Raising Up the Next-Generation of Buyers & Sellers

This rant started as a running joke between foodservice buyers and sales colleagues: “we’ll never lead a normal life, and our friends outside the industry don’t understand our level of commitment for just average wages.” But even during my “golden age of foodservice” procurement , when we worked hard, we defended the utmost importance of God, family, and country even harder.   

How are we raising up the next generation of foodservice professionals? Are we instilling in them those old-fashioned values alongside the hard-working, go-getting business attitude? Generation “Y” foodservice buyers/sellers, the 30-somethings, have kept alive some of the flame of the Baby Boomers, unlike the “YouTube”, “Z” generation. It seems this new generation has some narcissistic traits that preoccupy them with issues that usually don’t translate to traditional values. 

Where the Golden Agers and Generation Y-ers sought out mentors to teach them the ropes, the post-college “Z”ers are catching “zzz”s, according to a comprehensive study by Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. The new thinking seems to be, “I think I am a special person” and “I can live my life any way I want to.”  For a glimpse of your future foodservice PA's and MA's.  take a look at the “Z” personalities on display from the “American Idol” rejects: “you are so wrong”, “everyone says that I can sing!” According to the professor, these kids exhibit game playing dishonesty, have over-controlling behaviors, lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism, and favor self-promotion over self-help. 

I remember the times of my "second Greatest Generation" career; when someone was out sick for more than just a few days,  the “team” would cover their job responsibilities without being asked, and for the most part the person was not left on their own when they returned.   The average food salesmen could spend more time with their restaurant customers than their computers, and the company brass were actually in touch with the sales force. 

Today’s regional sales managers are being asked to travel more route miles than  Magellan, just to spend less time with more customers spread out over a greater  geography.  The purchasing staff by comparison, does not have time to see new vendors, and because of the heavy workload too many contracts are rolled-over.  Most buyers do not have time to complete a spend analysis, price-compliance audit or manage the promotional calendar with marketing.  The weekends for both buyers and sellers are no longer for relaxing they’ve become a one-day pause between work weeks.

This is not to say that the old days were perfect days.  Even during the good-times, when everyone knew your name, and expense accounts purchased lavish two drink lunches, we knew about the hidden problems in American business. But we’ve worked hard to fix that.

Now, as the summer afternoons heat up here in Georgia, even as SEC football is one week away, it’s rewarding to spend time by the pier seeking out young professionals to discuss the world as I see it.  I worry about our foodservice industry after this next election and the future buyers and sellers, and ask what I can do to improve things for the next generation. 

To A Better Future!



Fred Favole is Founder & President of Strategic Purchasing Services (SPS) , America's most experienced foodservice purchasing firm specializing in department outsourcing, cost-reduction  and product development for emerging chains. 


Views: 112


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Angie Fellers Beard on September 26, 2012 at 7:37am

Loved this article!  Having grown up in this industry I recall when my dad knew our reps so well that he brought them home for dinner with the family.   Times have really changed.




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Chains make chicken the star of the menu

High beef and pork prices are making chicken the go-to meat more than ever, boosting wholesale prices for producers and spurr -More

Americans continue to eat less fish

The average American is consuming only 14.4 pounds of fish per year, down from the record high of 16.6 pounds in 2004, Ben Di -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.

Restaurant Sales Bounced Back in March

Restaurant sales posted a solid gain in March, and bounced back completely from the recent soft patch. Eating and drinking place sales totaled $47.3 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in March, up 1.1 percent from February's upward-revised sales volume of $46.8 billion, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

McAlister's Deli Signs Franchise Agreement to Expand to Cleveland

McAlister's Deli announced it has signed a development agreement with an experienced multi-unit operator to develop three restaurants in the Cleveland, Ohio, area - the brand's first locations in the market.

Restaurant Trends - Growing And Emerging Concepts - Change and Activity April 16, 2014

Update from Restaurantchains.net on growing and emerging restaurant concepts

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Announces CFO Departure in May

The company has commenced a search for Mr. Hope’s successor, reviewing both internal and external candidates. Mr. Hope will assist in the transition of duties to an interim CFO and will remain a consultant to the company through the summer.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

TED: David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? - David Brooks (2014)

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

TED: David Sengeh: The sore problem of prosthetic limbs - David Sengeh (2014)

What drove David Sengeh to create a more comfortable prosthetic limb? He grew up in Sierra Leone, and too many of the people he loves are missing limbs after the brutal civil war there. When he noticed that people who had prosthetics weren’t actually wearing them, the TED Fellow set out to discover why — and to solve the problem with his team from the MIT Media Lab.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service