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
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

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