2008 Portability Study: Portability rules

Seventy-five percent of operators are looking to grow their grab-and-go business.

Portability, or grab and go, is on the rise, with many customers choosing to take away nontraditional to-go items, like made-to-order dishes, according to FoodService Director's 2008 Portability Study. The study shows that almost nothing is off-limits these days when it comes to grab and go, but operators are still struggling with packaging issues.

At the University of Missouri in Columbia, Campus Dining offers take-out locations in six residential units, including a new facility called Baja Grill. Julaine Kiehn, director of Campus Dining at the 30,000-student university, says demand for takeout has been increasing steadily during the past seven or eight years, and the department has responded.

“There are seats for students to eat at the location, but everything is wrapped for takeout,” explains Kiehn. Operators like Kiehn, answering customer demand, pushed up the numbers in FSD’s 2008 Portability Study. Of the operators surveyed this year, 75% said they offer portable menu items, up markedly from 62% last year. B&I operators led the way again, with every operator polled saying portable foods were offered in their locations. Ninety-one percent of hospitals offer portable foods, as do 87% of colleges and universities and 66% of schools.

The numbers aren’t surprising in today’s fast-paced world, but they are paradoxical. Even though more customers than ever are looking for foods made-to-order, a significant number of them also want to be able to carry those foods away from the cafeteria. Kiehn, for example, notes that in addition to the dedicated takeout locations on campus, there is a portable component to each of the university’s all-you-care-to-eat dining halls.

Catherine Boucher, manager of food and nutrition services at Martha Jefferson Hospital, a 176-bed hospital in Charlottesville, Va., also notes the link between made-to-order and portability. At present, 20% to 25% of the hospital’s staff take food away from the cafeteria. Boucher says she expects that percentage to increase once a new hospital is completed in 2011, precisely because made-to-order will be a primary component of the new cafeteria.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
vegetables with dip foodservice healthy menu

From Mrs. Dash Foodservice.

There was a time when healthy food meant counting calories, omitting carbs, giving up sugar and going fat-free—in other words, it was all about deprivation.

But not anymore. Today’s definition of healthy means an overall focus on nutrition and wellness that doesn’t mean giving up enjoyment. It’s all about balance: good fats, healthy carbs, better sweeteners, wholesome ingredients and satisfying flavor enhancements. It means food that customers can feel good about, at the same time that they’re enjoying the dining experience.

According to...

Industry News & Opinion

Aramark today announced a partnership with celebrity chef and TV personality Cat Cora that will put a new concept from the Top Chef star in Aramark’s North American business-and-industry accounts.

The new fast-casual concept, called Olilo by Cat Cora, promises a healthy, made-your-way menu, according to the global foodservice provider.

“By bringing together Chef Cora's award-winning brand and healthy cooking advocacy and Aramark's commitment to enriching and nourishing the lives of the thousands of consumers we serve every day, we have an opportunity to elevate the on-site...

Industry News & Opinion

Members of Congress and several advocacy groups gathered on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to highlight the potential loss of millions in state funding because of a Child Nutrition Reauthorization block grant introduced last month, and to call upon legislators to squash the bill.

The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 houses a statute that would provide three unannounced pilot states with block grant funding. Participating states would be exempt from federal nutrition regulations and would no longer qualify for the 6-cent reimbursement per lunch garnered by certified...

Managing Your Business
workers beam smartphones

Jed Greeke has a straightforward policy for smartphone use among the 45 employees he supervises at the University of New Hampshire: If a verbal warning doesn’t work, their phone is taken and held until the end of the shift.

“We have a lot of student workers, and our policy pretty much says that anything that can go ‘beep’ has to be kept in your locker or not brought to work,” says the assistant manager of catering and conferences at the Durham, N.H., university.

Regulating employees’ smartphone use might make operators feel like an overbearing parent, but it’s becoming a...

FSD Resources