FSD makes The Goldies more golden

The Goldies Awards have drawn some great entries, but not enough segment representation.

By 
Paul King, Editor

This month, FoodService Director kicks off its third annual Goldies Awards. Entry forms and rules for the competition, which is co-sponsored by FSD and The Culinary Institute of America, can be found at foodservicedirector.com/goldies. We have enjoyed good participation during the first two years of the program, the winners of which are recognized at our annual MenuDirections conference. However, the road has not necessarily been a smooth one, and so we’ve done a little repaving for this third installment.

One of the knocks on the program, which presents awards in four categories—Going Green, Health & Wellness, Food Democracy and Focusing on the Guest—has been the homogeneity of the winners. All eight of our honorees have come from the college and university segment, six self-op and two contract. It has been the subject of much internal debate, as well as a topic of discussion with some readers.

How this has occurred is speculative. One school of thought held that college programs were more impressive because they have bigger budgets with which to work. One suggestion was to eliminate the video portion of the entry because it might give an advantage to some programs while dissuading other worthy operations from entering. However, we ultimately decided that the videos gave the judges the clearest picture of what a entry was all about, and that benefit outweighed the possibility that some operators might be intimidated by having to submit a video.

What we did understand as a group was that if such a trend were to continue, operators in markets outside of higher education might decide there isn’t really a point in entering the competition at all, and the program would die from lack of interest.

The idea behind The Goldies is to celebrate best practices in volume foodservice. The honored programs should be ones that can be replicated in any non-commercial market. However, an even bigger goal, for us and the CIA, is to acknowledge that best practices are occurring in all market segments. Indeed, in a market such as K-12 schools, excellence might be even more laudable than in, say, higher education, given the much tighter budgets school districts often have to work with.

So, under the new format for The Goldies, best practices will be judged by market sector, rather than topic category. The categories such as Going Green and Health & Wellness will now serve merely as suggested examples of how a particular foodservice program meets the gold standard.

In other words, in planning their entries, operators should ask themselves what best represents excellence in their programs. Is it something specific, like a strong wellness program, customer service initiative or sustainability effort? Or, is it more general, like a recent history of sound financial management or continuing excellence in menu development? We’re asking operators to tell us, and we will select the “best of the best” in each market segment: Business and Industry, College and University, Healthcare and Elementary and Secondary Schools.

(For clarification, FSD and the CIA consider military foodservice to be part of the B&I market, and healthcare comprises hospitals, long-term care and senior living.)

In addition, to honoring one operation from each market segment, the judges will select one of these winners to receive the Grand Goldie. All winners will be honored at MenuDirections 2013, which will be held March 3-5 in Tampa, Fla.

So it’s time for operators to consider how your programs exemplify the gold standard in food, service or management, and plan to tell us your stories, in words and video. We look forward to your submissions.