COEX: Sharing Ideas & Knowledge

COEX: Sharing Ideas & Knowledge

Food & Drink

COEX: Sharing Ideas & Knowledge


The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) is presenting COEX, the annual Chain Operators Exchange, in Orlando. This event promotes lively interaction between chain restaurant trendsetters and suppliers from across the country. COEX ends on March 3.

Today’s a wrap up day for COEX, with people heading home with all kinds of new ideas, new contacts and new knowledge.

The day started with the awarding of IFMA’s Regional Chain Exellence Awards, which went to Culver’s, Panera Bread and Zaxby’s. Congratulations to all!

Here’s a short summary of some of the keynotes from Tuesday’s sessions:

  • An update on food-safety mandates was presented by Scott DeFife, Executive VP, Policy & Government Affairs of the National Restaurant Association, who told the group that better food safety rules and standards means safer foods and more confident consumers and customers.
  • A panel from the International Corporate Chefs Association talked about “Warp Speed to Market” and how the timeline from innovation to table has shortened in recent years. Michael LaDuke, Director of Product Development for Red Lobster Food & Beverage, Beverly Lynch, VP of Food & Beverage for Golden Corral Corporation, and Donald Moore, Senior VP, Kitchen Operations for The Cheesecake Factory, shared how and why research and development is moving faster. Said Lynch, “What used to take two years, now could go on our menu in as quickly as three months.”
  • Michelle Barry, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of The Hartman Group, gave in-depth information into consumer behavior around sustainability. She divided consumers into three segments—those who are more accidental recyclers, who do it for price and only if it’s convenient . . . those in the mid-level who buy reusable and support sustainable efforts in their community because they understand the personal benefit . . . and those who help to crusade for a bigger difference.
  • The National Restaurant Association gave a sneak peek into its new eating out initiative, designed to encourage people to patronize the nation’s restaurants. More on this to come!
  • Presenters from NOBLE: Andy Ford, Chief Insights Officer, LeAnne Garoutte, Senior Vice President & Director of Client Services, Judy Sipe, Chief Culinary Officer, and Cari Price, Executive Chef—conducted a second set of the popular breakout sessions on “the global flavor curve.” Editor’s note: For a copy of these presentations, email
  • Nancy Kruse of The Kruse Company led a panel discussion on campus dining, with input from Greg Black, Director, Dining Services of the University of Iowa, Camp Howard, Director of Vanderbilt Dining for Vanderbilt University, Shawn LaPean, Director, Cal Dining from the University of California-Berkeley, and Ken Toong, Executive Director of the University of Massachusetts, UMass Dining.

Throughout the day, there were opportunities for networking and one-on-one conversations and meetings, which many attendees consider a primary reason to attend COEX—because it puts the operator and the manufacturers in direct connection.

The Food Channel has been privileged to bring you daily stories, tweets and information via Twitter, Facebook and the Website, and there is more to come as we wrap up our own series of interviews and stories.

See more Photos from COEX on Facebook.

See additional stories:

COEX: Menu, Value, Innovation


COEX: Opening Day

Food Passion & the COEX Reception

An Interview with Nancy Kruse

COEX Preview

Speed Meetings

Wall to Wall Coverage

Restaurant Chains Address Key Issues

Countdown to COEX 2010

Follow all the live action at COEX at or at

Event Coverage Sponsored by IFMA


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