Third Annual "The Best"

Health & Wellness

Use of “stealth health” in our operation
Cisco cafés nationwide introduced a new turkey burger. It consists of ground turkey, quinoa, spinach and seasonings. Not only is it much healthier, but it also appeals to our gluten-free guests.
—Cara Brechler, marketing manager for Bon Appétit, Cisco, Milpitas, Calif.

The best healthy dessert we’ve developed
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. The recipe actually came from Hardin County, Ky. We eventually made the recipe whole grain, although it already had oats in it. The ingredients also include dried cranberries. It is made at our central kitchen and it was “named” by our maintenance supervisor there. We have had a difficult time getting affordable dried cranberries lately, but when we menu it the kids like it.
—Julia Bauscher, director of child nutrition services, Jefferson County Schools, Louisville, Ky.

Healthy tweak to a traditional menu item we’ve made in the past year
We make a peanut butter banana vegan cupcake with peanut butter frosting that is really delicious. It has about half of the fat content as many of our other cupcakes.
—Todd Christopherson, dining manager, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Wellness promotion we’ve done in the past year
Foodservice employees did a walking across Oregon promotion where they wore pedometers and earned prizes as incentives. We encouraged participants to walk 50,000 steps per week to make it across the state in 10 weeks.
—Gitta Grether-Sweeney, director of nutrition services, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Ore.

The best wellness program I’ve seen
Apollo Group in Phoenix’s Healthy Living Revolution. It is an employee-driven, grassroots wellness program that is far more effective, in terms of both participation and ROI. I really like what our LifeWorks culinary team—in conjunction with the corporate team from Apollo—is doing to promote healthy eating, education and exercise. One of the things being done is Eat with Joe. Joe is the president and COO. Eat with Joe was a concept that allows customers to eat healthy each day by essentially eating what Joe eats, or Joe’s Pick—and essentially losing weight as Joe did since he ate Joe’s Pick every day. There is a sign above the destination for that day that is showcasing Joe’s Pick.
—Steve Norgren, vice president of business development, Aramark Business Services, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Outside resource for wellness I’ve used
The California Food Policy Advocates in Oakland. They have really nice staff who are always available to help and are full of knowledge.
—Billy Reid, director of child nutrition services, Salida Union School District, Salida, Calif.

The Best_Cooks Corner Healthy menu item we serve
We started incorporating a tofu option into our Cook’s Corner station in our retail operation. The Cook’s Corner features a chef preparing meals to order Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We offer tofu as a meat substitute on almost all of our offerings. For example, if we are serving chicken Caesar salads made to order we offer tofu as a substitute for the chicken. Out of 200 orders we do approximately 40 tofu substitutions. Some other entrées we offer tofu as a substitute are gyros, Buffalo chicken wrap, ancho chicken salad and many more.
—Greg Merkle, manager of food and nutrition services, Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, N.J.


More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
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Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

Managing Your Business
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Open kitchen concepts satisfy guests’ curiosity and desire for transparency. But there are some caveats. Here’s how to create a positive experience for both staff and customers when the walls are down.

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With the back-of-house up front, everybody gets hospitality training. “Our cooks understand the food and what they’re doing incredibly, but translating that to guests requires [soft] skills that need to be honed,” says Marie Petulla, co-owner of two restaurants in Southern California.

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Ideas and Innovation
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One of our new concepts, YumMarket, is a play off our YumPower brand that we have out in the community. We use YumPower in K-12 schools, and there’s a kiosk in a nearby minor league ballpark. We feature only better-for-you choices, such as fresh-made pizzas, sandwiches and healthy grain salads. We want people to know we are taking care of people here the same way we are in the overall community.

Ideas and Innovation
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In high-volume operations, few look at herb gardens as the end-all-be-all budgeting solution. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a return on the investment. The value, operators say, is in the message herb gardens and herb walls send—that an operation uses ingredients that are fresh, sustainable and healthy. Here’s how the growing areas have paid off at three operations.

A cafeteria wall at Miles River Middle School in South Hamilton, Mass., houses three rows of hydroponic lettuce spearheaded by an interdisciplinary group of health, science, math, technology and foodservice employees...

FSD Resources