From the Top of the Tree

Marco Casol
As we enter into 2009, I know many of you are hearing the word “economy” and fearing the worst. We see the news reports, rising unemployment rates and the decrease in consumer spending on goods, and then begin to think about our businesses and wonder if it will affect us. Today, however, I ask that you engage in a new way of thinking.

For most, we already know that the winter months signify a slow season making it hard to evaluate what to expect in the spring and summer. Keep in mind that in the past our industry has proven to overcome times of financial hardship. Desserts are affordable luxuries for all, and consumers are unwilling to give up foods or even goods that bring them comfort. See our “State of the Industry” article  to understand what 2009 holds for our industry, including the trends that can set your store apart and increase revenues in any economy.

While trends and keeping up on new and interesting concepts will always elevate a store, remember that the most important thing is quality. When times are hard, the worst thing a business can do is cut corners. You have this moment to distinguish your business by not compromising what you do and offer. Doing this will allow you to establish yourself as a leader, and when the economy starts up, you will enjoy being in this prominent position. For ideas on how to avoid cutting corners while remaining cost-effective and keeping sales moving, be sure to read this issue’s “Top Ten”.

Cost-saving is different from cutting corners and doing it ensures that generations to come will enjoy this beautiful world. This is the focus of our feature article on page 10. “Going green” is a phrase often met with caution since it has often signified an expensive initiative. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever and can save you money on things like your utility bills. Owning an environmentally friendly business will reiterate your leader position as it’s no secret that restaurants are the retail world’s largest energy users.

Last, enjoy the ride. Life (and business) is a roller coaster with ups and downs, loops and curves, and that’s what makes it exciting. We cannot predict what’s going to happen and therefore need to take the time to learn, experience and use what works to see our dreams come to fruition.

So let us not fear the unexpected, and instead focus our energy and prepare ourselves to exceed expectations in 2009. There is no doubt in my mind that this is something easily accomplished, and this issue is dedicated to providing the information necessary to bring success to all.