Message from CEO Managing Director, Helene Kennan

Posted by Helene Kennan on 5/12/20


Dear Valued Partners:

I have read messages from many different leaders communicating the uncertainty of these unprecedented times we are living through right now. I’m not sure how everyone else is feeling, but I could use a break from unprecedented. I would like to share some of the insights we are exploring for Guckenheimer and the global ISS community.

First and most importantly, I would like to extend my thanks for the extraordinary care our clients have shown our team members. Many of them have provided much-needed stability as we negotiate closing cafes, limiting services and making our way into what will be a very different food-at-work service model when we return. We know our people are the bedrock of what makes us different, and I am so immensely grateful for all our clients have done to help us and help them. The words thank you don’t express the depth of my appreciation.

There is constant dialogue and speculation surrounding the new normal in food. We are asking and discussing questions like: What is the future of work? What is the future of the workplace? What is the future of workflow? Will we move away from self-service delivery models to fully served or automated formats? Will we ever be the same? Our global back-to-work task force of subject matter experts in food, design-thinking and supply chain are working on immediate and long-term answers. We look forward to sharing our findings with you soon.

“No contact” hospitality is likely to be a strange convergence of the future and the past. Virtual platforms must continue to evolve to allow for a more personalized remote experience with our clients, guests and team members. I believe next-generation reward programs will expand the definition of loyalty, reflecting the relationship between provider and patron beyond a monetary benefit. Social graces should make a comeback – you can learn anything on You Tube! It will become increasingly important to drive connection the old-fashioned way. Snail mail may experience a resurgence. A card or letter is a tangible expression of appreciation that is infinitely more meaningful than a text message (though I’m certainly not suggesting we stop texting). Especially now, everyone needs to know he or she is essential.

There will be nothing more important than protecting our clients’ people, our people and our common work spaces once we re-open sites for business. Guckenheimer operates as the food division for ISS in North America, allowing us to take advantage of the benefits of the ISS solution. Our highly trained, visible workforce can self-deliver leading-edge, sustainable solutions to disinfect high-touch areas and reduce the risk of infection. If you would like more information about safely re-opening locations, please contact your Guckenheimer Area Manager.

 While it’s hard to be sure about much, I am certain of a few truths:

  • Virtual meetings are best with the camera on.
  • Kindness will always have a place in our interactions – in person or on screen.
  • Talent strategy is likely to evolve from “a great place to work” to “a trusted company that cares.”
  • Creating the new normal requires contributions from everyone; please join the conversation.

Navigating a global pandemic creates enduring partnerships. Thank you so much for yours.


Helene Kennan
CEO/Managing Director, ISS Guckenheimer

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