2010 Menu Development survey: In menus, diversity rules

Chefs and operators are becoming more adventurous with their menus but there are still limits to what they can achieve.

Diversity
Hospitals, many of which have a wide variety of ethnicities represented among their staffs, see similar variety in their menu diversity.

“We have two favorites, Mexican and Thai,” says Patti Oliver, food and nutrition services director at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. So, she adds, she alternates menu items to keep both camps happy.

“We have an International Corner in the dining commons, which features different ethnic entrées each day,” she explains. “Mondays are tostadas and Thursdays rotate between burritos, flautas and sopas. All are huge sellers. On Tuesdays we have a curry bar, with a choice of salmon, chicken, beef or lamb, and the house is always packed on that day. The curry is pretty spicy, and our clientele seem to like that. Our cooks make a housemade salsa to go with the Mexican entrées that is very spicy as well.”

At Intermountain Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Foodservice Director Laura Watson says she doesn’t have any strong ethnic preferences among her hospital’s customers. So, she uses the cafeteria for a monthly geography lesson, featuring different types of cuisine each month.

2010 Menu Development Survey chart trans fats“The total menu will feature entrées, sides, salads, sandwiches and desserts from that region,” she explains. “The most popular have been Central and South America, Polynesian and Italian.”

Large urban areas, particularly in the Northeast, attract a wide variety of ethnicities, which often means operators must offer menus with many influences. For example, Beth Yesford, foodservice director for Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., says her menus offer “Spanish, Caribbean, Jamaican, Chinese and Indian—in line with the many different cultures represented in our hospital.” At Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Foodservice Director Tom Cooley notes that Caribbean cuisine offers him flexibility in several ways to satisfy his hospital’s diverse employee base.

“We have an inner-city hospital mix of white, black and Hispanic working here,” Cooley says. “Caribbean lets us mix soul, seafood and Spanish influences, which seems to work for a lot of our customers. It also works for pork, which usually does not go over well with blacks and Muslims. But jerk and curry-style pork sells well, as do our Cuban sandwiches.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In a bid to beef up its presence in sports arenas and a variety of other large venues, Sodexo will acquire foodservice vendor Centerplate for $675 million.

Sodexo says the deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, will more than double its global footprint.

Centerplate, which serves as the foodservice operator for a number for stadiums, convention halls and other event spaces, brought in revenues of $998 million for the year ending June 2017, according to Sodexo. Centerplate was purchased five years ago by Olympus Partners, a private-equity company...

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

FSD Resources