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.

“The menu is still upscale, but the items are things that can be prepared quickly,” says Foley.

Enhancing portability was on the minds of executives of Eurest Dining Services, a division of Compass Group, when they took a coffee bar and converted it to a full-fledged cafeteria. Caffe Ritazza debuted last year on the ground floor of the SunTrust bank in Orlando, Fla., and features entrées, specialty sandwiches and salads, soups and desserts. Dan Cramer, first vice president and corporate dining manager for SunTrust, called the conversion “the best utilization of space,” and a way to provide customers with a wide variety of items that can be picked up quickly and eaten in or taken away.

Operators say that when it comes to take-out foods, just about anything that can be put in a container can, and is, taken away from the cafeteria. Fresh-made tends to be more popular than pre-packaged, according to the survey, with entrees off the serving line accounting for 21% of the total take-out business, on average, and deli sandwiches making up another 15%. Pre-wrapped sandwiches represent another 15%, while ready-to-go entrees in refrigerated cases are less than 5% of the total.

Lunch foods tend to make up a bigger part of the take-away business than breakfast foods, as only 11% of portable business is in either breakfast to order or pre-packaged breakfast foods. Interestingly, although long-term care facilities do not do much grab-and-go business, those that do see 44% of their business from fresh-made entrees (31%) and sandwiches (13%).

The desire for portability causes operators to consider making popular foods more portable. One example is Aramark’s Corporate Services group, which has created an interesting twist on the panini. According to Scott Keats, director of culinary development for the division, the company simply took panini ingredients and placed them on a smaller ciabatta roll and is marketing it as a “minini.”

Promoting portability plays a relatively minor role in the take-away equation, with fewer than 19% saying they are looking at such ideas as couponing, discounting or e-mail promotions as business builders. College operators are most likely to use promotional gimmicks (30%) and elementary and secondary schools least likely (8%).

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food symbols allergens

To make safe food as accessible as possible for our guests with allergies, we are creating an allergen-friendly kitchen this summer. Students and community members will be able to use our mobile app to place orders for allergen-friendly food and pick them up at the central kitchen. The kitchen will also produce grab-and-go options that will be distributed across campus.

Ideas and Innovation
construction plans drawing tools calculator

When revamping an old cafeteria or building a new retail spot, the design process can feel like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle: What needs to fit in the space, and what’s the most efficient flow for staffers, cooks, diners and more?

Cathy Estes, administrative director of nutrition services at four northern Indiana hospitals that are part of the Franciscan Health network, faced the creation of a new in-house dining program at Franciscan’s Munster hospital. Amid all the big plans, design was one of the largest undertakings.

“I was looking at 5,000 square feet on a...

Ideas and Innovation
amazon prime delivery

About 90% of our students receive financial assistance and participate in our free and reduced-price meal program. But a number of students in our district study remotely due to circumstances such as chronic illness. In January, we hired a driver to deliver meals to students who aren’t able to step into our cafeteria each day.

Ideas and Innovation
wheaton emerson int salad bar

Restaurant design is all about catching a customer’s eye —and it’s sometimes particularly beneficial to be far-sighted. As Airbnb has proven with its San Francisco headquarters, where cafe spaces are inspired by cities like Cairo and Mumbai, elaborate design schemes that evoke far-flung geographic regions can be done to great effect. But operators are finding simpler ways to achieve that feel.

That’s been the experience of Kutztown University Dining Services in Pennsylvania. Kent Dahlquist, director of housing and dining services, says that when the university decided several years...

FSD Resources