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?

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