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

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...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources