20 Most Influential: Dayle Hayes, R.D., Nutrition for the Future

Hayes starting a Facebook page to show people that school lunch had changed.

Dayle Hayes, R.D.
President,
Nutrition for the Future,
Billings, Mont.

The saying “any press is good press” is not something Dayle Hayes buys into. After Mrs. Q’s Fed Up with School Lunch blog, a not-so-flattering firsthand account of a teacher eating school lunch in Chicago, Hayes decided to fight back. She did so by starting a Facebook page, School Meals That Rock, to show people that school lunch shouldn’t be a punch line anymore.

“I’ve been working in the industry for a long time and I feel that school nutrition directors are often the most vilified and least recognized of foodservice professionals,” Hayes told FSD. “If people aren’t recognizing what you’re doing, you only have yourself to blame.”

The beauty of Facebook is it’s relatively easy to self promote. You snap a few photos and post a few thoughts on your wall, and it’s automatically broadcast to millions of people. By creating this online hub for sharing success stories, Hayes has made it painless for child nutrition directors across the country to show off what’s going on in their cafeterias. The positive message isn’t just shared among others in the industry. It’s reaching the students and families. What a great way for Friends to Share their Likes. 


Foodservice Director has undertaken a bold initiative by identifying people who we believe are having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice. Our list may surprise you and should certainly intrigue you. Our honorees have backgrounds as varied as their personalities. They range from the father of the modern-day food truck to the wife of a sitting president. They include operators and suppliers, chefs and consultants, CEOs and civil servants. There are traditionalists and there are mavericks. Well-known names share space with hot newcomers. In all, 17 people, two groups of individuals and one institution compose the list. It’s time to meet FSD’s 20 Most Influential.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

Ideas and Innovation
packaged meals

While the multiple-choice questions on FoodService Director’s annual census surveys are a great way of gathering data on trends, I’ve always been rather partial to the open-ended queries. We can’t possibly think up every answer operators might have to a particular question, and it gives respondents a chance to show some personality as well. (A special nod to one cheeky operator’s not-quite-safe-for-work response to how they’re tackling shortened lunch periods—you made my day.)

So this year, for the first time since I’ve been at FoodService Director, I chose to include a very open-...

Menu Development
ramen bowl spoon chopsticks

Asian noodle soups are a popular lunch option at YouTube’s San Bruno, Calif., campus, says Trent Page, the GM at Bon Appetit Management who runs the company’s three corporate dining venues. But Page noticed an increasing preference for customizable dishes and vegan preparations among the 1,000 customers he feeds daily. Inspired by a recent visit to Japan, he introduced tsukemen to the menu—a dish that features most of the traditional ramen ingredients (noodles, eggs and vegetable garnishes) served separately so diners can mix and match. “Separating the components makes it more customizable...

FSD Resources