Koetke of Kendall Colleges School of Culinary Arts Tells Operators to Increase Wow Factor

CHICAGO, July 29, 2010 – Expressing bridled optimism for the future, Christopher Koetke, MBA, CEC, CCE, dean of Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts and vice president of culinary arts for Laureate International Universities network, identified food-prepared-away-from-home trends with his keynote presentation at this year’s Foodservice at Retail Exchange (FARE ’10) in Rosemont, Ill., on June 28.


Approximately 500 retailers and operators who provide prepared foods to go learned that three key factors influence consumption trends in today’s marketplace: a deep economic recession, the aging of Baby Boomers and the purchasing power of Generation Y. 


“These conditions together create a unique situation in which society is consumed by the desire to conserve money, an increased interest in health and a wish to preserve the environment,” Koetke said. “In terms of foodservice, consumers demand simpler fare with a renewed focus on comfort food.  How will these trends continue to play out? How will they influence food initiatives from manufacturer to on-the-go food retailer? Most importantly, what can we do to satisfy and nurture a changing, more reflective, but also more value-conscious, consumer?”


Koetke outlined prevailing issues that impact food purchases of consumers. Citing recent data from such sources as the National Restaurant Association and its environmental initiative, Conserve: Solutions for Sustainability; Mintel International; and the American Culinary Federation, Koetke pinpointed operators’ commitment to sustainability and energy conservation, increased public concern about food safety, quality of personnel training and service, and the obesity epidemic among children as significantly influencing consumer choice.


Among prepared foods, “local and simple,” “better for you” options, regional ethnic, small plates/variety and “upscaled downscale” are driving much of consumer demand, Koetke said.


Koetke concluded his presentation by encouraging the audience to invest in people to enhance service quality and create a “wow” experience with every retail-foodservice occasion.


FARE is the cross-channel event for retail foodservice with the mission of providing in-depth trends translation, information and ideas exchange with immediate takeaway value for operators of C-stores, supermarkets, colleges and universities, drug/mass retailers, recreation and transportation. FARE’s sister publication, Fare magazine, is the premier B2B publication serving retailers and operators who provide prepared foods to go.


About KendallCollege’s School of Culinary Arts

Founded in 1985, the School of Culinary Arts at KendallCollege is among the premier culinary-training programs in the United States, offering associate and bachelor’s degrees and certificates in culinary arts as well as associate degrees and certificates in baking and pastry. The school occupies a stunning “Riverworks” campus near downtown Chicago. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has accredited the Culinary Arts Associate program since 1988 and the Baking & Pastry Associate program since 2008. Kendall, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2009, also operates Schools of Hospitality Management, Business and Education. KendallCollege is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org, 1-312-263-0456. KendallCollege is a member of the Laureate International Universities network. For more information, visit www.kendall.edu.