We've done a lot of work in the Florida school systems, solving a range of different school nutrition challenges. Decreasing budgets, falling student participation, new nutrition standards, building code regulations -- the list goes on and on. But one of the things we've realized is these concepts and solutions don't just apply to schools. They can benefit a whole range of Florida foodservice operations.
First, let's back up a little to tell you why.
LTI is an important part of the Eaton Marketing line of solutions, especially in schools. LTI manufactures serving lines, millwork and counters, grab and go stations, service carts, and more. Basically, they make the equipment responsible for literally moving food from the hands of the operator to the hands of the customer, and that's an important transaction.
In schools, it means making serving lines appealing. Adding custom décor such as school logos or colors. Making the serving process more efficient so students don't have to stand in line for half the lunch period. Ensuring foods are held and served in proper storage conditions. And while we provide most of our LTI equipment to Florida schools, we also realize these challenges exist in other types of foodservice operations.
HOTELS AND HOSPITALITY
In hotels, millwork and custom counter arrangements can help increase grab-n-go sales, allow operators to transform morning coffee bars to profit-enhancing cocktail service in the evening, and enhance the look, feel, and accessibility of a continental breakfast service. People typically browse a buffet before deciding whether or not they want to purchase access to it, so making the space as enticing as possible can be the difference between selling it or not.
Restaurant design is changing. We see more open kitchens than ever before, and chef counters are becoming an ever popular part of the dining experience. Custom counter work can enhance these areas where diners can pull up a stool, grab a bite, and watch their local chef talent prepare dishes on the line.
Restaurants are also looking for new ways to make money. As a result, hybrid concepts are becoming more common. Think about a fine dining restaurant that operates as a lunchtime butcher shop and deli.
Similar to hybrid restaurant concepts, convenience stores are looking for new ways to attract customers, and part of those efforts include becoming more like fast casual and self-serve restaurants. If your local coffee shop is becoming more like a restaurant, then your local c-store is becoming more like a fast casual coffee shop.
Modular serving stations, ice cream service, and countertop displays are all part of the equation.
When companies can keep employees on campus, the benefits are numerous. First, there's an additional profit center. Second, companies can help ensure healthier foods that can lead to more efficient work habits. Third and maybe even most important, employees will spend more time together, particularly staff members for different departments in the organization.
Google is a great example of this type of thinking. In their corporate facilities, they strategically place "microkitchens" in areas between traditionally unrelated areas of the business. The finance department will snag grab-n-go yogurt with the marketing department. R&D will stand in the serving line with HR. And executives might get coffee with people from the mail room. Food, and in this case food service, brings people together.