Second Annual "The Best..."

Employees

Training exercise we’ve done
DISC Training, which is training based on a four-quadrant behavioral model to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation. Armed with the knowledge relating to how people respond to information and situations, people can transform their interactions and it provides a platform for understanding and improved communication.
—Tod Nissle, vice president of operations for Compass Group, Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.

Employee recognition program I’ve seen
The Black Linen Award program was developed after a university’s executive unique customer service experience. Ernie Huff, associate vice president of student financial and administrative services, was eating breakfast in a hotel, wearing dark slacks. After the waiter took his order, the waiter removed the white linen napkin that had been on the table. When the waiter returned, he placed a black linen napkin on the table. “Why?” Huff asked. The waiter said, “I noticed you are wearing dark slacks and the white napkin would have left lint on them.” [Huff] shared this experience with us to illustrate that great service is a result of three things: anticipating customer needs, finding solutions to those needs and acting promptly. To recognize an employee for his/her outstanding commitment to exceptional service, recipients of the recognition receive a beautiful black linen napkin encased in a wooden frame.
—Rafi Taherian, executive director of Yale Dining, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

The best thing I’ve learned from a younger colleague
How to exploit social media in marketing to our customers.
—Bill Marks, director of food and nutrition services, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis

Team-building exercise we’ve done
Our managers prepare menu items in teams at our meetings. It gives them a chance to interact on the best way to prepare for why the kids would or wouldn’t like the items and what changes could make the item healthier or taste better. Anytime you can have your team interact about changes in your department, the change usually has a better result.
—Gail Koutroubas, food service director, Andover Public Schools, Andover, Mass.

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Ideas and Innovation
moving boxes

Because we have 39 locations throughout the state, employees are offered a transfer if they’re planning a move. They’re rehired by the company, but there’s no additional training needed and employees are ready to go on Day 1.

Ideas and Innovation
staff pack

To keep staff motivated, we locked them in a room together. As part of a midsemester training session, we formed work groups and sent them to a local Escape Room to see which team could play the game together most effectively and escape first. Not only was this training a great team-building experience, but it supported a local new business and gave our staff a memorable experience.

Ideas and Innovation
star employee

Senior leadership meets twice a year to do organizational talent planning for every position from the top down. We talk about who are the potential high-performers, and go through how they can grow. People are your differentiator—you need to take care of your assets, and your assets are your human resources.

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