Third 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
delivery

We offer a food delivery service to students who are too sick to eat at the dining halls. Oftentimes when we’re sick, we want simple, bland food that’s easy to digest. We also include a bottle of water since staying hydrated is super important. Students who have used the sick meal program are very grateful that we offer this service because they don’t have to stress over how they’re going to eat when they’re too sick to come into the dining halls. The program is also important in preventing the spread of illness.

Ideas and Innovation
smoothie

Nurses often mention that at 2 p.m. they are dragging and just trying to get through their 12-hour shift. This winter I will be implementing a 2 p.m. pick-me-up, which will include a smoothie station where they can create their own smoothie to help get them through their shift. It will be filled with energy-boosting ingredients to personalize their own drink, such as bananas, almonds, spinach and even dark chocolate.

Ideas and Innovation
chili

Winter is when our guests frequently crave something comforting and hearty, and chili is great for that. Our plan is to boost guest engagement this winter by inviting them to design a unique chili experience. The guest chooses the type of chili first, then the vessel: bowl, bread or potato. Next, they customize their dish even further by choosing the toppings, which will be categorized as traditional, creamy, crunch or heat. The wild card, crunch and heat categories, are where my team and I will flex our creativity and highlight different flavors, ingredients or techniques.

Ideas and Innovation
new year party

In search of inspiration for this letter, I turned to the one I wrote for January 2017, in which I griped about some trends I wanted to toss in the new year. Twelve months later, the Sriracha trend has calmed down, food trucks seem slightly less pervasive and, while the definition of “clean” eating continues to evolve, it’s not so laser-focused on GMOs. So it seems my predictions were correct, including the one about where I’d be eating on New Year’s Day (though I had no clue my now-fiance would propose to me that night over duck noodle soup).

However, since this year has been...

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