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.


More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
rooster illustration

Sustainability is such a priority for Santa Rosa Junior College’s culinary arts program that produce often doesn’t even hit the cooler before becoming a meal. Students quickly transform the bounty of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and more, harvested from the college’s own farm, into restaurant-quality dishes at the Culinary Cafe and Bakery. They learn the basics of agriculture, practice pivoting a menu based on seasonality, and compost as they cook.

It’s little wonder the program recently placed first in the CAFE/Kendall College Green Awards: This Northern California community...

Managing Your Business
alumni worker

It’s a sure sign that a school is doing something right when its students want to come back and work as adults. From the standpoint of the foodservice director, though, there is plenty to gain from retaining homegrown talent—call it the ultimate return on investment. In the wake of back-to-school season, two dining programs with a robust alumni contingent share their thoughts on hiring former customers.

Local expertise

At Georgia Southern University, about one-third of Eagle Dining Services’ 107 full-time employees are alumni. “They way we do things on our campus may be very...

Managing Your Business
business ladder climbing illustration

Recruiting talent is only half the battle for Mike Folino, associate director of nutrition services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Once he’s attracted good employees, providing clear opportunities for advancement can help retain them—but knowing when to bring up the topic in conversation can be tricky.

Prior to hiring

Folino likes to touch on advancement during the initial interview process, but the extent to which he does so changes case by case. “I have had interviews where we knew right away that we needed to discuss our structure and...

Managing Your Business
hands team

In November, students at University of Missouri in Columbia began leading protests against discrimination faced by people of color on campus—including some marches through the dining halls. Julaine Kiehn, director of the school’s campus dining services, said the 2015-16 school year was a tough one, but she was proud of MU’s students for being at the forefront of a national movement.

And not only did the protests launch important conversations with students, but also with staff. Kiehn heard the protests and thought that her student workers, at least, might not feel safe and welcome...

FSD Resources