From the current macroeconomic challenges of the day to the disruptions of the past two years, there’s no shortage of distractions that can cause us to take our eyes off the “now” ball and fret about what the future may bring. Despite all this chaos, the fundamentals of foodservice have not changed. The so-called new reality is nothing new. Reality shifts constantly. Foodservice professionals have long known that we are unique among industries; every day can typically throw a curve ball. We must constantly re-clarify our vision for the future. The irony is that remaining fully present, with eyes open and attention keen, allows us to organically carve a better future. Doing the right things with the right people at the right time remains the most powerful road to success. We can’t stand still and ignore the issues of the day but going back to the basics that drove success in the first place can uncomplicate the fury and worry. As psychologist Bill Crawford aptly notes, “There are two times that we will never be able to control … what has happened in the past, and what will happen in the future. Better to focus on the only time we can truly influence, which is now.”
Karen Malody, Founder/Principal, Culinary Operations
Karen founded Culinary Options consultancy in 1997 after departing Starbucks where she had been Food, Beverage and Menu Development Director. Prior to that time, she had been vice-president of Food, Beverage and Product Development for Larry’s Markets, an upscale multi-unit supermarket in Seattle, WA. For six years prior to that Karen was Senior Director of concept and menu development for Satisfaction Guaranteed Eateries, a multiunit restaurant group in Seattle, WA. Her efforts led to the development of concepts and menus for four new locations as well as the reengineering of three legacy operations.
Karen’s earliest foray into the foodservice world, after shifting her career from psychiatric social work to food, was establishing one of the first cooking schools in Seattle, which later also provided highly reputed catering services. During that time, she wrote a weekly food column for the Seattle Times and co-founded of the Northwest Culinary Alliance.
Karen’s consulting approach is based on this pyramid of fundamental principles:
- Vision drives greatness
- Authenticity is golden
- Bold thinking creates big results
- Menu Drives Everything!
All her development work begins with the initial Visioning. In these sessions client goal clarity is illuminated. Synergy of purpose amongst all project stakeholders is attained. From that clarity and goal definition a fully articulated concept is created. The menu follows, as it is through the menu composition that a concept is given life. Karen’s passion for global flavors and intrinsically healthful cultural cuisines drives her product development. Food done right is her mantra.
Karen has received the Excellence in Management Advisory Services from the Foodservice Consultants Society International, Top Achiever Consultant of the year from Foodservice Equipment & Supplies and the Industry Service Award from Restaurant Equipment Reports. She has been a featured speaker at multiple foodservice industry conferences, chaired FCSI’s Council for Professional Standards for six years and contributes articles frequently to various foodservice publications.