SAS Institute Silver Plate

SAS Institute, reportedly one of the best companies to work for in the country, is a leading software provider. So it's no surprise that the operating systems in the food and nutrition services department are cutting edge—albeit the serving line in the 15-year-old main cafe is straight-line rather than the more up-to-date scatter system. All information, including procedures, menus, nutrition breakouts and catering request forms, are on the department's Web page—and the f/s Web site is the most visited internal site on the company's intranet.

But providing the touch-feely, "old-fashioned" aspects of running an operation serving more than 2,200 daily lunchtime customers in five cafes is f/s manager Julienne (Julie) Stewart, RD, and her staff of 80 (i.e., approx. 60 FTEs and 20 PTEs). Implementing the company philosophy for employees to be comfortable and productive at work, especially since so many work long hours, Stewart aims to provide good food at a good price at numerous venues.

Her department also:

• Runs a successful home-meal replacement program, generating $22,000 annually.

• Provides meals for the 225 children enrolled in the on-site day care center and snacks for the 65 break rooms across campus;

• Catering for a growing number of functions.

• Provides a pianist who does food prep in the morning and plays a variety of soothing music at lunchtime.

'Leftover Sale': "Home-meal replacement, or Food To Go, is something we've been doing before it was the 'in' thing to do. For the past 15 years we've called it 'Leftover Sale' and the name lingers on. Now people sign up on the Web instead of a sign-up sheet at the register on Monday mornings. We plan on it for certain items such as meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli. It accounts for 5% of sales," Stewart notes.

The day care center receives meals prepared in the catering kitchen (located in the largest cafeteria), a five-minute drive away. Menus are planned with input from the teachers who serve the kids family-style.

"For the 65 full-service break rooms on campus—located on every floor in every building—we provide treats free-of-charge three times a week: fresh fruit on Mondays, M&Ms on Wednesdays and doughnuts or bagels for Fridays. It comes out of our budget so we do try to control the expense through our selections."

For Stewart, on the job at SAS for the past 14 years, providing training as well as employing autistic adults in the dish rooms are prime areas of personal satisfaction.

Monthly training is provided for all f/s employees, with ServSafe certification offered to supervisors and group leaders. Currently, 32 employees are certified. The department serves as a preceptor site for dietetic interns—usually five each year—from Meredith College and North Carolinas Central Univ.

"Working with Division TEACCH, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, two of our dish rooms are staffed with autistic adults. They're very dedicated and love what they're doing. They are SAS employees, plus there's a job coach in each dish room from TEACCH to keep them on track. We've learned a lot since we've had them," Stewart notes.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA analyzed the efficacy of using Medicaid data to certify students for free or reduced-price lunch, a provision included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Participating states and districts reported conflicting data on changes in the percentage of students certified, number of meals served, federal reimbursements and certification costs.

The method is used as an alternative to household applications and data matching with other public benefit programs to streamline the certification of more low-income students. The program was first piloted statewide in Kentucky...

Ideas and Innovation
kids students cafeteria line

While summer feeding programs are commonplace in school districts across the country, foodservice operators still struggle to get the word out and kids in.

Many districts are scaling back or discontinuing their summer feeding programs due to low participation, citing staffing costs and other issues that make it difficult to break even and provide a profitable program.

“We need to find a way to encourage that participation,” Tom Freitas—foodservice director for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Mich.—told Record Eagle News . “We are open to ideas as long as...

Industry News & Opinion

Students and union representatives are petitioning Eastern Michigan University’s plan to outsource its foodservice operations, calling for the school to delay such a move to allow for further discussion with stakeholders, MLive reports .

EMU last week announced a tentative agreement to hand over its residential, catering and retail foodservices to Chartwells, a deal the university’s interim president avered would enable the school to expand and upgrade its eateries while maintaining high food quality, MLive says.

Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about what they...

Sponsored Content
whole grain pasta foodservice menu

From Barilla.

With younger consumers eager to explore new flavors and better-for-you options, whole-grain pasta is winning greater acceptance in American diets.

As more and more college and university students seek out whole grains in their meals, dishes featuring whole grains are on-deck to become menu mainstays.

At the University of Iowa, whole-grain foods have won general acceptance, says Barry Greenberg, executive chef for university dining. Two marketplace dining facilities on campus offer whole-grain pasta as a regular option and incorporate it into baked...

FSD Resources