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Another year, another birthday

For us all, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality industry, the holiday season is by far the busiest time of the year. Despite the shorter days and longer hours, here at Santé central we always pause to give special thanks to the forces that be for our continuing success. We launched Santé magazine in December 1996 and now, 14 years later, I am proud to present another anniversary issue.

As anniversaries go, the 14th may not seem particularly significant. But, given the economic and business upheaval of the past 24 months, 14 years has a bit of magical realism about it. The good news for us, as with many of our readers, is that we’ve learned to adapt to changing realities.

The challenging business climate of the past 24 months had its silver lining. As many of you in the restaurant and hospitality business have learned, there’s nothing like a crisis to hone one’s business skills and refocus attention on the essentials. With the economic storm finally on the wane, it’s time to look to the future and renewed growth. As noted in the introduction to the issue’s Food & Beverage Management section, restaurant and hospitality professionals from across the country are cautiously optimistic. Most saw moderate revenue growth in 2010, as customers started returning to their favorite establishments. According to the National Restaurant Association, industry-wide year-to-year sales grew by four percent in fourth quarter 2010 and are predicted to grow at a similar rate well into 2011.

Capturing your share of that growth, as we also report in this issue, will to a large extent depend on the perceived value you bring to the table (no pun intended). Overall guest experience (service, food and beverage quality, atmosphere, price, etc.) should be the foremost consideration of every employee and owner. Building a culture of guest satisfaction requires thoughtful attention to detail, relentless training, and a company-wide commitment. Without it, you run the risk of alienating today’s hesitant consumers; build it right, and it should pay off in spades.

Here at Santé, we remain committed to providing you with the best possible news and information for managing and growing your business. We, too, are looking forward to growth in 2011. We will continue to expand our electronic media and social networking capabilities, while maintaining our high quality standards in both the print and digital versions of Santé magazine. Following the overwhelming success of the 2010 Santé Awards program, we look forward to growing the program in 2011, and to expanding the Santé community live and online through similar programs, conferences, competitions, and other special events.

In this issue, our final for 2010, the primary focus is on food and beverage management, with 20 food, wine, spirits, and general management articles by some of the top restaurant and hospitality professionals in the nation. Also included here are articles on Prosecco, Piemonte, and gin, as well as nearly 250 wine and spirits reviews, industry news, and book reviews.

Finally, I want to offer my personal thanks to all of Santé’s contributing writers and editors, production and design team members, advertisers and event sponsors, and most importantly to our readers for another wonderful year.

Until next time, à votre Santé!

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