Taher Food Service News

Bruce TaherIn mid-July, I had the pleasure of addressing our entire Management Team, some 250 individuals, at our Summer Conference in Minneapolis. We celebrated our successes and worked to prepare for the challenges ahead. I took everyone down memory lane, back to the hopes and dreams of a nineteen-year-old immigrant who went to college during the day, and worked as a dishwasher and cleaning person at night, in order to pursue the American dream. I started Taher, Inc. thirty-three years ago, with the hope of creating a small family of professionals who enjoyed serving the public, who shared my passion for food, for family and for the community, and who also wanted to have fun working.

What a difference thirty-three years makes! Our commitment to deliver value and integrity in our services has allowed us to have 250 clients in fifteen states. Our retention rate is at 93% and our name continues to be a “brand.” I continue to be humbled by the partnerships of our clients, and the talent and hard work of our team members.

As we enter the new school year, I am reminded of the many challenges ahead, and how we can focus everyone’s ideas and energy to continue to serve our customers more efficiently.

Here are our major challenges:

A) The Federal Government continues to expand its role in our country, which also impacts what we do. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has affected monumental changes in what we are allowed to serve to children in federally-funded programs.

B) We are now serving more children on “Free and Reduced Meal Status” than ever before.

C) Obama Care, or the Affordable Healthcare Act, is dramatically changing our staffing models and our budgets, as we have to choose whether to provide care or pay a penalty for all six-hour per day staff.

D) The mandatory requests to solicit formal bids for the food service programs every 3-5 years is proving to be exhausting for all parties, including the school officials. The focus continues to be on “cost” while the needs are being redefined under Michelle Obama.

E) We are in a consumer-driven market, with consumers requesting and receiving more options in their food purchases than ever before.

F) Consumers also have far more choices to order their meal to be delivered to their home, office, or even school. With organizations such as bitesquad.com, the delivery of Jimmy John’s, deli, sushi, Chinese, Indian, Greek, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese food, is only a step away.

G) Mobile phones are replacing desktop computers, and can be accessed anywhere for anything desired, particularly for mobile orders, for food delivery, etc.

These realities do create a mandate for Taher, Inc. to modify its strategic planning and execution. It will take all of us to find new and innovative solutions to meet our challenges and still remain true to our core beliefs of integrity, fresh food, partnerships and continued staff development.