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Bob O’Brien

Global Senior Vice President - Foodservice

Bob O’Brien started his extensive foodservice career as a dishwasher while attending Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  After graduation he held nearly every possible back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house position in foodservice, and capitalized on these experiences in his ownership of multiple casual dining restaurants in Chicago from 1981 to 1987.

Bob joined NPD’s foodservice division in 1987, assuming a variety of client service positions until 1991, when he became Director of Sales and Market Development. In 1994 he became Vice President and General Manager of NPD’s CREST® foodservice market research service and assumed the role of President of the NPD Foodservice Information Group in 1998. Bob also developed new CREST businesses outside the USA. In 2003, he drove the launch of CREST®Japan, and led the launches of CREST® China and CREST® Australia in 2009. In January 2012, he launched the CREST® Mexico pilot project.

Bob speaks frequently to industry and management groups including the Society for the Advancement of Foodservice Research, NRA’s Marketing Executive Group, National Cattlemen’s Association, INTERNORGA, Shanghai American Chamber of Commerce, Meiji University, ANUGA, the International Mass Retailers Association, Cornell University, COEX, the Presidents Conference and others.

Recent Posts

Dec 12, 2017
Foodservice Convenience At The Speed Of Light

I have been in the foodservice industry, actually working in the industry and later watching the industry, for a real long time.

Jan 18, 2017
Globally Mobile

The old method of ordering is the same size that it was ten quarters ago and the other two methods have grown consistently, quarter-after- quarter.

Jan 10, 2017
Most Millennials are Vegetarians...Kind Of

I love reading things about the tastes of Millenials. For instance, I recently read that restaurants supposedly can really go a long way with them by offering vegetarian fare. I've been using

Dec 14, 2016
Foodservice Delivery’s One-Two Punch

The introduction of apps that aggregate many different restaurants, chains, and independents has created a situation in which local restaraunts in general are now able to compete with chains on a more equal footing.

Nov 18, 2016
From Dubai: An American Perspective on Delivery Tech

The Americans, like the Chinese, Canadians, Australians and various Europeans, are concerned about food delivery services apps.

Generation Alpha Rises

I was just at a global foodservice conference in Dubai (with a distinctly American agenda) and came across the term "Generation Alpha," which covers anyone born after 2010.

Nov 1, 2016
A Coffee Shop Down Under Defines Authenticity

This little business, Two Penny Blue (the name refers to a stamp), is maybe my favorite business in the world. It's tucked into an arch in the old post office building in Sydney, Australia.

Oct 19, 2016
Pizza Roboto

3-D pizza printers with robotic ovens/cutters/boxers inside self-driving delivery vans.

Oct 4, 2016
Fly My Pretties, Fly!!

Two blistering hot delivery stories in the news this week: Amazon Food in London and Chipotle/Alphabet delivering burritos at Virginia Tech via drone.

Sep 22, 2016
An Etsy-like App for Home Cooked Meals

While it's hard to compete with traditional take home foods, no single home cook needs a mass market.

Sep 8, 2016
Brexit and Global Foodservice

The British market was the strongest global market in Q2 2016 tracked by NPD's CREST foodservice market research.

That Was Then

We found that consumers were reporting a fair number of broiled chicken sandwiches at a chain that we knew did not offer broiled chicken sandwiches.

It’s A Chicken! It’s A Doughnut! It’s A Chicken Doughnut!

It’s A Chicken! It’s A Doughnut! It’s A Chicken Doughnut!

Dec 13, 2012
Food TruckinˈAlong

There are between three and four thousand high-end food trucks and near 3 million traditional food trucks

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