As I write my first Quarterly message as President of SHFM, we are ushering in a new year, under a new presidential administration, following an election that broke all the conventional rules. Regardless of our respective political viewpoints, change seems to be all around us, offering the hope of a brighter future, albeit with differing ideas on how to get there.
There is a well-known 19th Century French proverb, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." Translated, it means “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” First used by French novelist Alphonse Karr, the phrase reminds us of the cyclical nature of human history.
The same can be said about Workplace Hospitality. The technological advances in our industry have been truly remarkable, but as much as we evolve, success continues to be marked by a strong focus on excellent food, great service and hiring and retaining talented people. Similarly, the latest culinary trends offer exciting new adventures to tantalize the taste buds, while the Slow Food Movement and Menus of Change harken to a simpler time.
We love the convenience of pre-ordering and pre-paying for our meals at the corporate café, but I want a fresh meal made from wholesome, locally-sourced ingredients.
Our refrigerators can talk to us and create our shopping lists, yet I still like grinding my own almond butter at the supermarket and enjoy interacting with my local coffee barista who helps me select the most interesting new sustainably sourced coffee flavor.
We use delivery services like Amazon Grocery, but I’ll drive out to the East end of Long Island in the fall to pick my own apples and pumpkins from a local farm.
We eat dinner out several times a week (sushi, yes please), and I also make weekly trips to the farmers market for our home-cooked meals. (Even during the chilly New York winter we have a farmers market with plenty of delicious offerings, including fresh breads, pickles, cheeses, eggs and root veggies stockpiled by local farmers during growing season.)
We love services like Blue Apron, because we want to make our own wholesome meals, but we don’t have time to shop for every little ingredient. We live in interesting times; we curate our lives, just like our news and our social media feeds. I am therefore privileged to be associated with an organization that “gets it,” and strives to remain relevant. Our members are the movers and shakers of workplace hospitality, the trendsetters and the visionaries. But at the end of the day, we are family, a community of folks who are delivering delicious, wholesome food and great service every day.
We have much to learn from each other, a most precious gift that our members give freely and your generosity seems to know no bounds. 2017 promises to be an exciting year for SHFM and our members, with excellent and timely programming and networking opportunities that are truly unmatched.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Holly Von Seggern | SHFM President