It was nearly two decades ago when Food Trends was founded by a European father-daughter team. Having grown up hosting friends and family around the dinner table, it was inevitable that they dreamed of starting a business doing what they knew best. What began as a vision of a family business has now expanded onto its third generation and is proud to be Certified Woman Owned & Operated.
Whether it is an intimate dinner or conference for over 2,000 participants, Food Trends Executive Management team is now led by son David Moskowicz. Food Trends offers menu design, staffing, rentals, venue, décor, and fresh ingredients from local vendors. The company’s growth led to a need to expand its food prep capacity so Moskowicz set his sights on finding the right facility to support that growth.
Here’s the Total Food Service inside look at the approach of the Economy Restaurant Supply design team as it helps expand one of Manhattan’s best caterers.
David Moskowicz, President, Food Trends, NYC
Michael Konzelman, Partner, Economy Paper and
Restaurant Supply, Clifton, NJ
David Moskowicz’s Approach:
Business has been booming for our Manhattan-based catering so much so that we needed an entirely new facility to be able to support our ongoing growth. Over the past two decades the company we have become is a premier catering provider in New York City. We are so proud of what we have built and the relationships that we have created with our customers. It really started with my mother’s vision. But the goal for our company is to get to the next level to be on the same page as high-end catering names like Abigail Kirsch and Neuman’s Kitchen.
When I got my degree in accounting and finance, at Lehigh University, I went to work in banking. After graduation I was never supposed to work in the family business, despite lending a hand and learning the ins and outs at a very young age. After a year, I knew that I could take many of those skills I had untried in college and bring them to our family business. My Mom had a handle on the menus and the quality of our food.
So I saw an opportunity with complimentary skills to create an entirely new automated inventory system that would enable us to grow. It has taken almost three years to find the right software and then to load our extensive inventory of SKU’s into the system.
At the same time, we had to begin to balance the ability to grow and the cost of locating that infrastructure. With a five story building in Manhattan, we maximized every single inch that we had. That included installing shelving that suspended from the ceilings and a table or shelf in every inch of workable space. We wanted to keep the entire production facility in New York, but it just didn’t make sense.
So clearly in order to balance growth and maintain quality, we began looking outside of the City. We found the perfect space in Little Ferry, New Jersey. In addition to the expansion of food production capacity, the addition of the Little Ferry facility has given us the opportunity to step back and enhance our customer’s experience.
The experience I’m trying to create in New Jersey, is one that’s ‘a one-stop shop’. Let’s say you’re a bride, we want to be able to manage the entire event creation process.
We want to first educate them on not only food, but on venues, entertainment and flowers. That would include providing different price ranges and options without overloading them.
So when we began working with Michael Konzelman and Economy, we showed him the 5,000 square feet of raw space and shared our vision. What we like about Mike and Economy is that they sell a solution where he’ll sketch out what he thinks is a great solution for a kitchen, taking into consideration your input. This includes multiple menu price ranges in which we offer several different standardized items that can also be customized with anything including special requests.
We got on the same page very quickly. Mike knew that our goal was consistency. He took the time to look at what we had done in Manhattan and then created a plan to build on that. His approach was to accomplish that with the right mix of technology. So he helped us select ovens, fryers, ranges, and griddles that make prep work easier and consistently.
Mike suggested a game changer for us: the use of Rational Combi ovens to enable us to standardize cooking times and more. We also needed two large ranges so that we maintained our flexibility.
I can’t say enough about how Mike and the Economy team created the right flow within such a large kitchen space. Our goal was to create a facility that eliminated walking. Because when you have such a large kitchen, you don’t want people walking back and forth. So the goal was to create stations for the culinary and prep team that maximized productivity and consistency.
We are thrilled with the new Little Ferry kitchen. With the New Jersey facility now up and running, we are ready to add new business in both New York and New Jersey. Most importantly, we now have a production facility that will lock in the excellent service we are known for. So whether it’s an intimate dinner or conference for more than 2,000 participants, we can accomplish our goal of treating each client as if they are “family.”
Michael Konzelman’s Approach:
Food Trends has a unique challenge that we wish for all of our customers. They have built a wildly successful business in Manhattan. The result of the growth is that they simply needed more space to expand kitchen production capacity to be able to keep up with the demand. They had heard that Economy had built a number of catering kitchens in New Jersey.
They made the decision that in order to be able to grow the business, they would need to leave Manhattan. David and his team chose New Jersey for its access to the City. They had heard that Economy had built a number of catering kitchens in New Jersey. So that’s what brought us together. From the work we have done at venues in New Jersey, we have extensive experience in building and expanding bulk cooking kitchen facilities. Over the last 87 years, Economy has touched most of the best venues operating today.
Our approach to giving them the firepower they needed was to create a kitchen based around the very highest quality equipment. There’s simply too much at stake on a daily basis. So our strategy was based around a flow that includes the use of Rational combi ovens. There’s a reason why Rational just shipped their 10,000th unit, it works great. We’ve been with them from the very beginning. I know when we spec that oven that we can build a menu and the Rational unit will consistently deliver a high-quality product. So, we have utilized six stacks of the Rational combis to handle the demand.
The key to using this technology is understanding that it’s all about moisture. The very same moisture that combi cooking and re-therming delivers both consistent flavor and savings. You simply can’t reheat product, it dries out food. It’s not uncommon with the prep of steamship roast to generate savings of an additional two full roasts from every ten that a caterer is preparing. You do the math over a year of functions and it adds up.
The next step was to build out extensive counter and rack space so that we could quick chill product coming out of the ovens. This enabled the prep team to easily wrap and package product.
As we looked at Food Trends menu, we could see that a key component was high volume frying. David joined Economy at the NRA show in Chicago last year to look at everything available. We both agreed that the Ultrafryer was the perfect solution for the new facility. He loved the Ultrafryer technology that tells the team when it is time to change oil and to clean the unit. It’s clearly head and shoulders above any technology on the market today.
The next step in getting this right was the selection of the right walk-in boxes to support such a large production facility. So again, as we shopped the shows, we found new technology from Master-Bilt. They now build a box that features the ability to minimize the down time on the defrosting of their coils. The master controller creates a reverse cycle that is very energy efficient. We utilized four of those Master Bilt walk-ins with 50’ x 20’ footprints to give us the redundancy we needed.
One of our focuses as we look at moving this amount of food back into Manhattan is food safety. So, we are utilizing Cambro’s line of Camcarts to move everything safely to Food Trend’s customers. They are fully insulated throughout to hold and transport food safely and they don’t require any electricity. Cambro fits our goal of maintaining the integrity of the food we are moving and the units don’t rust or corrode like metal carts.
We are proud of our ability to listen to the needs of our clients. They told us that donuts have become a trendy feature for many of their client’s events. We showed them how the purchase of a Belshaw donut unit could create amazing donuts and pay for itself in a very short window. Look we know in the marketplace today that customers can buy equipment in many places. But the little things like buying a simple donut machine that has the potential to pay for the entire kitchen can make a difference.
David is one of the real visionaries that we have come across. So, the key to building this facility was to give him a design that could serve his needs now and have the capacity to grow with his creative vision.
The team at Economy takes the time to listen to the customer and bring their 87 years of experience together to design and build the facility tailored to that customers’ needs.