Aramark converts school cafeterias into food courts

Hamilton, N.J. district will see redesigns “segmented by grade level” in its 24 schools

HAMILTON, N.J. — Instead of sloppy joes and lukewarm pizza, students this year will instead be handed new menus offering made-to-order items like fajitas and sandwiches as the district’s new food vendor tries to turn school cafeterias into food courts and cafés.

“What you’ll see on the menu are not only foods that are compliant with federal and state guidelines, but ahead of food trends everywhere,” said Andrew Levy, district manager for Aramark, which is about to begin offering lunch to more than 12,000 students at 24 schools in the school district.

The board hired Aramark as its new food vendor in May on a one-year contract worth an estimated $521,000, depending on how many meals are served.

Aramark’s goal is to turn the school cafeteria into a “retail food court” concept, a place where students are drawn to healthier food options as their parents become more savvy about the nutritional content of their children’s lunches.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
farmer produce

The seeds of farm-to-table 2.0 have officially blown into noncommercial foodservice. Since the movement has caught the attention of the segment during the past decade, operators have broadened agricultural collaborations outside of just supply. As a result, a new strain of the movement has been created that treats farms as allies in events, training and innovative growing systems.

The 500-bed Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., didn’t start out sourcing produce from local farms; instead, it administered its own growing programs, including an on-site garden and honeybee apiary...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd screenshot web

A full year has passed since we redesigned FoodService Director magazine, taking the publication from its longtime tabloid dimensions to a more convenient size and more creative design, and recasting the content to provide actionable, peer-to-peer insights and ideas for FSDs.

Now we are thrilled to announce that we’ve extended the makeover to our website as well. The new FoodServiceDirector.com has been redesigned to be more engaging and even easier to use. We’ve made it faster to find information, from recipes to HR best practices, that will help you run your facility better....

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

Menu Development
craft beer flight
A draw for happy hour...

Phan plans to serve beer and wine, and depending on liquor licensing, perhaps cocktails as well. “For faculty and staff on campus, it will be a really wonderful place to come to and have a glass of wine,” Wolch says. “Right now, we have The Faculty Club bar, which is a very historic spot, but this is going to be much more contemporary.”

And for morning coffee...

Phan’s plan for made-to-order coffee is bound to be a boon for both faculty and students. “We’ll have a brand-new espresso machine,” Phan says. Wolch adds, “Most of us in the Bay Area are, if not...

FSD Resources