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.

On the noncommercial side, portability appears to have its strongest hold in corporate dining. Every B&I operator in the FSD survey indicated that they offer portable items. What’s more, these operators said that, on average, take-away business accounts for more than 30% of their overall revenue—more than six percentage points higher than the survey average of 24%.

“I think time constraints have a lot to do with the increase,” says Damian Monticello, foodservice liaison for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, in Tallahassee. “Our customers don’t have a lot of time to eat. They are taking food back to their desks so they can continue working, and we try to accommodate them in any way we can.”

But portability is a major component in most segments of the industry, with the exception of long-term care. More than 90% of colleges, 81% of hospitals and 54% of schools offer take-away items, while only 22% of long-term care facilities do. It also accounts for roughly one-quarter of the revenue stream, with hospitals reporting 25%, colleges 24% and schools crediting 23% of their revenue from take-away.

Portable business is a relatively labor-efficient form of service, according to the survey, with respondents indicating that they dedicate about two workers on average to handle this aspect of their operations.

Space is a major driver of portability, operators say. Offering foods that are more easily carried allows operators to design smaller footprints and to install foodservice outlets in spaces not usually considered for retail service. At Gannon University, in Erie, Pa., Metz & Associates designed a space called InterMetzo in the Palumbo Academic Building that serves a variety of items from entrées and soups to sandwiches and salads.

General manager Pete Mannarelli says the space has absorbed some of the overflow from a nearby popular dining hall, and has been so successful that the design is being considered for use in other settings, such as hospitals or corporations.

Sometimes, portability can improve business in a facility. Such was the case at the University of Southern Mississippi, where a full-service restaurant called The Power House was converted to a fast-casual concept. With a menu that relies heavily on sandwiches, salads and soups, check averages are down by an average of $2, but customer counts are up by 15%, according to Pat Foley, executive director of dining services for Aramark at the 15,000-student university.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Italian food hall chain Eataly is making plans for a 2018 initial public offering in its home country, according to a report this week in Financial Times.

The company plans to list shares on the Italian stock exchange in Milan “as early as next year,” Eataly Executive Chairman Andrea Guerra told Financial Times .

Eataly is eager to expand the presence of its massive Italian food emporiums in the U.S., which have helped spur the growing food hall trend . The company has five locations here, with two in New York City and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Financial...

Industry News & Opinion

Students staffing the foodservice department at Rutgers University will soon get an hourly pay bump, as the New Brunswick, N.J., university is raising its wage for student workers to $11 an hour, philly.com reports.

The increase will go in effect Jan. 1 and will impact 13,000 students.

The fight to raise wages at the school was spearheaded by student group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which is continuing to push the university to increase student wages to $15.

The fight for a $15 wage for student workers has spread at schools throughout the country,...

Industry News & Opinion

After shutting down 265 schools due to ongoing wildfires, the Los Angeles Unified School District kept three schools open on Friday and Saturday to provide meals for students and their families, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At one of the schools, employees and volunteers handed out around 100 meals on Friday and 270 meals on Saturday. The meals included items such as dragonfruit punch, raisins, bananas, sunflower kernels, whole-grain cinnamon graham crackers, sunflower seed butter and fat-free chocolate milk.

Around 80% of students in the district come from low-income...

Sponsored Content
Breakfast chili

From Bush’s Best®.

While decadent plates of French toast and pancakes stacked high will always be breakfast favorites, it’s undeniable that savory breakfast items are on the rise in many foodservice operations. Menu items such as avocado toast and omelets aren’t new, of course, but consumers’ preferences for better-for-you food choices, along with their desire for global flavors, are driving this trend.

According to a recent Technomic Breakfast report, consumer demand for vegetarian ingredients has led to an increase of ingredients like soy, tofu, beans, lentils, seeds,...

FSD Resources