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A brief history of Foodservice Consultants Society International

Half a century ago, 14 foodservice consultants met in Chicago to share similar professional interests. Their initial objective: "To promote research and improve design of public food facilities."

That group soon became the Food Facilities Engineering Society, or FFES.

Before that time, few people outside of the foodservice industry knew that foodservice consulting was an occupation, but one who did was Fred Schmid, who in 1950 started his own foodservice consulting firm, Fred Schmid Associates, in Los Angeles. He envisioned a profession in which independent foodservice consultants would be paid a fee for their services, much like an architect would in the design of a building.

Schmid knew 13 other consultants like himself, and on May 11, 1955, he called his colleagues together at the National Restaurant Association's convention, then held at Chicago's Drake Hotel. That group voted to form FFES.

In November 1955, Schmid took his new organization's premise to the annual meeting of the Food Service Equipment Industry Inc. He soon began inviting members of other professional organizations, editors of trade publications and other relevant experts to address the FFES membership.

By the time FFES gathered for its third annual meeting in May 1958, membership stood at 30--and a rival group, the International Society of Foodservice Consultants, or ISFSC, held its own charter meeting during the 1958 NRA convention.

Leopoldine H. Wiard became the group's first female member in 1959, and by 1960 FFES member ship had grown to 49.


By the 1962 FFES annual meeting, membership stood at 68, and the group's Canadian members became the first regional chapter. A regional FFES meeting, separate from the annual gathering at the NRA convention, took place in New York City.

In December the board hired Arthur B. Olian, a trained attorney, as the group's first professional executive secretary. He began writing and editing the first FFES regular publication, "FFES News," the following year.

In May 1965, rivals FFES and ISFSC met for a liaison session at the NRA show. But by 1968, a longstanding conflict over use of the word "engineering" in the FFES title reached critical mass. At the 13th annual meeting in May of that year, FFES formally changed its name to the Food Facilities Consultants Society, or FFCS.

In 1970 FFCS counted 128 members, and the pace of new membership applications was rising. The group formalized the Canadian Chapter, which had been operating informally as a chapter in name only.

In May 1972 Ellis Murphy replaced the "FFES News" with "FFCS Spec Sheet," which featured a more current layout and photos.

And in 1975, at the group's 20th annual meeting, FFCS published its first "Glossary of Foodservice Equipment," which would evolve into a document of standardization for the industry. Published by Food Service Equipment Dealer magazine in December 1975, the glossary became a much sought-after resource.


At the FFCS annual meeting in 1968, members of FFCS and ISFSC voted to merge the two organizations. FFCS president William Eaton was made first president of the combined organization, now known as Foodservice Consultants Society International, FCSI.

The first annual meeting of FCSI took place in Chicago in May 1979, as the newly united group developed a new set of bylaws and operations.

ISFSC's periodical, "The Consultant," quickly replaced "FFCS Spec Sheet" as the professional publication of FCSI.

And in 1981 FCSI established the "FCSI Council of Fellows" to honor and recognize specific members for their years of service to the hospitality industry and the foodservice consulting profession.

In 1984 the FCSI board launched its "Certification/Professional Development Program," designed to codify and qualify members--and eliminate any problems associated with payments to consultants by manufacturers.

By the organization's 30th anniversary in 1985, membership had grown to 540.

FCSI soon launched a strategic planning initiative that resulted in the development of a new mission statement: To promote professionalism in foodservice/hospitality and to prudently develop and efficiently manage a quality association within a budget that returns maximum benefits to all members.

In 1986 FCSI boasted 600 members, 32 of them in Europe. In 1987 the FCSI board moved the annual meeting to coincide with the NAFEM fall meeting. And FCSI's fall meeting became the Mini-Seminar, which was slated to coincide with the spring NRA convention in Chicago.


By late 1987 FCSI had chapters in Europe, Canada, Mexico, New England and Southern California. The group began development of its "Guide to Professional Practice and Operations," designed to assist consultants in establishing the basics of their operations.

By 1988 FCSI was supporting national issues, such as the creation of a consolidated, consistent health and sanitation code for the foodservice industry. Member Thomas Costello helped develop the group's Management Advisory Services, or MAS, and edited a regular publication called, "Critical MAS."

In January 1989 the European Chapter adopted "FCSI Keep on Rolling"--a vision for the future that presented a cosmopolitan perspective of FCSI--and the chapter soon became the first official FCSI division.

In 1991 the board acquired the services of Food Service Associates, or FSA, headed by Philip Cooke. FSA had been providing publications, editorial and management services to foodservice-related organizations since 1969.

By 1992 FCSI membership had grown to 700. Cooke and David L. Drain took over the records, membership information and financial administration of FCSI. And the organization, which had struggled in recent years, ended the year with a surplus.

At the 1993 Fall Annual Seminar in New Orleans, the FCSI board moved to establish closer ties with client-based associations in the industry. By 1994 FCSI was offering member talents to the American Correctional Food Service Association, the American School Food Service Association, the National Association of College and University Food Services and the Society for Foodservice Management, among other organizations

FCSI also changed its bylaws to permit suppliers to join the organization, instituting the new membership category of "Allied Members."

By mid-1994 national expansion was well underway, and FCSI members benefited from a new round of construction and remodeling of foodservice facilities worldwide. The group overhauled "The Consultant" from a black and-white magazine to a slick professional periodical with full color and advertising.

In October 1994 FCSI staged problem-solving clinics in conjunction with the International Hospitality Show in Bangkok, which welcomed members from Asia and the Pan-Pacific region. The meeting attracted almost 100 attendees. The success of the Asia-Pacific chapter encouraged Australian FCSI members to establish a chapter there as well.


In 1995 the 40-year-old FCSI elected Kathleen H. Seelye as its first female president. Membership was approaching 1,000. FCSI commissioned a broad needs assessment to chart the future direction of the organization.

The advent of technology impacted FCSI in dramatic ways. Teleconferencing was initiated as an electronic means for training and research programs, and FCSI unveiled its Internet site, www.fcsi.org.

The transformation of FCSI caused the board to revise the organization's mission statement to read: To promote professionalism in foodservice and hospitality consulting while returning maximum benefit to all members.

When Brian Sill became president of FCSI in September 1996, he and the board oversaw a movement to rethink and realign the chapter structure to establish "divisions," representing a more equitable geographic international distribution of membership.

And by 1999, the FCSI European division had become FCSI UK, quickly becoming the largest local unit in Europe. A similar group in German), B.I.G. (Berater im Gastgewerbe--Consultants in the Foodservice Industry) joined FCSI to form FCSI German)', which is now known as FCSI Germany-Austria. FCSI Europe and FCSI Germany signed an affiliation agreement in January 2000.

In January 2000 the FCSI worldwide board of directors held their first meeting outside of North America, in Amsterdam, in conjunction with the FCSI Europe Annual Conference. The inaugural North American board of trustees was elected in 2001 at September's Orlando conference.

FCSI members approved a continuing education requirement, which eventually became the FCSI Continuing Professional Growth Program.

In late 2001 Drain became FCSI executive vice president. Membership now numbered 1,100.

Drain's service began during the unsettling aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

In November 2003 the board voted to create the North American Allied Member Board of Advisors, a special committee composed of allied members.

In 2003 and 2004 FCSI built upon the greater attention to structure and growing internationalization of the society through expanded membership opportunities and greater attention to the programs and events taking place within the divisions worldwide.


No longer a small group of colleagues and competitors who got together to "chew the fat," FCSI has become a much more sophisticated organization, with more structured, and multinational, discussions. FCSI's Europe division has grown from some 90 initial members to more than 360 today.

FCSI has come a long way since founder Schmid first endeavored to gather his colleagues and competitors together in Chicago in 1955.

Just imagine what the next 50 years will bring.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

Bibliography for: "A brief history of Foodservice Consultants Society International"

"A brief history of Foodservice Consultants Society International". Nation's Restaurant News. FindArticles.com. 26 Jun, 2011. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_39_39/ai_n15655411/

COPYRIGHT 2005 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

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