Fourth Annual "The Best"

Fourth Annual "The Best"

Environmental/Sustainability

Best environmental change we have made
Across three retail locations, we instituted a 95-cent coffee refill policy for any size travel cup or mug instead of having one price for your first cup and a “refill” price for your second, which was hard to keep track of. This policy encourages our neighbors in the building and those utilizing more green practices to keep these good habits up and helps streamline our service at the register. In another location that serves more espresso beverages, we are now offering 10 cents off any drink when customers bring in their own cup.
—Maya Vincelli, assistant director of retail operations, University of Richmond, Virginia

The best change we’ve made is the addition of pulpers in our facilities.
—Joie Schoonover, assistant director of university housing, University of Wisconsin, Madison

We installed new refrigeration technology that will help to reduce energy consumption by up to 22%.
Ronald DeSantis, director of culinary excellence, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Best way to reduce waste or energy consumption
By placing compost containers at each workstation in our multi-platform servery, we have raised employee awareness about the food that gets discarded at the end of a meal period and at the end of the day. This has helped to change production behaviors to avoid waste altogether.
—Patti Klos, director of dining and business services, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

Best overall sustainability program I’ve seen
We initiated the Farm to College Program at the University of Montana in the spring of 2003 with the help of graduate students from our Environmental Studies Program. Our mission is to support agricultural and economic development statewide through the purchase of local food, while also working to serve higher quality, more nutritious food on campus. We also seek to make purchasing decisions that are best for the well-being of those who use our facilities and for the health of the environment by considering the proximity of food sources to our campus as well as fair, ecologically sound and humane production practices.

In addition to our buying practices, we also established an on-campus garden and a self-contained aquaponics system as a way for us to grow some of our own food and offer a learning laboratory for students on campus. And in our dining halls, we use a variety of reusable and compostable to-go containers, napkins, utensils and serviceware.
—Mark LoParco, director of dining services, University of Montana, Missoula

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken dinner

For the last three years, we’ve hosted an event called Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. We sponsor the local chapter of Future Farmers of America to raise the chickens, and we have to arrange all the transporting from farms to the distributor, which keeps the birds in a freezer until we’re ready. We build hype by having students vote on the proprietary spice blend they would like on the chicken. It helps the nutrition team get involved in the educational process and showcase local food purchasing.

Ideas and Innovation
employees generation multicultural

We are no longer short staffed, ever. On a given day, missing two team members from a team of 50 would leave us 96% staffed. The actual choice of wording places a positive emphasis on those that did come to serve our guests and patients. We no longer use the phrase “short staffed”; this is a game-changer when we are challenging ourselves as culture facilitators or leaders.

Ideas and Innovation
food symbols allergens

To make safe food as accessible as possible for our guests with allergies, we are creating an allergen-friendly kitchen this summer. Students and community members will be able to use our mobile app to place orders for allergen-friendly food and pick them up at the central kitchen. The kitchen will also produce grab-and-go options that will be distributed across campus.

Ideas and Innovation
construction plans drawing tools calculator

When revamping an old cafeteria or building a new retail spot, the design process can feel like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle: What needs to fit in the space, and what’s the most efficient flow for staffers, cooks, diners and more?

Cathy Estes, administrative director of nutrition services at four northern Indiana hospitals that are part of the Franciscan Health network, faced the creation of a new in-house dining program at Franciscan’s Munster hospital. Amid all the big plans, design was one of the largest undertakings.

“I was looking at 5,000 square feet on a...

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