OSU launches new meal plan and limited-time offers

Fall semester brought changes in meal plans and meal offerings to Ohio State dining locations.

Aug. 29—There will be 250 limited-time options the dining locations’ menus this fall, including gourmet hot dog bars, quinoa pancakes, vegetarian calzones and street tacos.

“We have close to 250 limited-time offers that will go out throughout the Fall Semester and some may make it on our regular menu in the spring, and others will never make it back to our menu because students did not like it,” said OSU Dining Services Director Zia Ahmed. “Our limited time offers are a good monotony breaker, because our students are going back to the same operations, so it is always good to offer something different and new.”

In addition to the new offerings, Dining Services has also made changes to their meal plans. Last year, Dining offered 450- and 600-block plans that left many students scrambling to spend their unused blocks and ended up refunding students who had unused blocks $3 per block for Fall Semester, according to The Lantern archives.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
app mobile

The capacity of our dining room is 135 guests, and most evenings we serve closer to 160. At times, this led to some residents waiting for a table, especially at peak hours. Our new table management software allows diners to request specific meal times via a mobile app and allows us to space out our service, greatly reducing the wait times and allowing dining staff to prepare each table in advance of their arrival.

Ideas and Innovation
to-go coffee

We have a fixed kiosk that not only sells coffee, but also protein smoothies, grab-and-go reimbursable meals and other a la carte items. We used updated equipment like what is used in Starbucks and incorporated school colors. It is a very popular addition to one of our high schools, and we are planning on expanding it to two additional high schools.

Menu Development
sam kass talking menu directions

Sam Kass, former White House senior policy advisor for nutrition policy and executive director of the Let’s Move campaign, spoke at FSD’s MenuDirections conference in February.

Q: What’s one of the biggest food-related problems facing our country?

A: Obesity is the No. 1 threat to national security—20% of what we’re spending on healthcare is due to obesity. This isn’t a policy problem. The root of our challenge is culture, and what we value in our food. The healthy choice needs to be the easy choice.

Q: What are some important steps to modeling healthy eating and creating...
Menu Development
three sisters salad

“Everyone is doing Thai in college dining,” says Patrick McElroy, campus executive chef for Bon Appetit at Washington University in St. Louis. So he set out to “push the envelope” on ethnic cuisine and offer Native American dishes—a move that had support from the American Indian Student Association. But McElroy didn’t realize the challenge ahead. “I wanted to maintain the integrity and tradition of the food, but there were very few recipes,” he says. “I had to do a lot of research.” To develop the menu, he enlisted the help of chef Nephi Craig, founder of the Native American Culinary...

FSD Resources