Getting it to go: 2010 Portability Study

Six operators share how they are seeing growth in their take-away business.

Growth Spurt

The growth of grab and go on the campus of Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, is being caused by an irresistible force meeting an immovable object, according to Kirk Rodriguez, associate director for retail sales in the Hospitality Services department of the 20,000-student campus.

“On our campus the enrollment numbers continue to increase, but we’re limited on space for our food outlets,” says Rodriguez. As a result, Hospitality Services has grab-and-go options in 15 locations across campus—“just about everywhere we can, retail-wise,” he notes. The only place grab and go is not available is in the residence halls where traditional meal plans are honored.

“Our grab-and-go business used to be less than 10% of our revenue,” says Rodriguez. “Now, it’s about 25%. Students are telling us with their feet and their concept choices what they’re looking for from our department.”

One example of Texas Tech’s expansion of its grab-and-go program can be found in Sam’s Express, which are located in the five Sam’s Mini-Markets across campus. Rodriguez describes the markets as a cross between a food outlet and a convenience store. Other grab-and-go options can be found at sites like a Quizno’s on campus and a Boar’s Head deli outlet.

“We have a production area where we make up a wide range of menu options,” Rodriguez says. “We’ve altered some traditional items to make them more portable. For example, our club sandwich has become a club wrap for grab and go. We also offer premade ‘value packs’—a sandwich, chips and drink, for a set price.”

Rodriguez explains that cold items such as sandwiches and salads have been the best sellers. “We didn’t do well with hot items like pasta dishes and lasagnas. There were concerns about reheating these items and food safety.”

Grab-and-go options are advertised in Texas Tech’s dining brochure as well as other printed materials, but Rodriguez says Facebook and Twitter have been very popular marketing tools as well. “It’s instant advertising,” he notes. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources