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.

On display: Lastly, the FSD Menu Development Study focuses on display cooking, added because more and more operators are bringing their chefs out of the kitchen and placing them either right on the serving line or in a dedicated station in the main dining room. It’s an effort to get the customer more involved in the meal process and engage them in their meal service so that they feel more a part of it and that it can meet their needs.

One-third of operators say they are involved with display cooking at the moment, yet 85% think it’s a necessary part of non-commercial dining today. Higher-volume operations are more likely to offer display cooking—led by colleges and universities (75%).

Those who provide display cooking set-ups usually have more than one display cooking station—an average of 2.6—available on a regular basis. More of them exist in higher-volume operations where display cooking not only gets the customer involved but also helps alleviate lines and wait times at other serving stations.

Nearly half of those doing display cooking offer it on a daily basis, while the rest offer display cooking at least once a week, or more.

Sales boost: How do you gauge the impact display cooking will have on your business? The FSD study shows that 60% of those involved with display cooking say customer volume increases on display days, to the tune of about 13% in sales.

Another consideration is cost—and while some operators say it costs an average 13% more to run a display cooking station compared to permanent serving counter, more than half of all operators see no significant extra expense when doing it.

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