The Big Idea 2014: Creating a community destination

alan-marcum

Alan Marcum
Executive Vice President, Administration
Devon Energy, Oklahoma City

We moved into a new 50-floor building in 2012. Devon wanted to be more than just a company located downtown; we wanted to be a community member, and this new building helped us accomplish that.

Foodservice became integral to this goal. We wanted the city to have something they had never seen before and to be a destination. That’s why our foodservice program has taken such a main stage in the new building. We built this new beautifully designed building and we wanted to have an awesome foodservice program to complement that.

Nebu, our restaurant, is in a prime location on the first floor. The dining space is right out front, making it a gathering place for employees and community members.

Nebu is open to the community; we didn’t want to suck the life out of downtown but invite people in. About 35% of our customers are non-Devon employees. All great cities have a great public space downtown, but Oklahoma City didn’t have that before we opened Nebu.

Nebu has seven stations: Deli (paninis, wraps and subs); Broiler and Bistro (burgers and casseroles to hand-carved meats); Salad Bar; Sushi; Exhibition (Asian made-to-order dishes); Taqueria (Latin American favorites); and Pizza and Pasta.

We also wanted to create more of a sense of community with our Devon employees. Before the new building, employees were spread out over five buildings downtown. We wanted a foodservice program that would attract the best employees and would be an on-site amenity that would help improve productivity.

Oklahoma is 48th for the amount of people who are obese or overweight. Devon wanted to create a holistic atmosphere that would help employees be more healthful. That’s one of the main reasons we partnered with Guckenheimer to manage the program. They provided a comprehensive wellness program. While we offer customers choice, we make it easy to pick better-for-you options.

The oil and energy industry is booming and there aren’t as many qualified job candidates coming out of college right now. We wanted to create an advantage over our competitors with this building, and foodservice was designed to be a huge component of that.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

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...

FSD Resources