2007 Portability Study: Portability on the menu

Portability continues to be a big part of most foodservice operators’ business, according to the 2007 FoodService Director Study on Portability.

By the numbers, portability continues to be a driving force in noncommercial foodservice—and operators’ actions back the statistics. Read the results of FoodService Director's 2007 Portability Study and see how the statistics play out in cafeterias and retail operations.

Portability continues to be a big part of most foodservice operators’ business, according to the 2007 FoodService Director Study on Portability. Although the overall percentage of operators surveyed who say they offer portable menu items in their dining facilities is less than last year—62% versus 70%—take-away business is still strong and anecdotal evidence suggests that portable foods will be a mainstay in noncommercial foodservice for years to come.

“Everyone wants grab-and-go,” says Denisa Cate, food and nutrition director for Henry County Medical Center in Tennessee. “And they will take away anything. We don’t need to create a grab-and-go menu. Whatever can be put in a portable package will leave our facility. We have nurses who will group together, for instance, and one of them will come down and pick up the order for all of them, and they take turns. Grab-and-go is very popular.”

Randy Sparrow, director of foodservice for Bloomington Hospital, Bloomington, Ind., concurs.

“Grab and go is picking up for our facilities,” says Sparrow. “We are selling more and more pre-packaged items such as sandwiches, any variety of fresh fruit cups and relish plates in addition to desserts and side salads. We find that more the cooler is filled the more our staff purchases. More and more of our staff are buying items so they can take their food home, back to their lounges or outside to enjoy the weather. We have always had a steady take-out business. However, we have introduced display cooking within the past year and now employees are buying the featured items and taking them home to their families.”

It’s certainly not surprising that take-away would be strong in noncommercial foodservice, since studies show that, overall, we are more and more a “take-out nation.” A recent survey by the NPD Group, for example, revealed that the average American last year ate 208 meals prepared outside the home. Of those meals, 127 were ordered to go, and 37% of respondents indicated that they had used curbside pick-up from sit-down restaurants at some point last year.

Pages

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources