Family, relationships, honoring teachers and celebrating tradition are all important. There should be no doubt the new ideas, energy and technological flexibility of youth is critical to the future success of the foodservice industry. Balancing the vim and vigor of newcomers — in my view anyone with less than 10 years in the biz — with the sacrifice and hard work of our founding mothers and fathers seems like the best formula for success.
Different generations have placed value on different things throughout history and this will not change. Advancement is not linear, and it’s not without setbacks. Honoring and learning from those who came before us can insulate us from some big mistakes. And for the veteran foodservice folks, fear and a mentality of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” can impede our ability to evolve.
Recognition provides the best form of validation regardless of your age. Watching someone receive an award for hard work and contribution to their company and/or customers lights the proverbial fire under my butt every single time. It reminds me that I still have learning to do; I can improve the way I serve the people I work for and who work for our company. It awakens a little voice in my head that says; “Girl, you’ve come a long way. That’s awesome. What’s next? How can you help? What can you do to make the industry better? What will you do to make your team stronger? Who can you help?”
Honoring and celebrating employees past and present has become a tradition at Forbes Hever & Wallace Inc. (FHW). It’s a tradition worth continuing and that even extends to some of our valued partners.
For example, seven years ago FHW began recognizing an Ace Mart employee for his or her contribution to the organization. This recognition includes an award ceremony that celebrates the recipient and honors Norman “Gus” Gustafson, the founder of Ace Mart Restaurant Supply. Gus impacted not only his company and customers but the entire foodservice industry. He was a hardworking, honest man who was generous with his time and understood the value of building relationships with co-workers, customers and vendors.
In short, Gus left the foodservice industry a better place than he found it and there’s a lot that people can continue to learn from him. Honoring and celebrating the attributes that Gus personified remains the best form of validation and a way for the foodservice industry of today to remain connected with vital aspects of its past.