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

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce dirt

Savor at McCormick Place developed the Green Thumb brand for menu items and products featuring its rooftop bounty; the latest is a pale ale made with the first crop of hops grown on the roof. Promoting that branding and the convention center’s green certification has brought in business from groups with a sustainability focus.

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

Menu Development
pho bowl

Achieving authenticity can be tricky. Late last year, Oberlin College landed in the news when students protested the way dining services at the Ohio school was botching ethnic food, serving up inauthentic versions of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a challenge other operators are confronting, too, often tapping staff and patrons for inspiration.

At 260-bed Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite, Executive Chef Bradley Czajka, himself of Polish-Ukrainian descent, started Global Stations as a way to recognize the diversity of cultures at the hospital. “We have such an...

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