Ranking food

Do lists of the best food matter?

Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

A list claiming to celebrate the best in college foodservice, compiled by food website "The Daily Meal," was released last week. The list included the usual suspects at the top—Virginia Tech, Bowdoin and Washington University in St. Louis were the top three—but the list got me thinking about why media outlets are obsessed with lists like this and what it takes to create one.

We at FoodService Director are no stranger to lists (see our 20 Most Influential) though we are hesitant to rank our lists like "The Daily Meal." Who are we to say whom on our list is more influential than someone else on the list? And does the ranking part really even matter? I suppose to the people on the list the ranking might be something to boast about, especially in college foodservice since rivalries are a healthy part of college life. But what is really interesting about "The Daily Meal’s" list is how it did the rankings. Here is what it looked for, according to its website:

“To rank the schools that did make the cut, we graded them on a variety of criteria. Each could earn up to five points in each of the categories below.

  • Healthy Food: Meals that are fresh, made from scratch and cooked in small batches
  • Events: Themed dinners, picnics, cooking classes—anything to engage undergrads
  • Local: Programs that support the community with local purchases
  • Sustainable: Incorporating eco-friendly practices into the dining program
  • Accessibility and Service: How easy it is for students to connect with dining services and how well they are taken care of
  • The X Factor: Something that made our jaws drop”

Now the 51 colleges and universities that made "The Daily Meal’s" list all met this criteria. So how did they decide No. 52 (Dartmouth) from No. 51 (the University of New Hampshire). It seems to me that the ROI of the process of ranking these great programs just isn’t there. But perhaps I’m wrong. I’ll turn it over to you.

What do you think the value of these types of lists is? And where do you stand on just presenting a list of the best versus actually going through the trouble to rank them? Let us know in the comments or send an email to lramsey@cspnet.com.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association has made public the 2018 recipients of its annual Silver Plate awards.

The nine winners—each of whom was given the top prize in their respective foodservice segment—include four well-known names in noncommercial:

Healthcare: Jim McGrody , director of culinary and nutrition services at UNC Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C. C&U: Dennis Pierce , executive director of dining services at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. B&I: Michiel Bakker , director of global food services for Google K-12: Ken Yant,...
Industry News & Opinion

Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary in Brunswick, Maine, is hosting a mentorship program that brings in local community members to have lunch with second-graders twice a week, The Forecaster reports.

The program is aimed to foster conversation between the students and area adults, and staff say they are happy to have the extra adult supervision during lunch and recess.

Officials would like to find more volunteers to expand the program to the third, fourth and fifth grades in the future.

Read the full story via theforecaster.net .

Ideas and Innovation
buying small

Here’s a stunner for noncommercial operators who work with one big supplier: Smith College buys food from more than 50 different suppliers. And only three of those suppliers sell Smith more than 3% of its food. “We know boutique,” says Andy Cox, director of Dining Services at the Northampton, Mass., school. “There are ways to make it work.”

Adding to Smith’s challenges: Dining Services has 12 kitchens and no central receiving, and works to ensure that 20% of its food is fair, local, humane and/or ecologically sound.

Teamwork between a food buyer and financial systems...

Industry News & Opinion

Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., is celebrating National Nutrition Month by offering free weekly samples of plant-based items , as well as hosting produce-centric events around campus, the Indiana Daily Student reports.

Every Wednesday this month, students will be able to sample such dishes as vegetable vindaloo, lemon-herb quinoa salad, and pistachio and apricot couscous. Some of the items featured have been offered previously on campus, while others are new recipes.

The university has also partnered with a culinary training organization to launch two plant-based...

FSD Resources