Second Annual "The Best..."

Traditional Marketing

Idea to attract new business
We implemented a late-night pizza and wing delivery service, South West Express. The operation is open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. When the dining commons closes for the evening South West Express opens—using the same kitchen for retail operations. Express is a drop-off disposable catering service with no associated service charges or fees. The concept positions UMass Dining to compete with commercial operations such as Panera.
—Garett DiStefano, director of residential dining, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.

The Best, California CheeseMarketing campaign I’ve ever seen
The Real California Cheese campaign always brings a smile and often an outright laugh to me. The named, happy cows, the whimsical captions and stories and the pride in the products [stick with you].
—Melissa Miller, executive chef for Bon Appétit, SAP, Palo Alto, Calif.

Healthy marketing/signage campaign we’ve developed
Sodexo’s Wellness and You and Simply To Go program are great for marketing our fresh offerings. The programs and the signage are great for customers because it forces the buyer to read and uses information that is current and useful to the consumer. The Meatless Monday campaign also is a great component for our healthy line as it educates consumers and promotes healthy eating.
—Stephanie Tanner, general manager for Sodexo, Cumberland Medical Center, Crossville, Tenn.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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