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Announcing Centerpiece

I'm excited to announce the official launch of my new company, Centerpiece Software.  

Centerpiece is a technology company dedicated to the Foodservice Equipment and Supplies industry (FE&S). FE&S refers to any item that goes into a commercial kitchen that isn't food or beverages. While this is an under-the-radar industry, it is large ($30+ billion of ecosystem revenue) and touches all our lives as it impacts the cost, food quality and dining experience at every restaurant and hospitality operator we visit.

Our first product is currently in development with an anticipated launch date of September 2021.  It is a project and team management application with analytical and purchasing tools tailored to the unique needs of FE&S distributors. This is a customer base I'm familiar with after spending the last two years as a director at the industry leader, TriMark USA.

My Journey

Prior to joining TriMark USA, I spent six years in the investment management industry.  During this time, I studied and invested in hundreds of businesses in different industries across the world.  My biggest takeaway from this experience was that almost all great companies had at-least one thing in common - they were early and aggressive adopters of technology.  And the companies that ignored technology, regardless of their industry position, quickly and painfully suffered the consequences.

It explains why Amazon is worth more than 3x as much as Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Nobles combined; Netflix is worth $240 billion and Blockbuster is bankrupt; AirBnb is worth more than Marriot and Hilton; and technology companies represent eight of the ten largest companies in the US today. Technology is an opportunity for those that embrace it and a potentially lethal risk for those that don't.

When I joined TriMark in the summer of 2019, there were 2 things I noticed immediately.

  1. The industry is filled with dedicated and creative individuals who care deeply about the success of their restaurant and hospitality partners.
  2. There is very little high-quality technology for them to leverage

NAFEM, the industry's largest trade association, lists only 6 technology companies in the industry. One of them doesn't operate in the U.S. and another one is owned by a trade association.

The 4 remaining companies have less than 70 total employees listed on LinkedIn, the vast majority of whom work at AutoQuotes which was founded in the 1980s. Importantly, most of its employees are in non-technology roles.

Long story short, there are very few technologists serving this industry and there hasn't been a new major entrant in over 30 years.  Today is our first step towards changing that.

Our mission is to empower Foodservice professionals with the technology they need to help their restaurant and hospitality customers create exceptional dining experiences.  We believe we can help create the next wave of technology-powered, FE&S industry leaders.

Customer Obsession and Long-Term Focus

Technology, no matter how impressive the functionality, is useless if it is not solving a real problem.  We succeed only if our customers succeed so our first step is always understanding and prioritizing their needs.  From there, we work backwards to identify and build the technology that solves them.

We will treat every day as Day 1, constantly focused on the long-term.  Almost always the hardest problems cannot be solved quickly.  Many companies will not invest in product development if it does not yield easy and immediate profit.  Not us.  We care infinitely more about our customer's long-term success than our short-term performance.  We know that if we help our customers succeed over time, our business results will follow.

If you are interested in learning more, please subscribe for updates on our website (CenterpieceHQ.com).

Sam Grote, Founder and CEO

Centerpiece Software, Inc.

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