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

K-12 foodservice participating in federal nutrition programs soon could fall into some extra cheese. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to buy 11 million pounds of cheese to raise plummeting prices, the result of a dairy glut. The acquired product will be distributed to federal nutrition programs, which might include WIC, SNAP and Child Nutrition Programs, and food banks.

The purchase falls short of a call from Congress, unions, special interest groups and commodity organizations for a $150 million buyout of dairy assets to mitigate the 35% drop in dairy revenues—a 30-year...

Ideas and Innovation
cardboard takeout box

The death knell keeps ringing for polystyrene containers. A story Monday in the Chicago Tribune reports that a man who provided free recycling for the foam products in 10 area communities is shutting down his services, citing expense and logistical difficulties, and leaving few options for diverting the material from landfills.

“From a business perspective, there is no market for [recycled polystyrene foam]. It's difficult to sell,” Beth Lang, facilities and general services manager at the Recycling Drop-Off Center in Naperville, Ill., told the Tribune. “The second reason, and more...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at Martin Luther College will be able to cook their own food in the cafeteria this year, thanks to the addition of a new self-cook station installed during the cafeteria’s renovation, The Journal reports.

In addition to the self-cook station, which contains induction cookers, the revamped cafeteria at the New Ulm, Minn., school will include new pizza equipment, a panini grill, tiled floors, poured countertops and new arrangements to make the cafeteria appear more open.

"We wanted to make it look more like a restaurant and not like a cafeteria," Director of Dining...

Industry News & Opinion

Two chefs at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., are trying to help solve the Mars food dilemma, myfoxspokane.com reports .

Just outside the school’s cafeteria, Executive Chef Timothy Grayson and his partner, Christine Logan-Travis, are trying their hand at growing tomatoes, oregano, basil and other plants in Martian Regolith Soil, the closest soil on Earth to that found on the fourth planet from the sun.

All of the plants in the Mars-inspired garden are intended for human consumption.

“It is a reality that at some point, if man goes to Mars, they will need to...

FSD Resources