AVI and Bob Evans partner for non-commercial concept

Published in FSD Update

An artist’s rendering of a Bob Evans Express.

AVI Foodsystems and Bob Evans have teamed up to create Bob Evans Express, a concept designed for non-commercial locations. Kathleen North, senior vice president of operational excellence for Bob Evans, says there is currently one Bob Evans Express concept at a BMW plant in South Carolina, where AVI manages the foodservice. A second location is part of Bob Evans’ new corporate headquarters, which opened in mid-October.

“The partnership came about because we were looking for a vendor for our cafeteria in our new headquarters,” North says. “We really liked what AVI had to offer. Once our partnership on that account started growing, AVI came to us because they thought we might be interested in implementing a concept at their account for BMW. We saw that they were very good at formulating small spaces with the right equipment. Initially it was going to be more their project, then as those things go, we realized we needed to work together more closely, so I was brought in as the Bob Evans contact on the concept.”

Nuts and bolts: The location of Bob Evans Express at BMW serves a limited menu out of just 500 square feet. The menu includes Bob Evans’ No. 1 selling breakfast, the Rise and Shine, which features scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage or bacon and a biscuit. Other breakfast items include breakfast pot pie, biscuit sandwiches and French toast.

For lunch, the concept offers a signature Bob Evans entrée such as turkey and dressing, roast beef or a chicken pot pie, which rotates daily. Other lunch menu items include burgers, paninis, barbecue sandwiches, grab-and-go salads and a soup. North says most of the food is prepared in the larger AVI kitchen and then transported to the line and served in hot wells. However, the small space does have the capability to make biscuits and eggs. North says the concept has been doing between 250 to 350 transactions per day, and her team is very pleased with its success. 

Challenges: To ensure quality, North says Bob Evans sent its executive chef to work with AVI’s executive chef to provide training. “AVI also sent the person who is in charge of all their training to come to Bob Evans and complete our culture and leadership course,” North adds.

As far as challenges go, North says the biggest hurdle was getting all parties involved to align on the goals of the project. “There are so many different stakeholders to please,” North says. “But AVI have been great partners and we look forward to expanding the concept to other locations with them in the future.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

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.

FSD Resources