Employee Tasting

Food fair raises money for heart disease at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center.

FoodService Director, Lincoln Health Center, tasting fairMATTOON, Ill.—Last month for Heart Month at 200-bed Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, the food and nutrition department hosted a tasting fair, during which employees tested 27 items provided by eight vendors. According to Cathy Babbs, director of food and nutrition services, the goals for the fair were to add new food options to the Basement Bistro, the hospital’s café, and to raise money for the American Heart Association.

For the tasting fair, employees were invited to visit the hospital’s education center where they could sample the different food items. For a suggested donation of $4, the staff could sample the items and fill out a ballot. The event raised $750 for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. Babbs and her staff will then take the results and add the most popular items to the Basement Bistro. More than 190 ballots were returned and the favorite items included cheesecake, teriyaki chicken and a corn muffin. In all, 18 of the 27 items will be added to the café’s menu in the following months.

This isn’t the first time the department has done a tasting fair. In 2002 for the hospital’s 25th anniversary, they held a Quarter Century Celebration. The employees, once again, tasted items supplied by vendors. Instead of asking for a suggested donation, employees gave a quarter for each sample they took. The event raised $1,000.

Babbs said after doing the Quarter Century Celebration, employees began asking the department to host a similar event. “We kept hearing on our surveys that this was something they really liked and wanted to do again,” she said.

FoodService Director, Lincoln Health Center, tasting fair“We are always looking for ways to add variety in our café and the tasting fair is a good way to do that,” Babbs said. She added that the event is also a good way to judge how well employees will accept healthier food items.
For the past three years, the department has pushed healthier items through its Fresh Start program. All items sold in the café have nutritional information posted and those items that meet the department’s healthy criteria are marked with an apple logo. Those items that are classified as Fresh Start have a built-in 25% discount. For example, skim milk is 40 cents while 2% milk is 60 cents.

“The administration actually funds this discount, so I get credit for the things that I am selling,” Babbs said. “The administration wants to support healthy eating in the bistro. We have seen an increase in the Fresh Start items, especially in the little things. People will get baked chips rather than the regular chips or the skim milk instead of the 2%.”
 

More From FoodService Director

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...

Managing Your Business
overtime payroll timesheet

Just eight days before Dec. 1, when operators would have to comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules, a federal judge in Texas slapped an injunction on the regulation. The move indefinitely halted the rules that would have doubled the overtime threshold to $47,476, affecting nearly 4.2 million workers, according to the DOL. For some operators, the move was too little, too late. Now, they have to answer to employees who had been briefed on promised wage increases.

Kansas Memorial Union at the University of Kansas in Lawrence made changes ahead of the deadline...

Ideas and Innovation
ucmc model

With a budget and timeline in place, and the support of the university behind them, the foodservice team at the University of Chicago Medical Center was ready to get rolling with the renovation of one of its patient services kitchens. The facility, which services the hospital’s Center for Care and Discovery and Comer Children’s Hospital, was tripling in size to serve two additional patient floors, to the tune of $9 million. But that didn’t mean immediately jumping in with steel and screws.

“First, we cut out scaled pieces of paper and moved things around,” says Elizabeth Lockwood,...

Ideas and Innovation
granola bars

Where possible, we make grab-and-go items reimbursable. For example, if we’re serving a fruit and milk smoothie, we let students take a granola bar or other grain component to make it count as a meal.

FSD Resources