“Foodservice took a better look at how it could improve — from menu items to how they attract a different customer base to how they keep their customer base to how they look at what is out there and how can they make menus more pleasing,” she said.
Fresh produce could be the beneficiary. Wright-Rana predicts greater menu diversity and the moving of produce to the center of the plate.
“Produce is no longer just a side dish,” she said.
“Flavor profiles are changing, and operators are getting away from a lot of salt, using alternatives.”
Younger, more creative chefs are behind many of the changes, she said. So, too, is demand.
“There is a growing population now living in very expensive senior centers,” Wright-Rana said.
“They don’t want Spam from a can. Both young and old are looking into healthier lifestyles.”
The recession also brought out the best among what Wright-Rana calls the Pro*Act membership family.
“They rallied around one another,” she said. “Instead of putting money in IT or more trucks or whatever, they kept money tight and are coming out in great shape.”
When they find the time, Wright-Rana and her husband feed their addiction to travel — especially international travel.
When she retires, Wright-Rana will oversee two households. She and her husband are building a home in New Zealand. They plan to split their retirement time between California and New Zealand.
Retirement is not in the near future for Wright-Rana, however, and other companies need not try to lure her from Pro*Act.
“When you work for the best company, why would you leave?” Wright-Rana said.
“It just feels right to be here.”