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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

Nov 18, 2016
Foodservice

From Dubai: An American Perspective on Delivery Tech

I was just at a conference in Dubai.  It was intended to be a global conference and, if you looked at the attendees, it pretty much was; especially from an American point of view.  The content was...

Generation Alpha Rises

I should go to more conferences. 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...

Nov 1, 2016
Foodservice

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. Just t...

Oct 19, 2016
Foodservice

Pizza Roboto

Two articles came across my screens here at the NPD Global Foodservice Blog Mountain Redoubt.  The first is another piece of evidence that living in Mountain View, CA shifts you perceptibly into t...

Oct 4, 2016
Foodservice

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. I love drones. I love delivery because it account...

Sep 22, 2016
Foodservice

An Etsy-like App for Home Cooked Meals

When my wife and I were new parents, tired and broke, we once vacationed in Minneapolis by staying in her brother's house while he and his wife were away.  It was a small and lovely house near the...

Sep 8, 2016
Foodservice

Brexit and Global Foodservice

There's a lot going on in the U.S. these days that is drawing the attention of Americans and generally dumbing them down to world affairs.  I mean, what could be more important than Ryan Lochte's futu...

That Was Then

If you’re old enough (and you probably aren’t), you remember when chicken sandwiches were once new, innovative items on fast food menus. And then, when fried chicken took on a less-than-healthful pati...

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

Everyone is on the qui vive for the next wildly inventive food fad. Who knows, maybe for the next fad even people living here around the global food blog’s mountain redoubt will get a chance to eat/se...

Dec 13, 2012
Foodservice

Food TruckinˈAlong

Is there anything in the foodservice business that is more appealing than a Taco Truck? As a former restaurant guy, I have to say that the idea that all I need is a kitchen with wheels and no dining r...