A Monthly Briefing for Optical Lab Owners and Managers

- October 2018 -

Dollars & Sense

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Lab Notes

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Dollars & Sense

Serve This, Not That

By Tracy Stuckrath

In the past when you scheduled a business meeting you had pizza delivered or ordered sandwiches from the local deli. Sometimes you splurged by taking the group out to a local restaurant. It was never a concern about what was offered or served to the group.

As someone in charge of planning a company function these days, however, ignoring the needs of your employees or clients could potentially send some to the hospital or break a sale. David learned this when he was preparing for a lunch presentation and had a couple of new consultants at his client’s firm.

He had started a practice of sending the standard, gluten-free and vegan menus to his clients “to let people figure out what they would like to eat instead of getting stuck with another round of pizza or sandwiches.” He had heard one of the new guys was hard to get along with. Little did David know, that by sending over different menus, he was able to meet the new person’s dietary needs and that a consultant didn’t have to sit through the presentation watching everyone enjoy their lunches while he was “eating his second piece of lettuce.”

Sending over the multiple menus for him to choose from also allowed a relationship to begin on a positive note and he has since worked with him on other projects and has shared some of his own experience with food issues that his daughter was being tested for—win-win all the way around.

The number of people adhering to specific diets these days is increasing daily. From paleo to keto, food allergies to diabetes, celiac disease to veganism, cancer to halal, your employees, customers and potential clients may well be following a special diet.

Reasons for the increase in requests include:

* Increase in chronic disease and aging workforce
* Kosher attendees are asking for accommodation
* Rise in food allergies
* More attendees are choosing to eat vegetarian or vegan
* Diverse religious dietary requirements
* Growing acceptance of alternative diets
* General desire to eat healthier

No matter the reason, understanding and accommodating the dietary needs of your employees and customers should be considered standard practice for anyone planning a meeting or event. But with so many requests, how do you if know if you can serve this and not that?

1. Know the Needs

Managing the multitude of requests can be challenging at best, but understanding the basic guidelines for the most prevalent requests can go a long way.

Food Allergies: More than 120 foods are known to cause allergic reactions, but eight foods cause 90 percent of all allergic reactions—milk, egg, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and fish—by touching, ingesting, or inhaling. Food allergies can be fatal, so it’s important to take these requests seriously, and ensure your catering partners do too.

Medical Conditions: There are a variety of other medical conditions that are managed through diet—celiac disease/gluten sensitivity, diabetes, Crohn’s, diverticulitis, heart disease, cancer and obesity. Although they may not be immediately life threatening like food allergies, they can trigger serious health issues that take your attendees away from your meeting.

Lifestyle Preferences: More than 27 million people follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. Millions of others are eating gluten-free, paleo, raw, macrobiotic or vegan. The reasons for doing so can be personal, moral or health-related. No matter what the reason, meeting hosts need to appreciate and accept their preferences.

Religious and Cultural Practices: One third of the world population follows a religious-based diet, so knowing attendee demographics is important. Some may choose to eat vegan or vegetarian when traveling, but others may require a certified meal. And some religious diets vary based on the calendar and the time of day.

2. Planning is Critical

Managing food restrictions and needs can be cumbersome, but a little extra planning and forethought can go a long way.

Ask your attendees about their dietary needs when inviting them. If you have online registration, be specific by using check boxes—not fill-in-the-blank boxes—which leave room for assumptions that could potentially be fatal. Otherwise, give attendees a way to inform you of their needs.

Talk to your attendees. If you have questions about their needs, call them. Put them in touch with the chef or restaurant directly. They’re the experts on their own needs, so who better to ask? Maybe they could even help plan the menu for everyone.

Communicate with your caterer(s) in advance—not hours, but at least a week before, if possible. The earlier your catering partner knows, the more time they have to incorporate the needs into the overall menu or provide quality options. Also ensure the necessary safety steps are being taken in preparing, cooking and serving food. Cross-contact in the kitchen and the front of the house can be fatal.

3. Offer Fresher, More Nutritious Options

While chain restaurants are now required by law to provide nutrition information about the food they sell, ordering food from a local restaurant that makes their food from scratch allows for easier identification of ingredients and to make any necessary adjustments for dietary needs.

4. Foster an Inclusive Environment

The ideal inclusive environment has long been meant to allow individuals to bring their true and authentic selves to work. However, most inclusion efforts do not address dietary needs.

For example, an Indian man accepted the chicken salad plate presented to him at lunch because he did not want to ask for a vegetarian meal. Instead he ate the romaine lettuce the chicken salad was placed on. John, a vegan who was interning at a company who offered him a job upon graduation was partaking in the intern pizza lunch. When he was not eating the pizza, he was asked why not. Instead of asking if a vegan pizza could be ordered, he ate his vegan protein bar.

5. No Longer Just a Matter of Good Guest Relations

In 2008, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was amended to clarify and broaden that definition of the word “disability,” thus expanding the number and types of persons protected under the ADA, including individuals with food allergies, celiac disease, and other conditions that affect their ability to eat.

At meetings that are either a requirement or benefit of employment, a reasonable meal accommodation must be provided to meet an employee’s dietary need(s) or it can be seen as discriminating against the employee for their disability. The ADAAA protection also extends to any events held in places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hotels, convention and conference centers.

In conclusion

As a meeting host, you’re responsible for bringing people together from around the world to share an experience. While at your meeting, they are in, in an essence, under your care. You have taken on the commitment to plan their meals and their experience. And, as such, you’re responsible for the health, safety and well-being. By taking a few extra steps to ensure their personal enjoyment, safety and health is valuable and showcases your professionalism.

As founder and chief connecting officer of Thrive!, Tracy Stuckrath helps organizations worldwide understand how food and beverage (F&B) affects risk, employee/guest experience, company culture and the bottom line. As a speaker, consultant, author and event planner, she is passionate about safe and inclusive F&B that satisfies everyone’s needs. She has presented to audiences on five continents and believes that food and beverage provide a powerful opportunity to engage audiences on multiple levels. For more information about Tracy, please visit:



Lab Notes

Luxexcel Makes New Hire, Opens New Facility


Luxexcel, the pioneer in 3D printing of ophthalmic lenses, has announced the appointment of Fabio Esposito as Chief Executive Officer to lead the company in its next growth phase.

Esposito brings to the company a strong track record of transforming businesses from technology innovators to established players. Throughout his career, he successfully led the introduction of disruptive technologies to the market including Optical Systems and 3D Printing.

Said Hans Streng outgoing CEO Luxexcel: “After several years at the helm of Luxexcel, I am ready to enjoy more time with my family. I am proud to have been able to bring Luxexcel together with the management team and our dedicated employees to this level. With Fabio, I am convinced we have found the perfect CEO to lead Luxexcel through the next phase." 

Esposito added: “I am excited to join the Luxexcel team in this pivotal phase of the company’s growth. Building on the success achieved under Hans’ leadership, the focus will now be ramping up commercialization and product development. We will continue to capitalize on the introduction of the VisionPlatform as well as expanding the team to grow Luxexcel to the next stage.”

Alongside the appointment of the new CEO, Luxexcel announced today that it has raised $13.9 million C-round funding led by Innovation Industries with the participation of its other existing investors. This funding allows Luxexcel to accelerate its growth while expanding towards the new world of smart prescription glasses. Participating in this equity round are Innovation Industries (the Netherlands), SET Ventures (the Netherlands), Munich Venture Partners (Germany), PMV regional investment fund (Belgium) and KLA-Tencor Corporation (United States of America).

Said Nard Sintenie, Partner at Innovation industries: “We are impressed by both the progress Luxexcel has been making in developing this great technology as well as the traction the products are getting in the eyewear market. With the new CEO and this funding, Luxexcel will scale her business and the installed base of the VisionPlatform.”

Luxexcel has also announced the opening of a new US-based Customer Demonstration Lab in Alpharetta, Ga. The facility will house a full Luxexcel VisionPlatform system and supports the Luxexcel customer base.

“After opening our North American Headquarters in January 2018, we are ready for the next step by expanding to a fully operational Customer Demonstration Lab in Alpharetta," said said Guido Groet, Chief Commercial Officer Luxexcel. "The demo location will strengthen the company’s North American customer support and will give US-based labs a unique preview of the Luxexcel VisionPlatform technology and its integration into a typical lab environment.”

The Customer Demonstration lab will provide the opportunity to show the VisionPlatform creating ophthalmic lenses and will run sample production for selected strategic partners. In October, the Customer Demonstration Lab will be fully operational. 

Essilor Sun Solution Reaches Everest Summit


Essilor Sun Solution, the Essilor Group division dedicated to plano sun lenses, supported the first-ever 100 percent female expedition team to summit Mount Everest: Kanchhi Maya Tamang and her team were on an amazing journey to help defend gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nepal.

See the pictures and watch the video about this extraordinary expedition:
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Essilor Sun Solution is proud to have supported these women in this adventure. An all-female expedition reached the summit of Mount Everest as part of an extraordinary undertaking to send a strong message for women's empowerment.

A group of six Nepalese women, led by Kanchhi Maya Tamang, began climbing Everest from its southern flank on the Nepali side of the mountain. By conquering the world's highest summit, standing at 8,848 meters, these climbers have proven to the world that women can take on any challenge. This adventure required intense physical and mental preparation: the team had to face climatic conditions that were both extreme and unpredictable.

While most of these women had grown up in mountainous areas, long preparation was still necessary to prepare them for the harsh climate, the lack of oxygen, low pressure and extreme cold. Suitable equipment was also essential to deal with these conditions. Once they reached the summit, the mountain climbers were able to take in the extraordinary panoramic view from the top of Mount Everest.

Kanchhi Maya is the first Tamang woman to reach the roof of the world; she is also the first woman to climb Mount Everest for an important cause. On the mountaintop, she raised a flag that read: “We are people, not property.” A very strong message, synonymous with the fight against human trafficking, for which women and girls in her region are particularly at risk.

During her speech after the return of the expedition, Kanchhi Maya, herself a former victim of modern slavery, made a point of drawing attention to her fight for women’s empowerment and for gender equality in sports. She said, "For many Nepali women and girls, there is an invisible Everest between their homes and the sports field. I have climbed Everest to empower women who are climbing their own mountains."

The team received support from Essilor Sun Solution and from the Sherpa Shepherds association. In addition, Kanchhi Maya Tamang is an ambassador for UN Women Nepal, a United Nations organization founded in 2010 to advance the rights of women around the world. This feat has given Kanchhi Maya Tamang and her team celebrity status in Nepal. While the climb wasn’t as easy as expected, five of them nevertheless managed to pull it off brilliantly. They have proven that women can strive to reach any heights and have all the resources necessary to achieve the most ambitious goals.


Brian Dunleavy, Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor

Brian is the Editor of LabTalk. He covers wholesale laboratories, lab systems, other ECP news and features/coverage. Contact Brian at [email protected].

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