Clarion advises value as best corporate foodservice bet


Aug. 31—Clarion Group, a foodservice consulting firm, says that demonstrating value is the most important way to improve corporate foodservice operations during the current recession.


“The most important thing to keep a company dining service profitable
is to keep demonstrating real value,” Tom Mac Dermott, president
of Clarion Group, said in a press release. “That doesn’t mean lower prices, but offering meals
that are fresh, food quality that is high, quick, efficient and
friendly service and a welcoming environment.”

 

Demonstrating value was just one of the recommendations Clarion Group
released in its newest report. Mac Dermott said he believes that the
downturn isn’t likely to reverse any time soon for several reasons,
including more people working from home a few days a week and more
people bringing food from home.

 

Most employees cite cost as the primary reason they bring meals from
home, according to Clarion. In three recent Clarion employee surveys,
53%, 40% and 38% of respondents, respectively, said the meal they
received wasn’t worth the price charged. Other strategies Clarion
recommends for improving participation are: offer daily low price
“specials” priced at about $5 including a beverage; feature healthy
scratch-made foods, including items that vegetarians will eat; develop
grab-and-go options for those who work at their desk; offer online
ordering if possible so the customer’s order will be ready when they
arrive; and market special events to entice infrequent diners into the
café.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

Ideas and Innovation
tapas

I’ve created a high school “focus group” to see what future college students will want in terms of foodservice. This year, I called up two now-seniors from the last group to get 10 of their friends together. I also include a sophomore or two so that I always have a contact for next year. Tapas, grain bowls and late-night breakfast all originated from this group.

Ideas and Innovation
making meals

This summer, we teamed up with a church to deliver meals to three housing projects. We brought the meals to the church, and then the church recruited volunteers to deliver the meals to the children. We’ve been very impressed with this new model, and it shows great promise in getting meals to children who otherwise would not be able to leave their housing project.

Industry News & Opinion
sharing love

Having never personally experienced a hurricane, I can only imagine the horrors faced by the millions of people whose lives were affected by Harvey and Irma in late August and early September. It’s a group that comprises uncounted noncommercial operations, including Houston Independent School District, which serves 215,000 students.

But from that tragedy has come one of the most impressive feats of foodservice I’ve seen since coming on board at this magazine, partially spearheaded by Nutrition Officer Betti Wiggins , who only just joined the district. For the entire school year,...

FSD Resources