The foodservice equipment and supplies industry is truly  global!  Many of the products in use every day have their origins overseas.

Hailing from just about every corner of the globe (and not¬†just from China, the “world’s factory floor”) non-food items work their way daily¬†through¬†the supply chain.

Countries that one may not immediately associate with the E&S trade are now key suppliers.

Heaters from Australia, dinnerware from Bangladesh, Combi Ovens from Denmark, dishwashers from Spain, and carts from Turkey are but a few of the offerings.

Traditional trading partners in Europe have upped the ante by providing ever more sophisticated versions of standard kitchen equipment and front of the house serving items.

International trade shows draw ever larger crowds, while domestic events struggle for attendance.

Entire support structures have emerged here in the US to facilitate this deluge.  Talent search firms, warehousing, parts and service suppliers, marketing consultants and others specializing in international commerce have established themselves stateside.

Formerly, foreign exchange rates and labor costs dictated the origin of goods.  These still play a part, but overseas companies regularly use financial hedging mechanisms to level out their costs.  Exporting is vital to those entities fabricating in areas that can not support their production domestically.

A typical path for a foreign manufacturer to penetrate the American market is to first establish a relationship with a US-based competitor to supply them with unique product under a branding agreement.

Subsequent to any successes, a non-native factory will then create a trading company, outsourcing much of its infrastructure.  Only after these phases are humming along will the brand fully embed itself on our shores, directly hiring personnel and occupying brick & mortar.  In some cases, local manufacturing will also supplement the imported product.

Beware: not all products are alike.  Manufacturing standards vary widely worldwide.  Codes and requirements are anything but uniform across the globe.  Buyers must take into account after-sale issues.  Merchandise longevity and serviceability should be considered paramount.

The world has gotten smaller, and yet more complicated for the E&S specifier.

Chef Beau MacMillan and his Henkelman – Elements New Jersey Chapter of the Association For Healthcare Foodservice won the inaugural “Chapter of the Year” award at last week’s conference.

The annual event, this year held in the Washington DC suburbs, features a tradeshow, culinary competition, silent auction, education, motivation, and networking!


Our area was well represented with strong attendance by the New York chapter, leading the way with culinary innovation, cutting edge facility design, and innovative meal delivery systems.