How are retailers navigating COVID-19, and what strategies can help them win in foodservice when this pandemic is over? Al and Frank chat with Jessica Williams, founder and CEO of Food Forward Thinking, LLC. She takes us through menu creation, foodservice failure modes, how to scale unique recipes, and more.

Jessica Williams on the In-Convenience Podcast discussing foodservice, convenience retailing, menu creation, COVID-19, and more

Food Forward Thinking LLC, Jessica Williams on the In-Convenience Podcast discussing convenience retail, foodservice, COVID-19, menu labeling, and more

About Jessica:

Jessica Williams founded Food Forward Thinking LLC to support the growth of foodservice in
convenience stores, restaurants, and grocery chains. Her consulting company’s specialty is elevating
foodservice executional consistency, and providing menu labeling compliance solutions. Williams works
with a broad range of foodservice operators, food distributors, and equipment manufacturers to dial in
recipe cost models, source ingredients and equipment, and provide nutrition facts for proprietary food
and beverage items.

Prior to founding her consulting firm, Williams led fresh food product development and quality
assurance at Thorntons, Inc. convenience store chain. The foodservice platform established there is
leading the industry in evolving consumer expectations and elevating food quality.

Williams learned foundational food innovation knowledge at Yum! Brands, Inc., where she conducted
consumer research and developed food and equipment items for the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand for
ten years. She has extensive experience with large-scale commercialization, experimental test design,
and consumer research. She has supported the growth of the KFC brand globally with assignments in
the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Latin America.

Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science & Technology from the University of Kentucky and
currently lives on an organic dairy farm in Kentucky.

Topics Discussed:

  • 3:20 – Why our systems were unprepared for COVID-19, and how each of our lives have changed
  • 11:20 – When all this is over, how many of the new changes will stay?
  • 23:50 – How are retailers adjusting pay, procedures, and more? What goes into an Emergency Action Plan?
  • 33:35 – How did Jessica make the transition from food science to convenience retail?
  • 41:20 – What are the most common foodservice failure modes for retailers? How can retailers improve?
  • 50:10 – How Jessica advises retailers about the ideal foodservice menu
  • 53:20 – How can independent retailers scale unique recipes as they grow their brand and open new locations?
  • 1:05:00 – When industry events begin again, how can you network successfully and drive value?
  • 1:19:50 – What will the “new normal” look like?
  • 1:30:20 – Jessica’s recommended resources and advice to anyone new to fuel and convenience

Connect with Jessica:

Mentioned in the Episode:

Jessica’s Recommended Publications and Organizations:

Jessica’s Recommended Podcasts:

Jessica’s Recommended Industry Events: