A breath of fresh, mountain air – that’s what I’m telling people when they ask about how this year went for Tibersoft, and the foodservice industry overall. It’s the first year since 2019 that our industry has had the chance to focus most of our time thinking about the future instead of the burning forest beneath us known as Covid-19. Covid-19 was no laughing matter, and its effects on the foodservice industry lasted for 3 long years. In 2021, as foodservice locations started to re-open their doors and resume “new-normal” operations, foodservice manufacturers focused on rebuilding sales lost during the heavy lockdown periods of 2020. In 2022, as demand stabilized and even grew, manufacturers struggled with supply due to issues across the supply chain, ranging from raw materials to labor.  They also had to grapple with double-digit inflation and implementing multiple rounds of often considerable price increases. Given limited ability to supply new sales, manufacturers focused on maintaining current business and protecting margins.

This year, our manufacturer clients turned back to gaining new business again. But the approach to achieving that growth had a bit of a different flavor – one more deliberate, mindful of costs, and focused on the long-term. At the beginning of the year, the industry termed this approach to growth “Sustainable, Profitable Growth,” and that term continues to stick to this day. As a sign of good times to come, IFMA’s 2024 outlook was a self-proclaimed boring one: “Essentially what’s happening is we’re going back to the growth rates that we’re most accustomed to, which is flat to 1%,” Charlie said. I don’t know about you, but I had never been happier to see such an uneventful global economic climate for foodservice.

Like the rest of the industry, we at Tibersoft have also been focused on the future. We turned inward and figured out who we are, held our first in-person Navigators since 2019, developed our most innovative roadmap ever, and made a more concerted effort to start bringing our knowledge and expertise to the broader industry.

Honing Our Focus

Every few years, it is imperative that a company turn inward, digest the lessons since its last major change in identity, and construct a more refined one in accordance with those lessons. In line with that, we took a good look at ourselves to hone in on our purpose as an organization and our value to the industry.

What we discovered – or, rather, put together – was that we are a dedicated team of data mentors and thought leaders rooted in the foodservice industry, passionate about empowering foodservice manufacturers to grow profitably. To do that, we leverage the OPTRADE community we’ve built to power the insight engine that drives more profitable decision making, focusing specifically on highly customized enterprise solutions that put our customers at the forefront.

Through insights, strong partnerships, community, and continued innovation, we are able to provide truly first-class, unique, and foodservice-specific analytical solutions. In line with that, we have put an even stronger emphasis on deepening our already strong client relationships, as they are fundamental to the solution we’re able to provide.

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Our First In-Person Navigators Since 2019

This year’s Navigators brought together foodservice industry leaders and experts to share insights, discuss new important technologies, and collaborate on common business challenges; all under the theme of turning data insights into action. The best part? It was in person!

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Alex Drake facilitates an Audit discussion between Brooks Friedman (Director of Sales at Smithfield Culinary) and Melissa Maddex (Sr. Financial Analyst at ConAgra)

It would be impossible to summarize everything we learned and what we’ve taken away in a single blog post, but in no small part because of the conversations we had a Navigators, we’ve decided to make a significant investment into two key technologies this year: Proactive insights at the point of consumption (in your email, in your tools), and deeper, and more timely operational insights that allow you to take immediate action driven by emerging technologies in AI and machine learning.

Supporting the Industry

We’ve engaged in several activities this year to bring expertise on transforming data into insights that allow users to make better decisions to the broader industry, including attending IFMA President’s Conference at the tech showcase.

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Dean Rallo, Suzanne Cwik, Chris Hart, and Mary Wilson present at the Tech Showcase at IFMA President’s Conference

In addition, we also held a webinar that outlines, in detail, our 3-step process for turning data into insights, and insights into action. You can watch the full webinar here.

A New Era of Collaboration in Cultura Technologies

We’re proud to be a part of Cultura’s unique collaborative of like-minded Agri-Food software companies. We’ve been a part of the Cultura since 2018, but this year, they’re moving forward with a new, collaborative approach to solving the largest, most challenging problems in the world’s most important industry – Agri-Food. We’re only just starting to uncover the possibilities, and we’re excited to see what we can make of them.

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Thank You for Being a Part of the Journey and Happy Holidays!

Needless to say, this has been an uplifting year, and we couldn’t have gotten where we are without our clients, colleagues, and industry partners. Next year, we’re looking forward to working directly with our clients and partners to develop new AI technologies that will accelerate and improve decision making in foodservice, and collaborating with our software partners in Cultura to change the technology landscape in Agri-food.

We wish you all the happiest of holidays and we can’t wait for what’s to come in 2024.