Episode 181: How Restaurants are Adapting to the Global Pandemic, with Neal Sherman

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Neal Sherman is the founder and President of TAGeX Brands, a global firm that creates marketplaces for surplus equipment, inventory, and other assets. With a sound foundation in the food industry, TAGeX has expanded into other sectors and focuses on generating return on assets and reducing waste. TAGeX Brands connects buyers and sellers in a common marketplace. The industries served include retailers, restaurants, grocery chains, manufacturers, distributors and convenience stores. ​ For over thirty years, TAGeX and its affiliated firms have helped clients deal with the challenges of growth, transition, and decline. Serving up to 35,000 locations per year, TAGeX has been a pioneer in the outsourcing of equipment and facility transitions. The firm boasts a multitude of sales channels that serve clients and customers across the nation.

After years of growth and the need for a larger facility, TAGeX Brands relocated its operations from the Washington D.C. area to the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, near Sherman’s hometown of Geneva. This move was prompted by his role in the development of a 1,000-acre portion of the former Seneca Army depot. ​ Sherman is a committed member of the Young Presidents Organization, with 20,000 members in 300 Chapters in 100 Countries. He has served in a number of roles for the group including Chapter Chair of the Empire Chapter in Rochester, New York, home of YPO Founder Ray Hickok. Neal chaired the Miami YPO/WPO Global Leadership Conference.

In 2017, Neal was inducted into the Fellows Program at the Culinary Institute of America, which is widely recognized as the world’s premier culinary college with an industry-wide reputation for excellence and more than 49,000 alumni. ​ Sherman was appointed to the founding Executive Board of the Remanufacturing Industries Council (RIC). The RIC serves as the industry advocate for all sectors engaged in Remanufacturing, a market valued at over $100 billion, employing over 500,000 people. ​ Among a variety of charitable pursuits has been a life-long commitment to cancer causes and disadvantaged youth. Sherman has been honored by a number of organizations including Young Women’s College Preparatory School of Rochester, The Center for Youth, and New Leadership for Israel Bonds.

His unique experience and perspective on the restaurant and broader business environment has been sought by the media, business leaders, and government officials. He has provided his perspective and analysis to a range of media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, USA Today, The New York Times, Nation’s Restaurant News, Franchise Times, and the Restaurant Finance Monitor. Sherman has also spoken at a number of industry conferences.

Sherman has a BA in Government from The American University in Washington, D.C., studied Economics at the University of London and received a Masters of Business Administration from New York University. He has been a frequent lecturer on college campuses and an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Columbia Union College. ​ Neal has been married for over thirty years to his wife Pam, a lawyer, actress, syndicated columnist, and global speaker (www.ThePamSherman.com). They have launched two children in the world and live in Rochester, New York.

On our podcast, we are joined by Neal Sherman, the founder and President of TAGeX Brands. In our discussion, Neal shares his perspective on the hospitality and food industries amidst the global crisis. He talks about what it will look like when we come out on the other side, and what strategies we can use to thrive during this crisis.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:
  • Neal’s perspective on the hospitality and food industries amidst the global crisis
  • What the pandemic has done to the restaurant and hospitality industries, and what it will look like when we come out on the other side
  • Strategies that businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries can use to thrive during this crisis
  • How restaurants are adapting to the limitations of lockdown
  • Some of the initial rollout contingencies we are seeing in Texas, and how restaurants are navigating them
  • How these changes are forcing us to reinvent the restaurant experience
  • How Neal helps businesses monetize what they aren’t using
Restaurants in Distress

Neal Sherman is the founder and President of TAGeX Brands, a global firm that handles all aspects of facility closure and equipment liquidation in the food industry. TAGeX is a mediator between buyers and sellers of restaurant equipment, facilitating transactions in a common marketplace for the betterment of the industry as a whole. On our podcast, Neal shares his perspective on the hospitality and food industries amidst the global crisis. Neal’s experience on the operations side of the restaurant business enables him to provide a unique viewpoint on what the pandemic has done to the industry. He talks about what it will look like when we come out on the other side, and what strategies we can use to thrive during this crisis.

Change is Inevitable

Many of us have seen the numbers depicting the impact that the global pandemic has had on the hospitality and restaurant industries. But Neal Sherman sees them through an entirely different lens. As of last week, 130,000 restaurants were closed in America, eight million people were displaced from their jobs, and the industry will lose about $225B in total. That number is only the operators—if you take into account all of the ancillary industries as well, the numbers are amplified. It is painful to watch, and even more painful to experience, but change is inevitable and we have to figure this out on our own. We can choose to sit in the corner and sulk, or we can get back in the ring and fight—it is our decision to make.

Communication is Key

The thin margins associated with the hospitality industry contribute to its volatility. But restaurants were not made to sustain protracted periods of time with no business. In most industries, businesses do not operate with a six-month cash reserve, and restaurants have even less of a cushion. They are doing what they can to adapt. Creative twists on take-out and delivery strategies are helping restaurant owners recoup some of their losses. But it is only making up around 10-20%. Restaurants have to balance reopening with what is feasible based on their books, but communication is the key to making it work. Many operators are negotiating sacred topics that are never traditionally negotiated, such as bank loans, rent, vendor terms, etc. It is not going to be easy

Episode Transcript

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203 episodes