The enemy within

Sodium. It’s found in just about every item of food. We consume too much of it. And now, schools and manufacturers are tasked with reducing it in meals. But is the USDA pushing too hard too fast to cut the salt?

Published in FSD Update

And that’s exactly where foodservice directors are taking issue with the new regs. Many wonder if it’s too much too soon, considering other dining venues aren’t being held to the same standards.

“I’m a little concerned we’re going a little too far too fast,” Shelly says. “I think there’s a need to look at healthier choices, but I’m not sure that targeted at such a low rate is a smart decision because it goes against what people are doing in regular society. If they aren’t doing it in the homes, restaurants and stores, it’s going to be very hard for us to do it in the schools. There’s a lack of continuity there that I’m worried about, that it’s going to make school meals seem that they aren’t as nutritious and delicious as they really are because we’re being held to a higher standard.”

Grumbles is also concerned about meeting the third tier. “We’re running a business here, too. That’s not the first thing we do, but we have to break even,” she says. “That’s the nature of our business. We need kids to participate in order to do that. To provide kids with a healthier meal, we have to entice them to eat them, otherwise they are going to bring higher sodium things from home.”


More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
cold storage boxes

When working with a small footprint, the back of the house often gets squeezed in the interest of preserving precious seats. But as storage space contracts, these restaurant operators are getting resourceful with everything from shelves to ceiling height to inventory in ways that FSDs can apply, too.

“When we were first tasked with figuring out smaller footprints, when it came to interiors, it was like a bad riddle,” says Trinity Hall, SVP of development for Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which shrunk its prototype from 2,200 square feet to 1,800. “Let’s make it smaller and...

Managing Your Business
food symbols allergens

Bellevue School District in King County, Wash., has reduced the instances of life-threatening allergic reactions by 94% since 2013. Wendy Weyer, business manager for nutrition services, says that success stems from direct communication with the district’s 20,000 students.

Q: What was the first thing you did to start reducing allergic reactions?

A: More than five years ago, we changed our menu signage to provide information to students on what the common allergens were on all the foods that were served at every station. We use symbols such as an egg or a wheat stalk for younger...

Managing Your Business
business marketing concepts drawing

Sharp, smart marketing materials can make all the difference when it comes to drawing a big crowd for a menu launch or upcoming event. With more avenues to cover than ever and fewer resources to go around, operators offer their tips on making marketing work from start to finish.

Start with communication

Whether it’s an in-house marketing department, an outside agency or someone on staff wearing the marketing hat part-time, the right people need to be involved early and often. “Marketing doesn’t always have a seat at the table [like] it should in order to be truly effective,” says...

Menu Development
induction cooking nuts

Thanks to prolific fast casuals such as Chipotle, guests have come to expect a certain level of customization in their dining options. For almost 50% of Generation Zers, customization is a deciding factor when purchasing food, according Technomic’s 2016 Generational Consumer Trend Report . Taking customization even further, operations are handing over even more control to customers with both build-your-own and cook-your-own stations.

Elder Hall’s My Kitchen station at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., offers a daily rotating ingredient bar with items such as stir-fry,...

FSD Resources