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Member Spotlight
Mike Foster
Vice President, National Accounts
Restaurant Technologies  

Which hospitality and foodservice services do you oversee and how does SHFM help you balance these responsibilities?
 
Restaurant Technologies (RT) is a comprehensive oil management company that simplifies the tasks of oil handling and oil management. I oversee our business within the hospitality and non-commercial segments. Prior to RT, companies would look to a third party to perform this dirty and unsafe task at great expense. With RT it’s no longer necessary to outsource this task to a third party and at the same time the system enables the operator to efficiently address multiple operational functions.
 
As an organization SHFM helps in significant ways. By providing forums for networking with other like-minded companies focused on improving back of the house operations and access to key industry leaders. Becoming involved in SHFM has opened up both of these areas of opportunity.
 
What do you see as the most important trend in the industry?
 
Labor cost pressure – push for $15 minimum wage, benefits, scheduling restrictions, improving labor market etc. It’s forcing operators to change how they do business – having to pay more, there is a need to find efficiency in back of house operations, to look for ways to reduce turnover (like reducing the incidence of employee injuries).
 
How do you keep your customers happy?
 
Various ways – decision-makers and operational leadership love the safety improvements and savings. Line operators are delighted in that we simplify their work life. Imagine eliminating the task of carrying 35 lb. boxes to the fryer (generally 10 a week) and worse yet, when it’s time to dispose of old oil, having to drain it into buckets or shuttles, then carrying out old oil to the loading dock then having to manually lift and pour into an often dirty and smelly, unsafe rendering tank…YUK. With RT, employees literally drain the old oil into the filter box, push a button and pump it away, and push another button to refill the fryers with fresh oil….Yes, line level employee’s love when RT is installed.
 
How have you seen the association grow and change since you joined last year?
 
This is an easy one. I signed up to participate on the membership committee, and have been involved in a number of events designed to bring members together and build on total member value. We recently held a “meet and greet” at a Boston Red Sox game, hosted a Critical Issues Conference in NYC,  a fund raiser outing and numerous events across the country, all designed to bring members together to network and grow.  There is also a greater focus on attracting more millennials with incentives and inclusive topics such as a recent technology focus at the Critical Issues Conference where two young millennials led a discussion on mobile technology in crisis communication. SHFM brings relevant meaningful discussion to the industry and its members.

Which SHFM event has been your favorite to attend?
 
While golf and the “meet and greets” are fun, the national conference has it all. This event is far and away the most comprehensive method to educate members about supplier and operator trends and to address the critical needs of the industry. That said I am really looking forward to what’s in store at this year’s national conference in Phoenix. Can’t beat the networking!