing, which one is your favorite?
I cannot say that I have one line that is my favorite, as with each one, we are adding solutions to the needs of our customers. I do, though, enjoy the creative design factor when it comes to LTI.
Why is it your favorite?
I love to see the staff and students' eyes when the finished serving line and cafeteria renovation is revealed to them for the first time. In many cases, these projects are done while school is out and when the students return to school for the beginning of the year, their reaction is most rewarding to me.
How does it provide return on investment for operators?
In schools, the student participation is the key to generating income. In so many cases, old outdated serving lines are less efficient, and with the student population growth, these old serving lines cannot effectively handle the demand. Both the student and foodservice staff are affected with this issue.
Tell us about the most successful install you've ever seen using products from this line?
I’d have to say Land O Lakes High School in Pasco County. On this project we increased participation while decreasing the time it took for students to purchase their lunch. This allowed each student the opportunity to sit and enjoy their lunch while hanging with their friends.
Where is your favorite place to go out to dinner?
U Le Le in Tampa, Florida.
Does it contain foodservice equipment represented by Eaton?
What do you usually order?
With such a diverse menu, I’ve never had the same thing twice. The quail is awesome!
How has foodservice equipment changed in recent years?
The creative aspect has become the key. With the explosion of the craft beer segment, it’s not uncommon to see projects with 40-60 beers on tap, and that’s pretty cool.
What do you see in store for the foodservice industry?
I think the next 10 years will blow our minds with out of the box style restaurants. Customers that go out to eat are looking for a unique atmosphere along with an attractive and comfortable atmosphere (at least I am). A fresh look accompanied with fresh products are the new norm. I feel customers are looking for less food out of the box and more creativity with menus.
Bob Saraceno sees Florida's craft beer scene as a major food and beverage turning point in recent years. See the equipment that makes this trend possible.