Linens and Workwear Trends Top Inaugural F&B Conference Agenda

Posted February 24, 2020 at 9:18 am

Roughly 100 laundry operators and suppliers turned out for an in-depth educational and networking experience as part of TRSA’s inaugural Food and Beverage (F&B) Conference on Feb. 5-6 at the Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas.

The action kicked off with an executive roundtable on Feb. 5, that followed the morning tour of two laundries, the Alsco Linen and Uniform Rental plant in North Las Vegas and the Boyd Gaming Linen and Uniform Services facility in Henderson, NV.

The official program began on the morning of Feb. 6 with Robert Byrne Sr., senior manager, consumer insights, for Technomic, an F&B consulting firm. Byrne’s keynote presentation gave attendees a broad overview of trends and developments in the restaurant space.

Additional topics covered during the one-day F&B educational program included:

  • Facilitated roundtable sessions, topics for discussion included opportunities in facility services, keeping customers engaged and happy, table linen trends, the future of F&B, recruitment/retention efforts, and employee engagement.
  • Garments: Customer Wants and Needs, featured a panel of experts that included Steve McInelly, a sales consultant for Alsco Linen and Uniform Rental Services, Las Vegas; Dave Shimp, vice president of sales and marketing for Pinnacle Textile Industries LLC; and Kelly Starman, vice president of business development for Regent Apparel. The panelists discussed a range of trends and opportunities in garment rental and direct-sale business developments related to the F&B sector. Beau Murchison, general manager for Alsco, Las Vegas, served as moderator.
  • Linen’s Role in Sustainability, with Outi Luukko, CEO of Touchpoint, a Finnish maker of workwear from recycled materials; and Alexis Miller, vice president and general counsel of Regent Apparel.
  • Standards and Regulations, a lunchtime presentation by Kevin Schwalb, TRSA’s vice president of government relations, focusing on a range of policy issues at the local, state and national levels.
  • TRSA’s Hygienically Clean Food Service Certification by Audrey Carmichael, a Six Disciplines client coach. Carmichael outlined the high points of the certification process, including the preparation of a quality assurance manual, textile testing and the third-party plant inspections required to achieve the certification.

The event was capped by a Customer Perspectives Panel, during which attendees heard a range of high-profile customer viewpoints on F&B linens and workwear from a distinguished panel of Las Vegas area F&B executives: Cory Cutler, operating partner, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar; Stewart Patchefsky, general manager, Mansion & Skylofts at MGM; and Dave Simmons, executive chef, Lawry’s the Prime Rib. The panelists emphasized the need for quality linens and service to match. While the business is changing, all three panelists appreciate the value that linen and workwear bring to the dining experience. Katherine Jacobi, president and CEO, Nevada Restaurant Association, moderated this panel.

Next year’s F&B Conference will occur during the first week in February in Atlanta, GA. For more information on this and other TRSA professional development programs, visit To learn more about market-specific executive roundtables, contact Joseph Ricci, president and CEO, TRSA, at