A movable feast of ideas

By 
Dana Moran, Managing Editor

idea bulb innovation concept

There’s no feeling quite like the “spark of inspiration” that Dawn Aubrey, associate director of housing for dining services at the University of Illinois, cites in this month’s Steal This Idea-themed cover story. That rush of blood and endorphins to the brain when everything comes together is like nothing else, and often finds me falling over furniture because I’m so excited to start putting plans into action. Unfortunately, I also bruise easily.

Throughout this issue, we’ve highlighted stealable ideas in all realms of noncommercial foodservice, from protein-focused sides to legalized marijuana. While many tips come from interviews, one of my favorite ways to find out how operators’ wheels are turning—and what topics are top of mind—is through FoodService Director’s Steal This Idea Live sessions. It’s a model we’ve used in small groups to great success, and we’ll be expanding it to larger arenas this year.

So while I’m totally guilty of pilfering the seeds of stories from these sessions (Hey, “steal” is right there in the name), here are a few more of my favorite sources of ideas right now.

Other magazines. Publications like Esquire, 5280, New York, Bon Appetit and more are a gold mine of valuable infographics, alternative story formats and beautiful photography. Consumer magazines were the main reason I added a Venn diagram to Recipe Revamp (see Page 23) when FoodService Director redesigned in 2015. The philosophy: Catch a reader’s eye with a graphic, and they’ll stay to read the words, a strategy plenty of FSDs have applied to their own marketing.

My own kitchen. At my house, 2016 was The Year of Curry; I experimented with everything from meatballs to lentils, and developed a lovely turmeric patina on my food processor for my troubles. The result was not only delicious meals, but an increased desire to learn how FSDs were incorporating curry into their own operations. What’s the flavor of 2017? Time will tell.

Ernest Hemingway. This comes as I’m in the middle of reading “A Moveable Feast,” which sounds like it should be applicable to FSDs but really is just a reference to Paris in the 1920s. Hemingway, who’s known for his direct yet descriptive prose, also uses the memoir as an opportunity to throw a lot of eloquent shade at his acquaintances. It’s a reminder to make every word count in FSD—and also that my own eloquent shade is being preserved for history in real time via social media.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources