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What drives the nation’s top foodservice operators? We asked the 2018 Silver Plate Class and got an inside look at what makes them the operator all-stars they are today. Find out what they have to say about their passion for foodservice, career accomplishments and what it means to be part of a legendary group of operators.



Michiel Bakker, Director, Google Food at Google received the 2018 Silver Plate Award in the Business & Industry/Foodservice Management category. Nominated by Ecolab.

What do you enjoy most about your career in foodservice?

To start with, the food services industry provides so many, including me, amazing and incredible opportunities to work anywhere around the world; to be involved in the creation and delivery of the great food experiences and to see, enjoy and experience the world. It is an industry where you get to meet and work with individuals from all walks of life and where, regardless of your skills and beliefs, you can have a fulfilling career and role as there are so many different opportunities.

Tell us about your biggest career accomplishment:

I believe that my ‘biggest’ accomplishment so far is the ‘food at work’ work I am leading at Google (and progress). By building out and collaborating in a network of amazing global partners (companies like Compass, Sodexo, Guckenheimer, Aramark, institutions such as the Culinary Institute of America as well as food companies (large and small), combined with sharing and acting upon a common vision, I have been able to get various individuals, groups and organizations excited, engaged and enabled in the journey of using and changing food to create a better (food) future.     

I truly believe that you can make change and a difference if you act upon your beliefs, find common ground among stakeholders and stay true and focused on your broader aspirations.

How is your segment making a difference for the foodservice industry?

Based on the work we are doing with our global ‘food at work’ program at Google, we are making a difference in the B&I segment. We are leading by example, collaborating with various (industry) partners on the development and roll out of new initiatives and sharing our learnings with the industry.

Some of the initiatives we are working on are:

  • How might we shift diets of our user base to a more balanced, plant forward/based diet? What are barriers? What are drivers of change?
  • How might we reduce food waste in our type of food service operations? How do you measure food waste? How do you develop and implement changes to actually reduce food waste?
  • How can we contribute to increasing food literacy of your workforce? We have a global cooking class program.

What advice do you have for someone new to the foodservice industry?

Enjoy and build upon the incredible opportunities the industry has to offer you. The industry offers amazing jobs, careers and growth opportunities. Dream big and make sure you enjoy each and every step in your career. And don’t wait for tomorrow for what can be enjoyed, done and experienced today.

What does being an IFMA Silver Plate recipient mean to you?

I consider it an incredible recognition for the work done (so far) by an amazing group of partners working in the ‘food at work’ space at Google. It is so encouraging and humbling that the work being done is being recognized by industry peers.


Join us at the 2018 IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration and help us in honoring Michiel Bakker and the rest of the Silver Plate Class. Click HERE for event information and to reserve your table now!