Minimum wage again top priority

Congressional supporters of legislation to raise the national minimum wage rate wasted no time at the turn of the new year introducing a new plan that is certain to draw opposition from foodservice industry leaders.

The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), would add another $1.50 to the cost of hiring many new workers—enough to dampen employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of inexperienced or unskilled job applicants across the country, critics contend.

Daschle, however, calls the proposed increase a move to "ensure greater dignity for our minimum wage workers" who cannot support a family above the poverty line.

"The purchasing power of the minimum wage is now the lowest it has been in more than 30 years," he says. "If we can afford over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for those at the top of the income scale, we can afford a dollar-fifty more an hour for those at the bottom."

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Ideas and Innovation
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We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
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Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
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We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
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We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

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