2013 Goldies: Lanier Village Estates, Gainesville, Ga.

Melted bottles engage residents and make food presentation more fun.

Residents enjoying appetizers on slumped bottles.

Dave McTigue, culinary and nutrition director for Lanier Village Estates, is always looking for ways to enhance the image and quality of the dining program at this ACTS Retirement Community—particularly as it pertains to formal dining. (Lanier has a formal dining room, a casual restaurant and a small coffee shop.) His quest often takes him to a variety of culinary events such as wine tastings, and it was at one such tasting that he found the inspiration for the community’s Slumped Bottles program.

“They had a vendor there who had these melted bottles that he had drilled holes into and had hung like wind chimes,” McTigue recalls. “Even though they were hanging, as soon as I saw them I thought, ‘those would make a beautiful wine and cheese type of plate or a salad plate.’

“One of the resident activities at Lanier Village is a glass shop, where people can make items such as stained glass windows to sell,” he adds. “One of our residents—Esther Safford—was working there melting small bottles to make things like spoon holders. I thought that if I got the bottles she could melt them down for me.”

The idea grew into a resident-driven project. McTigue began to collect liquor and wine bottles from residents, and the Slumped Bottles program took shape.

“We’ve experimented with practically every type of bottle you can imagine,” McTigue says. “I particularly like the wine bottles. The 1.5-liter bottles are probably the best size, but the 750s work as well. You have all different colors—green, clear, blue—and you have different shapes. We’ve found that the clear bottles are the least attractive. When [the plates] have a color to them it provides a much better background and makes the items on the glass show up a bit better.”

But wine bottles aren’t the only things McTigue has found useful. “We’ve taken the larger Jack Daniel’s bottles, the ones that have a little hook on the handle, and that gives us a different look. Those Grey Goose bottles, they’ve got some etched glass on the back of the bottle—usually a mountain range or a bird that the artist puts on them. When you melt them down it gives kind of a 3-D effect.”

Lanier Village executives estimate that the Slumped Bottles program saves about 330 pounds of glass from the landfill per year, which isn’t bad considering that it wasn’t the original intent of the concept.

“We didn’t start out saying we’re going to save or help the environment,” says McTigue. “We were really focused on the culinary side, wanting to know what we could do to make our restaurant a little more unique or give us something new to showcase. But because it developed that way and the residents became a part of the process, everybody wins, no matter how you look at it.” 

Program Highlights

Lanier Village Estates’ Slumped Bottles program represents the gold standard for non-commercial foodservice because:

• It is a collaborative effort between staff and residents

• It has heightened the image of the dining program, created excitement on the part of residents and drawn more business

• It is an innovative way to protect the environment through recycling, while also saving costs on the purchase of servingware such as cheese and salad plates.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Two chefs at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., are trying to help solve the Mars food dilemma, myfoxspokane.com reports .

Just outside the school’s cafeteria, Executive Chef Timothy Grayson and his partner, Christine Logan-Travis, are trying their hand at growing tomatoes, oregano, basil and other plants in Martian Regolith Soil, the closest soil on Earth to that found on the fourth planet from the sun.

All of the plants in the Mars-inspired garden are intended for human consumption.

“It is a reality that at some point, if man goes to Mars, they will need to...

Industry News & Opinion

Access to fresh produce just got easier for students at the University of Virginia.

The Charlottesville, Va., university’s dining service has partnered with Greens to Grounds , a student-run nonprofit organization that delivers locally grown produce to students. Though students could previously purchase Greens to Grounds produce, they can now use a portion of their meal plans to do so, thecavalier.com reports .

Students can choose between a snack box or produce box, the ingredients in which usually require no cooking, and can place their orders online. The base boxes cost...

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

FSD Resources