MAFSI Forecasts 4 Percent Growth In 2015 Equipment & Supplies

The Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry (MAFSI) has released its 2015 Commercial Foodservice Market Forecast, projecting overall purchasing growth of 4.1 percent for 2015.

MAFSI forecasts purchases of equipment at a 4.1 percent growth; supplies at 4.7 percent; tabletop at 4.3 percent; and furnishings at 3.1 percent. For equipment sub-categories, MAFSI is forecasting growth for primary cooking equipment at 4.2 percent; refrigeration and ice machines at 4.8 percent; storage and handling equipment at 4 percent; food preparation equipment at 4.3 percent; serving equipment at 4 percent; and warewashing, sanitation equipment and ventilation at 3.9 percent for 2015 vs. 2014 purchases.

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McDonald's Reacts To Negative Sales With Menu Changes

McDonald’s plans to cut eight items from its menu, offer fewer “extra value” meals and focus more on customization in reaction to a negative sales report. U.S. sales were down 4.6 percent with global sales decreasing 2.2 percent.

McDonald’s is planning to expand its “Create Your Taste” test platform, What has until now been a tiny test in four Southern California stores is immediately expanding to 30 locations in five more states—Illinois, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri and Pennsylvania—and in 2015 to 2,000 U.S. locations, or about one in seven of the 14,000 domestic McDonald’s restaurants.

Create Your Taste lets customers skip the counter and head to tablet-like kiosks where they can customize everything about their burger, including the type of bun, variety of cheese, toppings and sauces and even the type of protein, as McDonald’s adds chicken as an option to the lineup.

This new approach is particularly geared to attract Millennials to McDonald’s, as teens and young adults continue to abandon the chain for what they perceive as fresher, healthier and more customizable menu choices at chains like Chipotle, Panera Bread and Five Guys. At one test location a customized burger with a medium drink and fries is $8.29. And because it takes 4 to 7 minutes to prepare orders from the custom platform, it can’t even be sold at the drive-thru window—where many McDonald’s restaurants derive up to 70 percent of their business.

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MRA, Harpoon Brewery Unite In Event To End Childhood Hunger

The Mass. Restaurant Assn. and Harpoon Brewery are planning a new industry event, “The Holiday Hangover to End Childhood Hunger,” on Jan. 26 from 7-10 p.m. at Harpoon Brewery on the Boston waterfront (306 Northern Ave.).

Net proceeds will benefit “No Kid Hungry,” whose mission is to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring that children start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. During the event, 10 of Boston’s best chefs will serve tastings of original dishes paired or prepared with one of the Harpoon Brewery’s acclaimed craft brews. Tastings of each beer will be served alongside each dish.

Tickets will be available for purchase later this month; the $40 ticket price ($30 for those in the restaurant industry) includes admission and two beers as well as tastings of the chefs’ dishes and the beers they are paired with. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit

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Latest Word in Food Service...

Tim Hortons Inc. and Burger King Worldwide have officially agreed to create a new global quick service restaurant company operating two independent brands. Following approval by the Canadian Minister of Industry, Tim Horton shareholders voted approval and the two companies announced the name of the new parent company, Restaurant Brands International. The new company will include more than 18,000 restaurants operating in 100 countries under its two distinct, iconic brands.

According to the National Restaurant Assn., wholesale food prices are up 5.3 percent over last year, the highest rise in three years. The rise is driven by the high inflation of commodities including butter (39 percent), pork (22 percent), eggs (20 percent) and beef (18 percent). Year-to-date restaurant menu price inflation stands at 2.3 percent. In comparison, grocery store prices are up 2.2 percent and the general rate of inflation is 1.7 percent.

Golbon, a national food service buying group, has added a new member, Trooper Foods of Brooklyn, N.Y. Trooper Foods offers a full line of food and related products including disposable products and janitorial supplies. Trooper Foods recently opened a USDA meat-cutting facility for fresh meats and poultry, cut and packaged to custom specifications.

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