2008 Menu Development Survey: The state of the plate 2008

Ethnic menu items continue to gain popularity among noncommercial foodservice operators.

Among the other areas that can impact menu development:

Staffing and training
Nearly 40% of all operators employ an executive chef, with B&I (82%) and universities (67%) most likely to have an executive chef on staff, and long-term care (15%) and schools (4%) least likely. Overall, 22% of operators have sous chefs, 11% have a culinary director, and 6% have a chef de cuisine and/or pastry chef.

When it comes to training, 80% of operators send staff to conferences and trade shows. Other training methods include in-house seminars and workshops (66%), off-site training at schools or institutes (31%), bringing culinary professionals to the institution or company (25%) and on-line training (25%).

Cooking methods
Overall, 92% of operators surveyed use scratch cooking, with virtually all college operators employing scratch preparation. School districts are least likely to use scratch cooking, with only 81% saying they cook from scratch. Almost 65% of operators use some prepared ingredients or meal components, and 60% use prepared entrées. Slightly more than 31% of all operators use cook-chill preparation for some items.

Display cooking is growing in popularity, with 48% of operators using display cooking in their facilities. The use of exhibition or demo cooking has grown in the last year by double digits in every market segment. For example, 76% of B&I operators do display cooking, compared with 63% last year. The other markets include universities at 95% (65% last year), hospitals at 39% (21% last year), nursing homes at 27% (9%) and schools at 12% (4%). Of those operators who offer display cooking, 51% do it daily, while one quarter of operators offer it once a week. And 49% of operators say they expect the frequency of exhibition cooking to increase in the year to come, because it’s good business: 75% of operators say customer counts increase whenever they offer display cooking.

The take-away factor
There is an increased demand from customers for take-away foods. On average, 20% of food purchased in noncommercial cafeterias and retail operations is consumed away from the point of purchase, versus 15% last year. By market sector, portable foods account for 30% of hospital business, 29% of B&I business, 17% of college business, 12% of long-term care business and 10% of school business. And 25% of operators believe take-out will increase in the coming year; the expectations are highest in universities (41%) and hospitals (39%).

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

Managing Your Business
Starbucks teen

In the bid for teens’ dining dollars, Chick-fil-A may be a noncommercial operator’s biggest offsite threat. The quick-service chicken concept has nudged Starbucks out of the top slot in an updated ranking of restaurant chains by their followings among affluent teenagers.

The semiannual report from Piper Jaffray shows Starbucks maintaining its long reign as the hearththrob of teens from average-income households, a streak that began in 2011 when the coffee king pushed McDonald’s out of first place.

The study, “Taking Stock With Teens,” which Piper Jaffray updates twice a...

Industry News & Opinion

Two schools in the North Monterey County Unified School District will begin testing supper at school , reports Monterey County Weekly .

The school board unanimously approved the California district’s pilot, which is set to start this fall.

“It wasn’t really a question of what we should do,” Sarah Doherty, director of child nutrition services for the district, told Monterey County Weekly. “We knew we had to feed these kids.”

Many of NMCUSD’s students spend close to 12 hours a day at school, Doherty says, and 83% qualify for state assistance.

The pilot will be...

FSD Resources