Thank You to Our Direct Connection Sponsors!
Sponsor Spotlight
Introducing the kitchen of the future
RATIONAL USA releases the iCombi Pro and iVario product lines.  

The iCombi Pro offers commercial kitchens higher productivity, shorter cooking times and lower energy consumption compared to the previous model, while still providing outstanding results. New, market-leading features include time and energy-optimized cooking for high-production kitchens, and the ability to intervene when using an automatic cooking path. There also is an ultra-fast, approximately 12-minute interim cleaning cycle.

New to North America, the iVario is a multifunctional cooking system that exceeds the capabilities of conventional tilting skillets, kettles and deep fryers. It’s up to four times faster and uses up to 40% less electricity than conventional equipment. Built with intelligence, the iVario learns cooking patterns, heats upquickly with patented heating technology, and allows the users to divide the iVario pan base into as many as four individual cooking zones. 

Learn MORE about the iCombi Pro and iVario here
Leadership Spotlight
BizEssentials Webinar Series
Who's the Client | September 9 @ 3:00 pm EDT
Projects today have many players, so much so that it can become challenging to stay focused on the client. But is there just one client? With multiple constituents – and often not all on the same page – how do consultants today know they are truly benefiting the end user? Especially if the end user is not paying for the consultant’s work directly. In fact, who is the real end user?

This webinar will take a look at best practices for navigating the mine fields of diverse opinions, especially when the person writing the consultant’s paycheck might be the least agreeable to the consultant’s views. A design consultant, an MAS consultant, an operator, and an architect will join together on a dynamic panel to address frequent obstacles and approaches to managing them to a successful outcome.

Moderator: Karen Malody, FCSI
Panelists: Teri Kidwell, David Kutsanai, Russ Benson, Larry Stuart

Are you interested in sponsoring a future webinar? Sponsorship opportunities are still available! Visit the BizEssentials webpage for more information.
FCSI Experts Network
FCSI Experts Network
FCSI The Americas’ Experts Network is the foremost source for thought leadership regarding the present and future of the foodservice industry. Our network of experts regularly submits opinion pieces on important issues impacting foodservice and the millions of jobs and people who depend on it, as well as serving as quotable sources for both industry and mass media articles on the foodservice industry. Recent appearances by members are added to the FCSI Experts Network website regularly.

Recent Expert Post
Arlene Spiegel, Arlene Spiegel & Associates

If you are an FCSI member and have any questions or would like to be included in this exclusive network, please contact FCSI TA’s Director of Administration, Amy Stark at
Upcoming CEU Opportunities
Continuing Education Credits
Even though many conferences and tradeshows have been canceled due to COVID-19, there are still several ways to earn CEUs this year. Thanks to our Allied members it is easier than ever to earn CEUs through the FCSI Education Provider Program. Be sure to check out the calendar of upcoming live and on-demand webinars.In addition to participating in webinars, the following activities qualify for CEUs:

  • Attending an on-demand webinar: 1 CEU per hour
  • Seminar presenter (sole): 3 CEUs per hour
  • Seminar panelist: 2 CEUs per hour
  • Single author for article or blog: .5 CEUs per 500 words 
  • Co-author for article or blog: .25 CEUs per 500 words 
  • Contributing Author: .125 per 500 words 
  • Authoring Reviews on Software and Books: 2 CEUs each
  • Video or Multimedia Self-Study Programs: 1 CEU per hour
  • Providing service to FCSI and/or other industry groups: 3 to 10 CEUs

You can track your own CEU credits by logging into your member profile. We're also here to help--contact Penny if you have questions about CEUs.
Membership News
New Members
Congratulations to members pursuing Professional Membership
John Barja, Foodesign Associates
Vladislav Kamakovski, Cini-Little International

Linnea Hofstrom

In Memory Don Meier, FCSI
It is with great sadness that we report that Don Meier passed away August 2, 2020.

Don was a President and Director at Designed Food Facilities, Inc. in British Columbia. He was a Professional Member of FCSI. FCSI extends heartfelt condolences to Don's sons, David and Donald, Jr., and his grandchildren.

An obituary was not available at this time.
Rod Collins Award Announced
On Wednesday, August 12, a small virtual gathering was hosted by friends and family of Rod Collins who passed away in December 2019. 

Rod was the owner of Rod Collins Associates and was a longtime member and friend of FCSI and thought leader in the foodservice industry. In 2006 he founded The Consultants' Summit to provide an educational and idea exchange platform for the foodservice equipment and consulting community. 

Rod's impact on the industry and the Association he loved prompted the creation of the Rod Collins Allied Member Summit Award. The award will be given biennially to an FCSI Allied member who has contributed to and served FCSI and the consultant community. An announcement of the new award was shared with Rod's family during the virtual memorial service earlier this month.

Special thank you to Tony Butler from SHFM and FSA Group for hosting the virtual memorial.
FCSI Happy Hour
Many of us are still working from home and not able to travel or visit with friends and family. It can be lonely and isolating.

The FCSI family is still getting together virtually. FCSI Happy Hours are going strong -- now once per month on the fourth Wednesday. Our next Happy Hour is Wednesday, September 23 at 4:00 PM CDT.

What are some issues that are on your mind? Past Happy Hour conversations were about the challenges of working remotely, client issues and how to work toward resolutions in online meetings, and unique ways to engage with clients.

Check your inbox for more details and the invite for September's Happy Hour!
Industry News
Newest COVID-19 Impact Report Released
Since the last Covid-19 report in May, the U.S. economy has been phasing in the reopening process with states structuring the particulars to their own requirements. There has also been a surge in reported COVID-19 cases which has caused many states and businesses to pause, adjust, and reassess their reopening plans and implementing new restrictions.

A good many restaurants are beginning to show positive SSS trends. Admittedly, these are mainly QSR restaurants and those Fast Casual restaurants that have Drive Thrus and delivery business channels in place. But, in general, all restaurant sectors have been showing steady SSS improvements since the abrupt closures of March 2020. This does not imply things are back to normal or even approaching any semblance of normalcy. Most will admit that there will not be a return to the “traditional” normal. The economy, society, businesses, restaurant industry, and the consumer are all going through a paradigm shift.

The crisis has revealed many weaknesses within the restaurant system: weak financial model with precarious margins, financial re-engineering, thin cash reserves, increases to debts without matching increases to profits, serious long-term labor issues (mainly a shortage of quality people), oversaturation of restaurants, many chains out of step with actual customer expectations, and a fragile, rigidly structured supply chain system just to highlight a few of the major issues.

The entire report from Compass Restaurant Consulting & Research is available here.
Restaurants Act
500,000 independent restaurants and 11 million jobs are on the brink of going away forever. In order for restaurants to serve communities again and assist in reigniting the economy, we need Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act, establishing the $120B Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Quick Links
Quick Links
Want to share your stories, projects, or insight?
Headquarters is always happy to feature articles from Consultant Members in the Direct Connection. We encourage Consultants to take some time and share experiences with the membership. No idea or topic is too silly!

If you would like to have an article featured in the Direct Connection, submit it to Amy by the 23rd of each month.