Fostering a fresh community at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Stand alone concepts feature different flavors in this new dining hall.

The university’s new dining hall features a variety of food stations, small plates and sustainable initiatives. 

In the fall of 2013, students at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota were getting acclimated to more than just new class schedules. With nearly 300 double-occupancy rooms, three community lounges, multiple study and music rooms as well as a community student kitchen, the new 17th Avenue Residence Hall was designed to foster a community environment for the growing university population. A central focus for the new building is its dining facility, Fresh Food Company, managed by Aramark Higher Education. “From a dining perspective, we felt it was a really good idea to bring the most current framework of services forward for our residential students and the University of Minnesota,” explains Karen DeVet, senior resident district manager for Aramark at the university. “We don’t have any other facility on campus that’s like this Fresh Food Company, so we’re really excited about being able to show this particular brand to our residential students.” 


More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
bus advertising jagermeister

Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

Managing Your Business
line kings girl goat open kitchen

Open kitchen concepts satisfy guests’ curiosity and desire for transparency. But there are some caveats. Here’s how to create a positive experience for both staff and customers when the walls are down.

Train to serve

With the back-of-house up front, everybody gets hospitality training. “Our cooks understand the food and what they’re doing incredibly, but translating that to guests requires [soft] skills that need to be honed,” says Marie Petulla, co-owner of two restaurants in Southern California.

Dress for a mess

At Girl & The Goat in Chicago, chef-owner Stephanie...

FSD Resources