2005 Menu Development Survey: Dishing it out

Many of the largest organizations in foodservice have revamped, overhauled or otherwise upgraded their menus in recent years.

Non-commercial menus today exceed their forebears with regard to health and nutritional benefit, not to mention taste and convenience. But a host of business issues make menu development more challenging than ever.

Many of the largest organizations in foodservice have revamped, overhauled or otherwise upgraded their menus in recent years—no small task since competition is at a fever pitch, food costs are daunting and labor continues to pose its own set of woes.

For example, Sodexo’s Your Health Your Way recipe program for corporate dining “was designed by dietitians and executive chefs who have combined the most updated nutritional guidelines with a collection of meals that can be customized to fit any dietary lifestyle,” says Dick Macedonia, president and ceo of Sodexo.

The contractor is not alone in such endeavors. Aramark’s Just4U Branded Menu Platform and other efforts have come about in much the same way. Its goal? “To deliver an effective solution to address health, wellness, quality, variety and convenience that results in better retention, satisfaction and productivity,” says Doug Martinides, vice president of innovative dining solutions for Aramark.

FSD’s third annual Menu Develop­ment Study, conducted as the basis for the annual MenuDirections Conference (see page 8), confirms that menu development in non-commercial is a complex and involved process. It explores several areas of menu planning activity:

  • Is the cycle menu still the norm?
  • How prevalent are ethnic foods—and what are the top challenges to serving them?
  • Where do operators get new ideas?
  • What’s their approach to culinary training for staff members?
  • What meal production methods do they employ?
  • How can operators improve worker productivity?

Pages

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of New Mexico’s proposed on-campus taproom has officially been approved by the school’s Board of Regents.

Construction on the $650,000 student union taproom will begin this summer and is expected to finish in August when students return to campus. The school’s food vendor, Chartwells, and UNM’s Dining & Food Services department will split the cost of the taproom evenly.

Designed by students in the school’s architecture department, the space will feature a rotating selection of beer and wine, and will also welcome guest brewers. Chartwells will be...

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

FSD Resources