Third Annual "The Best"

Social Media

Twitter promotion I’ve seen
Seattle-based Cupcake Royale was the first cupcake café to open outside of New York City. Founded in 2003, Cupcake Royale grew from one location to five during an enormous economic downturn by building reputation and loyalty through Twitter. [They would] tweet secret specials like Cupcake Happy Hour at a particular location and time. They would closely relate themselves with the local scene by tweeting about special guests in music, pop culture or politics as an excellent PR strategy.
—Storm Hodge, assistant director of food services, University of Washington, Seattle

The Best, Twitter Idea to increase Facebook likes/Twitter followers
Using one of our marketing street team members, we offered a reusable cold cup as a thank you for simply signing up to “like” our Facebook page. The street team visited several locations around campus, armed with a laptop where students could sign up on the spot and receive their cup. We increased our fan base by 250 people over the course of two days.
—David Hill, area manager, University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.

Commercial use of social media that I’ve stolen
I love Boston’s Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery + Café Twitter feeds’ conversational tone. We’ve tried to adopt that personal, ironic, observational, warm and friendly tone with our posts.
—Patti Klos, director of dining and business services, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

The best non-promotional use of social media
My college-age daughter connected me with pinterest.com. The site advertises it as a virtual pinboard and a method to “organize and share the things you love.” For me, the best part is that it allows you to tell a “story” as opposed to a one-time Twitter post. You can create a pinboard of related topics, ideas or thoughts. You can create separate boards to categorize things like favorite recipes and share it with others.
—Julie Jones, director of food and nutrition, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio

Facebook promotion I’ve seen: The Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District posts a picture each day of the meal a nutrition services employee chose to eat that day from one of the district’s schools. It shows great variety of options, including vegetables.
—Melanie Konarik, director of child nutrition, Spring Independent School District, Houston

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

FSD Resources