Fourth Annual "The Best"

Fourth Annual "The Best"

For the fourth year, we asked operators to share the bests they’ve encountered in a variety of areas, including retail, the menu and design. Consider this list a jumping-off point for some inspiration as you plan and make resolutions for the new year.

Social Media/Marketing

The best promotion theme/campaign we’ve done
We rolled out the Bus Stop Café this past summer. The Bus Stop Café is a mobile summer feeding site. It is a school bus renovated by our own vehicle maintenance crew, complete with a hand washing sink, cooler and seating. The community response was amazing. I have told many people that this is the best, most rewarding project I’ve worked on in my entire foodservice career.
—Julia Bauscher, director, school and community nutrition services, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Ky.

Best use of Twitter
I have used Twitter to send out secret specials. We wouldn’t advertise the specials or post anywhere else, so unless you were following us you wouldn’t know about them. This created a buzz and got people into the habit of checking out our Twitter feed. You have to become part of your customers’ daily news feeds or someone else will take your place.
—Jason Giagrande, global director of food service operations & events, NBCUniversal, New York

Best use of Facebook
We continue to see Facebook as the best place to show our customers what is going on in our cafés on a daily basis. Just showing a beautiful photo of the special of the day gets the most traffic and interest from our customers.
—Gary Coughlin, senior director of business development, Guckenheimer Enterprises, Redwood Shores, Calif.

This past summer, we launched a “Tell us where the Big Dawg travels” promotion where students submitted photos of themselves holding our “Let the Big Dawg Eat!” bumper sticker at the various places they visited throughout their summer break. The photos were emailed to our marketing department and then uploaded to a Facebook album. The promotion kept students engaged with us through the summer and took our brand image to five continents, 15 countries and nine states.
—J. Michael Floyd, associate vice president, auxiliary services, University of Georgia, Athens

Best use of traditional marketing tools
The public service ad by the Australian Metro, presented as a music video called “Dumb Ways To Die.”
—David Davidson, managing director of dining services, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

We have found that for the best outcome it is important to use multiple marketing tools. We saw a 5% increase in our summer meal program by using several tools. We sent home flyers and hung posters in schools promoting the program. We used our School Messenger program to send recorded messages to parents. We also have a summer meal promotion truck that visited our park sites once a week. Staff would promote the program with flyers, one-on-one communication and leading kids in a short, fun activity.
—Jennifer DeHoog, R.D., nutrition specialist, Dallas Independent School District, Texas 

Pages

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Managing Your Business
umass amherst food

Restaurateurs in Amherst, Mass., aren’t happy with UMass Dining .

Registered dietitian Dianne Sutherland told local NBC affiliate WWLP News in May that the high quality of food served on campus means students aren’t visiting neighborhood eateries as frequently as those businesses might like.

“Even our vendors who we work with, they get complaints from the restaurants that students are staying on campus,” she said. “They are already paying for the food; why should they [go] off campus to eat?” More than 19,000 Amherst students are on a meal plan—6,000 of whom live off campus...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce eat dining

Forced to battle crumbling infrastructure and a constant churn of trends, sometimes the best way to save a foodservice operation is to change it entirely. As Steve Mangan, director of dining at the University of Michigan, puts it, “At some point when your building starts to fail, the cost of maintenance stands out.” But for operators with limited budgets, the challenge is discerning the right time to do so—and how far to take it.

At Jefferson High School, change came because little worked anymore. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school’s cafeteria hadn’t been updated since 1957; students...

Managing Your Business
farmer produce

The seeds of farm-to-table 2.0 have officially blown into noncommercial foodservice. Since the movement has caught the attention of the segment during the past decade, operators have broadened agricultural collaborations outside of just supply. As a result, a new strain of the movement has been created that treats farms as allies in events, training and innovative growing systems.

The 500-bed Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., didn’t start out sourcing produce from local farms; instead, it administered its own growing programs, including an on-site garden and honeybee apiary...

FSD Resources