The Big Idea 2014: BYO burrito concept

jason-morse

Jason Morse
Executive Chef
Douglas County School District, Castle Rock, Colo.

Earlier this year we piloted a build-your-own-burrito concept called Chef Doug’s Burrito. Doug is for Douglas County. We launched it at Thunder Ridge High School and then moved it onto another school. I would say at each school we’re selling 110 a day, and that’s with a soft opening. We haven’t done a lot of marketing because we wanted to make sure the program was solid and everything operated well. We now have plans to roll it out in nine more sites.

It’s been great. The kids are enjoying it. We modified the high school lunch program a bit. They were on a block schedule and some schools opted out of that. That means for us, instead of potentially students having off period, lunch, off period, they are going to have less of that with only 30 minutes for lunch, so grab and go is going to become even more crucial for us.

It’s your typical built-to-order burrito concept. We have chicken, pork carnitas, turkey chipotle and then vegetarian (a bean mix), on a 12-inch flour tortilla with a brown rice that has a taco seasoning added to it. Then they have queso. The students go through the line and pick their meat and fillings and then can add tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, sour cream and guacamole for an upcharge.

Pricewise, we wanted to keep it cheaper than Chipotle, so we’ve been doing $5.50 for a meal, and that includes a beverage. We’ve done bowls and salads. We give them a lot of variety.

They can preorder, too. They can come down in the morning and fill out a form and drop it in the window. If lunch is at 11 a.m., we build them at 10:50 a.m. and wrap them and put them in a heated slide. The students skip the lines. We’re probably doing 20 to 30 prebuilds a day. We’re also starting our rewards program, a buy-five-get-one-free program.

Our free and reduced percentage is about 7%. We do this as an à la carte option. It meets all the competitive food regs. Our turkey, rice and pork are low sodium. The kids say this is so much better than school lunch, and I just stand there like, “This is exactly what we serve.” The only difference is they get to make it.

It’s nice to see the students accept it and then the parents go, “You opened a burrito restaurant?” It’s nice to get that support. We haven’t seen a decline in our other service areas. I think we’re seeing people who were walking out the door to the grocery store to grab something quick are going here.

We’ve got two ladies at Thunder Ridge who run the program. We call the head person, Linda, our burrito barista. All the other schools come to train with her. They work a week at Thunder Ridge with her and then they go back to their school and implement the program. We initially thought we would add three or four people. We added one and then we have our kitchen manager float when there’s need for another person to help.

We have a logo, too. We’re going to do more of these restaurant concepts and each will be branded with Chef Doug. We might do Doug’s Burger, Doug’s Pizzeria. Everybody was using paper bags and so we put the burrito in foil and put it in a brown paper bag. We’re looking into a rubber stamp so we can stamp the bags with our Chef Doug’s logo.

We have a really nice food cost out of the burrito concept; it’s about 33%.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
sam kass peter romeo

We’ve heard it time and again—millennials are extremely conscious about what they eat. They want to know what is in their food, where it is from, how it was made and more. And, as we’re learning, Gen Zers are even more aware and information-demanding about the food they eat than their older counterparts.

Hitting those higher-quality food standards is no easy feat. But it’s becoming a must, said chef Sam Kass—known for being the White House chef for the Obamas, a senior White House policy advisor on nutrition policy while he cooked, and currently the senior food analyst for NBC News...

Sponsored Content
chicken veggies recipes

From Tyson Food Service.

With operators becoming increasingly strapped for time and labor, it’s a strain to prepare every aspect of a menu item back-of-house or keep the menu populated with a variety of options. While it doesn’t mean they have to cut corners when developing new items, operators can use more versatile items that are simple enough to apply across the menu to save on labor and cost as well as be more efficient.

With versatile proteins, operators can increase menu opportunities without kitchen complexity, and drive new customer traffic or increase the number...

Industry News & Opinion

An audit into Kennesaw State University’s dining services revealed the university accrued roughly $2 million from off-campus students paying for meal plans as part of their semester fees, according to a report by Fox 5 Atlanta .

Meal plans at the Kennesaw, Ga., university are automatically assessed to students whether they live on campus or not. The university does not refund unused meals, draining the pockets of commuter students each semester.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we pay all this tuition and then we’re here paying another big fee,” commuter student Emmanuel...

Industry News & Opinion

As part of a 10-year contract to run Eastern Michigan University’s foodservice, Chartwells will invest $5 million in the Ypsilanti, Mich., university, as well as provide it with $18 million in capital improvements, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press .

The university’s board of regents approved the contract on Tuesday, citing the new revenue as an opportunity to expand and improve campus foodservice. EMU’s website indicates the partnership will allow for more student input as well as the introduction of food trucks and improved technology.

“The primary reason...

FSD Resources